When we’re not inside a house, we’re in a landscape. Every piece of that landscape has been influenced by man. At the beginning of every landscape project there should be a person who can read and interpret that landscape.
We return to our landscapes somewhat reluctantly, forced by climate change. It’s a little bit like going to the dentist—pain overpowers reluctance. For years, we have been selfishly exploiting our landscapes. We are learning to perceive them, now, through their functions. Water retention, air pollution reduction, the cooling effect. Sometimes we plant a few trees, but that’s far from enough.
Architecture tends to see nature, represented by landscape, just as a passive sphere, where a tree is a shading element and a bed of flowers is a biodiversity enhancing element. It sees landscape as a mechanical structure, required for meeting our new needs related to climate change. This has to stop.
There is a different approach. Emphatic, sensory, participatory. It sees landscape as a continuous creation process, an organic structure drawing its character from direct and indirect links, a living space for countless organisms and animals. Nature that is wild and interlinked permits an entirely different way of working with the environment, with man inherently in the centre of landscape, not apart from it.
In this issue of ERA21, we present ideas that go beyond designing single-use places, that show a landscape architecture where many professional perspectives converge. Ideas that stress the importance of collaborating when active, and activating when passive.
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