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Landscape Architecture

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The Design and Culture of Parking

There are an estimated 600,000,000 passenger cars in the world, and that number is increasing every day. So too is Earth’s supply of parking spaces. In some cities, parking lots cover more than one-third of the metropolitan footprint. It’s official: we have paved paradise and put up a parking lot. In ReThinking a Lot, Eran Ben-Joseph shares a different vision for parking’s future. Parking lots, he writes, are ripe for transformation. After all, their design and function has not been rethought since the 1950s. With this book, Ben-Joseph pushes the parking lot into the twenty-first century.

Ben-Joseph shows that parking lots can be aesthetically pleasing, environmentally and architecturally responsible, and used for something other than car storage. He introduces us to some of the many alternative and nonparking purposes that parking lots have served—from RV campgrounds to stages for “Shakespeare in the Parking Lot.” He shows us parking lots that are lushly planted with trees and flowers and beautifully integrated with the rest of the built environment. With purposeful design, Ben-Joseph argues, parking lots could be significant public places, contributing as much to their communities as great boulevards, parks, or plazas. For all the acreage they cover, parking lots have received scant attention. It’s time to change that; it’s time to rethink the lot.

Encounters between Art and Architecture

Expansion, convergence, adjacency, projection, rapport, and intersection are a few of the terms used to redraw the boundaries between art and architecture during the last thirty-five years. If modernists invented the model of an ostensible “synthesis of the arts,” their postmodern progeny promoted the semblance of pluralist fusion. In 1979, reacting against contemporary art’s transformation of modernist medium-specificity into postmodernist medium multiplicity, the art historian Rosalind Krauss published an essay, “Sculpture in the Expanded Field,” that laid out in a precise diagram the structural parameters of sculpture, architecture, and landscape art. Krauss tried to clarify what these art practices were, what they were not, and what they could become if logically combined. The essay soon assumed a canonical status and affected subsequent developments in all three fields. Retracing the Expanded Field revisits Krauss’s hugely influential text and maps the ensuing interactions between art and architecture.

Responding to Krauss and revisiting the milieu from which her text emerged, artists, architects, and art historians of different generations offer their perspectives on the legacy of “Sculpture in the Expanded Field.” Krauss herself takes part in a roundtable discussion (moderated by Hal Foster). A selection of historical documents, including Krauss’s essay, presented as it appeared in October, accompany the main text. Neither eulogy nor hagiography, Retracing the Expanded Field documents the groundbreaking nature of Krauss’s authoritative text and reveals the complex interchanges between art and architecture that increasingly shape both fields.

Contributors
Stan Allen, George Baker, Yve-Alain Bois, Benjamin Buchloh, Beatriz Colomina, Penelope Curtis, Sam Durant, Edward Eigen, Kurt W. Forster, Hal Foster, Kenneth Frampton, Branden W. Joseph, Rosalind Krauss, Miwon Kwon, Sylvia Lavin, Sandro Marpillero, Josiah McElheny, Eve Meltzer, Michael Meredith, Mary Miss, Sarah Oppenheimer, Matthew Ritchie, Julia Robinson, Joe Scanlan, Emily Eliza Scott, Irene Small, Philip Ursprung, Anthony Vidler

A History of Suburban Corporate Landscapes

By the end of the twentieth century, America’s suburbs contained more office space than its central cities. Many of these corporate workplaces were surrounded, somewhat incongruously, by verdant vistas of broad lawns and leafy trees. In Pastoral Capitalism, Louise Mozingo describes the evolution of these central (but often ignored) features of postwar urbanism in the context of the modern capitalist enterprise.

These new suburban corporate landscapes emerged from a historical moment when corporations reconceived their management structures, the city decentralized and dispersed into low-density, auto-dependent peripheries, and the pastoral--in the form of leafy residential suburbs--triumphed as an American ideal. Greenness, writes Mozingo, was associated with goodness, and pastoral capitalism appropriated the suburb’s aesthetics and moral code. Like the lawn-proud suburban homeowner, corporations understood a pastoral landscape’s capacity to communicate identity, status, and right-mindedness.

Mozingo distinguishes among three forms of corporate landscapes--the corporate campus, the corporate estate, and the office park--and examines suburban corporate landscapes built and inhabited by such companies as Bell Labs, General Motors, Deere & Company, and Microsoft. She also considers the globalization of pastoral capitalism in Europe and the developing world including Singapore, India, and China. Mozingo argues that, even as it is proliferating, pastoral capitalism needs redesign, as do many of our metropolitan forms, for pressing social, cultural, political, and environmental reasons. Future transformations are impossible, however, unless we understand the past. Pastoral Capitalism offers an indispensible chapter in urban history, examining not only the design of corporate landscapes but also the economic, social, and cultural models that determined their form.

A Landscape History of New England takes a view of New England’s landscapes that goes beyond picture postcard-ready vistas of white-steepled churches, open pastures, and tree-covered mountains. Its chapters describe, for example, the Native American presence in the Maine Woods; offer a history of agriculture told through stone walls, woodlands, and farm buildings; report on the fragile ecology of tourist-friendly Cape Cod beaches; and reveal the ethnic stereotypes informing Colonial Revivalism. Taken together, they offer a wide-ranging history of New England’s diverse landscapes, stretching across two centuries.

The book shows that all New England landscapes are the products of human agency as well as nature. The authors trace the roles that work, recreation, historic preservation, conservation, and environmentalism have played in shaping the region, and they highlight the diversity of historical actors who have transformed both its meaning and its physical form. Drawing on a wide range of disciplines--including history, geography, environmental studies, literature, art history, and historic preservation--the book provides fresh perspectives on New England’s many landscapes: forests, mountains, farms, coasts, industrial areas, villages, towns, and cities. Generously illustrated, with many archival photographs, A Landscape History of New England offers readers a solid historical foundation for understanding the great variety of places that make up New England.

Dirt presents a selection of works that share dirty attitudes: essays, interviews, excavations, and projects that view dirt not as filth but as a medium, a metaphor, a material, a process, a design tool, a narrative, a system. Rooted in the landscape architect’s perspective, Dirt views dirt not as repulsive but endlessly giving, fertile, adaptive, and able to accommodate difference while maintaining cohesion. This dirty perspective sheds light on social connections, working processes, imaginative ideas, physical substrates, and urban networks. Dirt is a matrix; as a book, it organizes contributions from architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning and design, historic preservation, fine arts, and art history.

The chapters predict and report on city waterfronts revamped by climate change, the reinvention of suburbia, and cityscapes of ruins; dish the dirt with yet-to-be proven facts; make such unexpected linkages as ornament to weed growth and cell networks to zip-ties; examine the work of innovative thinkers who have imagined or created, among other things, a replica of Robert Smithson’s famous earthwork Spiral Jetty in “table-top scale,” live models of the Arctic ice caps, and an inhabitable “green roof”; and describe an ecological landscape urbanism that incorporates the natural sciences in its processes.

New Horizons in Landscape

The artist's relationship to landscape was once invoked by a canvas on an easel in a picturesque vista. No more. In the 1960s, the Earth Artists started focusing on natural systems and entropy; in the 1970s, photographers in the New Topographics movement turned their attention unsentimentally to the industrialized "man-altered" environment; in the 1980s, artists animated the natural landscape with art, movement, and performance; and in the 1990s, Eco-Artists collaborated with scientists to address sustainability, pollution, and politics. Badlands explores the latest manifestations of artists’ fascination with the earth, gathering work by contemporary artists who approach landscape through history, culture, and science.

Badlands, which accompanies an exhibition at MASS MoCA, approaches landscape as a theme with variations, grouping artists and their art (which is shown in 150 color illustrations) by category: Historians, who recontextualize the history of landscape depiction; Explorers, who explore the environment and our place within it; Activists and Pragmatists, who alert us to problems in the natural world and suggest solutions; and the Aestheticists, who look at the beauty found in nature. Each section begins with an essay: Gregory Volk maps the evolution of the genre from the Hudson River School to Earth Art; Ginger Strand examines the relationship between man and landscape through our cultural history; Tensie Whelan discusses environmental science, sustainability, and climate change; and Denise Markonish considers the new genre of landscape that emerges from the work displayed in Badlands.

As a physical object, Badlands supports the values represented by its intellectual and artistic content: it was produced using FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified techniques including paper, printing, and inks.

Artists: Robert Adams, Vaughn Bell, Boyle Family, Melissa Brown, Center for Land Use Interpretation, Leila Daw, Gregory Euclide, J. Henry Fair, Mike Glier, Anthony Goicolea, Marine Hugonnier, Paul Jacobsen, Mitchell Joachim/ Terreform, Nina Katchadourian, Jane Marsching, Alexis Rockman, Ed Ruscha, Joseph Smolinski, Yutaka Sone, Jennifer Steinkamp, Mary Temple.

Copublished with MASS MoCA

Reconnecting with the Natural World

Amidst city concrete and suburban sprawl, Americans are discovering new ways to reconnect with the natural world. From community gardens in New York's Lower East Side to homeless shelters in California, the search for a more sustainable future has led grassroots groups to a profound reconnection to place and to the natural world.

Studies of the health consequences of renewing a connection with nature support the urgency of providing green surroundings as cities expand and the majority of the earth's population lives in urban areas. Medical research results, from groups as diverse as healthy volunteers, surgery patients, and heart attack survivors, suggest that contact with nature may improve health and well-being. Engagement with nearby natural places also provides restoration from mental fatigue and support for more resilient and cooperative behavior. Aspects of stronger community life are fostered by access to nature, suggesting that there are significant social as well as physical and psychological benefits from connection with the natural world.

This volume brings together research from anthropology, sociology, public health, psychology, and landscape architecture to highlight how awareness of locale and a meaningful renewal of attachment with the earth are connected to delight in learning about nature as well as to civic action and new forms of community. Community garden coalitions, organic market advocates, and greenspace preservationists resist the power of global forces, enacting visions of a different future. Their creative efforts tell a story of a constructive and dynamic middle ground between private plots and public action, between human health and ecosystem health, between individual attachment and urban sustainability.

Bernd and Hilla Becher have profoundly influenced the international photography world over the past several decades. Their unique genre, which falls somewhere between topological documentation and conceptual art, is in line with the aesthetics of such early-twentieth-century masters of German photography as Karl Blossfeldt, Germaine Krull, Albert Renger-Patzsch, and August Sander.

Industrial Landscapes introduces a new aspect to the Bechers' photography, one that will surprise connoisseurs of their work. Whereas their previously published works concentrated on isolated industrial objects, they now show huge industrial sites amid their natural surroundings. They move away from the objective, severe image to present slightly more narrative, interpretive images of the industrial environment as a whole. Although the photographs in Industrial Landscapes were taken over the past forty years, they are published here for the first time.

The industrial structures shown include a wide range of coal mines, iron ore mines, steel mills, power stations with cooling towers, lime kilns, grain elevators, and so on. They represent industrial regions in Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, and the United States (Alabama, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania).

Architecture, Technology, and Topography

Although both are central to architecture, siting and construction are often treated as separate domains. In Uncommon Ground, David Leatherbarrow illuminates their relationship, focusing on the years between 1930 and 1960, when utopian ideas about the role of technology in building gave way to an awareness of its disruptive impact on cities and culture. He examines the work of three architects, Richard Neutra, Antonin Raymond, and Aris Konstantinidis, who practiced in the United States, Japan, and Greece respectively.

Leatherbarrow rejects the assumption that buildings of the modern period, particularly those that used the latest technology, were designed without regard to their surroundings. Although the prefabricated elements used in the buildings were designed independent of siting considerations, architects used these elements to modulate the environment. Leatherbarrow shows how the role of walls, the traditional element of architectural definition and platform partition, became less significant than that of the platforms themselves, the floors, ceilings, and intermediate levels. He shows how frontality was replaced by the building's four-sided extension into its surroundings, resulting in frontal configurations previously characteristic of the back. Arguing that the boundary between inside and outside was radically redefined, Leatherbarrow challenges cherished notions about the autonomy of the architectural object and about regional coherence. Modern architectural topography, he suggests, is an interplay of buildings, landscapes, and cities, as well as the humans who use them.

The conflict between technological progress and cultural continuity, Leatherbarrow claims, exists only in theory, not in the real world of architecture. He argues that the act of building is not a matter of restoring regional identity by re-creating familiar signs, but of incorporating construction into the process of topography's perpetual becoming.

Landscapes, Highways, and Houses in America

The dominant architectures in our culture of development consist of generic protocols for building offices, airports, houses, and highways. For Keller Easterling these organizational formats are not merely the context of design efforts—they are the design. Bridging the gap between architecture and infrastructure, Easterling views architecture as part of an ecology of interrelationships and linkages, and she treats the expression of organizational character as part of the architectural endeavor.

Easterling also makes the case that these organizational formats are improvisational and responsive to circumstantial change, to mistakes, anomalies, and seemingly illogical market forces. By treating these irregularities opportunistically, she offers architects working within the customary development protocols new sites for making and altering space.

By showing the reciprocal relations between systems of thinking and modes of designing, Easterling establishes unexpected congruencies between natural and built environments, virtual and physical systems, highway and communication networks, and corporate and spatial organizations. She frames her unconventional notion of site not in terms of singular entities, but in terms of relationships between multiple sites that are both individually and collectively adjustable.

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