At times, Landscape design lacks proper consideration or its overlooked within architecture, as a result of current but preconceived notions within architectural practice and education that privilege building over site, or the constructed over the existing. While at face value, landscape is treated as an abject and constant entity of sorts, the reality is that it possesses a layered complexity of patterns and ecosystems, much of which is increasingly impacted by our own actions, more significantly than what meets the eye.
At the same time, the definition of landscape is constantly evolving to encompass a greater number of influences and factors. We have cultural, built and ecological landscapes, which influence one another and come about as a result of the intersection between the architecture and the environment that we are presented with. As a result, it is important to view terrain in a more holistic light, acknowledging its ecological underpinnings and well as the anthropological effects it is subject to, both physically and theoretically. Here is a list of five online resources, which investigate the interdisciplinary nature of landscape design and its relation to architecture and culture.
Focussing on the rapid anthropogenic activity that has drastically altered the condition of the Earth, Landformation Catalogue is an online platform for an exhibition previously organised by members of the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD). This resource delves into various forms of human intervention in relation to land forming, specifically through lenses of morphology, assembly, technology, application and history (all of which are defined on the website). Information is conveyed via the predominant use of typological maps and diagrams, which in turn offer examples on representation techniques. At the forefront of the catalogue's content is the literal impact we have on our landscapes, and the methods we undertake that result in this.
Founded at MIT in 1983, Places Journal is a free academic resource that provides trusted scholarly opinion on the future of contemporary landscape architecture and urbanism. The journal is associated with numerous academic institutions across the world, and is a resource for leading voices in their respective fields to provide insight into problems and conditions currently faced by our built and natural environment, and how to pave a way forward. The website celebrates user engagement through the creation of public reading lists, which compile environmental, political and cultural topics, such as climate change, technological innovation, real estate economics, racial geographies and media. The content ranges from journalism to scholarly work, and is a valuable resource to educate and influence research on contemporary landscape.
Self-described as “a nonlinear journey through distant territories of human imagination”, Socks is a visual curation of interdisciplinary precedents, ranging from unbuilt architecture and musical scores to scientific principles and geometry. Founded by the Paris based pair of Italian architects, Mariabruna Fabrizi and Fosco Lucarelli, the notion of territory appears as a central theme throughout the website, tying the various categories together. Landscape is not solely treated as the nature that surrounds us; it extends to encompass cultural influences, patterns in the built environment and the underlying permanence that transcends and shapes the variety of environments created at the intersection between architecture, society and landscape.
Atlas of Places
Photography and research are the two main outlets through which Atlas of Places explores existing relationships between large scale architecture and its site, relying primarily on aerial photography and maps to capture the essence of projects and geologies, all of which are featured as submissions. Through the aerial photographs and maps, one can see the gradation of colour as it bleeds through the earth, the way rivers weave through changes in topography, and the man-made geology created as infrastructure interacts with land. Created by Thomas Paturet and Muriz Djurdjevic, the non-profit journal highlights the actual immense scale of the land and water networks in which we fit in, something that we are unable to truly understand at the human scale and through architecture on its own.
Scenario is an online publication based on the idea of “landscape urbanism”, which was also the journal’s original name (whose archives are available on the website). Derived from the 20th century idea of scenario planning, the journal provides a list of built and conceptual projects that respond to the changing conditions of landscape “with nimble and contingent operations rather than singular and totalizing designs”, offering techniques and methods to incorporate within one’s own practice. Environmental performance, urban infrastructure and migration are a few areas of importance that articles focus on, with six different issues to date contributed by individual submissions.
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