Now in its 20th year, Berlin-based firm TOPOTEK 1 has been an enterprising player in the field of landscape architecture and public design, with a portfolio of projects that emphasize the social and formal roles that landscape assumes within built work. Largely responsible for the firm’s success this far is the man at the helm, Martin Rein-Cano, who has served as one of the founding partners since 1996.
In an interview with ArchDaily, Buenos Aires native Rein-Cano touches on his journey and ideology, from the relatable predicament as a young student with an uncertain future, to his development as a leading practitioner amongst landscape architects today. With a strong artistic sensibility, he was set to follow a path in the fine arts, before pursuing art history and attending a seminar on gardens that pushed him into his current field:
Before I encountered this seminar, I thought that landscape and trees, these things are actually given, not planned. When it comes to landscape architecture, often you think that things are there and no one actually did them – God or nature did.
Rein-Cano’s interest in landscape’s sensory qualities and experiences have resulted in a number of successful projects, such as the Siemens Headquarters in Munich, Porte Jeune in Mukhouse, HQB Berlin and the Heerenschurli Sports Complex in Zurich. In 2011, TOPOTEK 1 also collaborated with BIG and Superflex on Superkilen, half a mile of public space in Copenhagen and the firm’s most noteworthy project to date.
These projects, in addition to the extensive list that TOPOTEK 1 has completed, are derived from what Rein-Cano considers to be one of the core characteristics of landscape: fluidity. Ever-changing relationships of stiffness are constantly at play between the site and its architecture, which continues to be a focal point of his work:
When you work in a landscape, dynamism is a natural element of it. You have to work with changing uses, changing in the development of plants, things growing, the weather changing the atmosphere of the space. The space is not a constant.
Check out the full interview with Martin Rein-Cano in the video above.
Founded in 1996 by Buenos Aires-born Martin Rein-Cano, TOPOTEK 1 has quickly developed a reputation as a multidisciplinary landscape architecture firm, focussing on the re-contextualization of objects and spaces and the interdisciplinary approaches to design, framed within contemporary cultural and societal discourse.