On the move

27 Maggio, 2015

On the Move is the fourth volume of the Landscape Architecture Europe (LAE) series that presents and discusses contemporary European landscape architectural projects.

On the Move presents projects that were gathered in response to a democratic call for entries, selected by a rigorous and independent jury of European landscape architects and shaped for publication through broadminded editing. As a result, the book showcases the ‘state of the art’ and raises awareness about what and how landscape architecture can contribute to society.

On the Move consists of a selection of 45 projects – 11 features (10 pages each) and 34 icons (2 pages each) – complemented by essays, an introduction and an epilogue.

The book is structured into three main themes.

The first theme considers landscape architecture as based on working with processes and practices, leading to a different understanding of design: as transformation of that which already exists on a site. This chapter explores the mindset of transformation and its effects on the European built work. Examples are Berlin’s Gleisdreieck – where the designers took the old materials and traces and structures and interpreted them anew to fit current urban practices – and Guimarães in Portugal where the designers updated a whole series of urban spaces, but rather than playing out heritage against design, united them in transformation.

The second chapter addresses the theme of curation. To counteract absent public funds and inherited functionalist planning practices, Europe is currently experiencing a trend towards the creation of spaces from the bottom up, imagined and built by amateurs instead of by professionals. This has implications for designers. Instead of retreating to the margins of society, some landscape architects are abandoning their identity as dominant creators and reinventing themselves as co-creators, especially for public and community spaces. These emerging practices typically tackle overlooked spaces, such as the abandoned airport of Tempelhof in Berlin. Or in Budapest where a landscape architect initiated collective engagement through art and community projects and managed to re-activate underused and worn-out public and semi-public courtyards

The third chapter heavy heritage considers the physical legacy of European heavy industry. Physical solutions often cure symptoms instead of tackling the core of the problem. The physical heritage relies on a mental one: the duality of nature and culture. This chapter reframes the question in order to break down the dualism. The first signs are already in sight: in Amsterdam, a waste dump has become part of a reinvented water ecology. Desolate mining landscapes, such as Carbonia in Sardinia and Lens in Northern France, have redefined their fossil exploitation economies into self-learning social ecologies.

European landscape architecture builds on a common horizon of understanding and yet produces quality works of very different expression and style. The four books in the Landscape Architecture Europe series – Fieldwork (2006), On Site (2009), In Touch (2012) and On the Move (2015) – provide insight into the fringes of our traditional practice, where ideas and topics can lead to creative projects that are of interest to the profession as a whole.

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