vendredi 23 novembre 2012

Reference Manifesto.

Lapo Lani, Andrea Branzi, Ernesto Bartolini, Masterplan Strijp Philipps in Eindhoven (via Europaconcorsi, © Lapo Lani, All Rights Reserved).

Lapo Lani, Andrea Branzi, Ernesto Bartolini, Masterplan Strijp Philipps in Eindhoven (via Europaconcorsi, © Lapo Lani, All Rights Reserved).

Lapo Lani, Andrea Branzi, Ernesto Bartolini, Masterplan Strijp Philipps in Eindhoven (via Europaconcorsi, © Lapo Lani, All Rights Reserved).

Lapo Lani, Andrea Branzi, Ernesto Bartolini, Masterplan Strijp Philipps in Eindhoven (via Europaconcorsi, © Lapo Lani, All Rights Reserved).

Lapo Lani, Andrea Branzi, Ernesto Bartolini, Masterplan Strijp Philipps in Eindhoven (via Europaconcorsi, © Lapo Lani, All Rights Reserved).

Lapo Lani, Andrea Branzi, Ernesto Bartolini, Masterplan Strijp Philipps in Eindhoven (via Europaconcorsi, © Lapo Lani, All Rights Reserved).

"Interdisciplinarity is not the calm of an essay security ; it begins effectively... when the solidarity of old disciplines breaks down - perhaps even violently, via the jolts of fashion - in the interests of a new object and a new language..."




Across a range of disciplines, landscape has become a lens through which the contemporary city is represented and a medium through which it is constructed (ndlr : see images above). These sentiments are evident in the emerging notion of "landscape urbanism".

Today, in the context of global capital, post-Fordist models of flexible production, and informal labor relations, urbanization continues to decrease the density of North American settlement. The architectural objects left in the wake of this process are often absorbed by tourism and culture, offering many buildings an alternative post-industrial narrative as part of leisurely destination environments. Many cities in North America formerly known for their autochthonous architectural culture are presently engaged in rebranding themselves for larger economies of tourism, recreation, and destination entertainment, packaging architectural objects and fragments of the traditional urban fabric as optional excursions into themed environments. The architecture of the city becomes commodified as a cultural product, ironically rendering many cities less and less distinguishable from one another. In place of regional and historical distinctions, many industrial cities have long since lost most of their inhabitants to their decentralized suburban surroundings. In place of traditional, dense urban form, most North Americans spend their time in built environments characterized by decreased density, easy accommodation of the automobile, and public realms characterized by extensive vegetation. In this horizontal field of urbanization, landscape has a newfound relevance, offering a multivalent and manifold medium for the making of urban form, and in particular in the context of complex natural environments, post-industrial sites, and public infrastructures. 

The Landscape Urbanism Reader gathers essays from fourteen authors accross a range of disciplines internationally, to articulate the origins and aspirations of this burgeoning field of cultural production. It, and the "new language" it puts forth, attempt to describe the rapidly changing context for landscape in discussions of the contemporary city. The emerging discourse it documents speaks to the relative inadequecy of the traditional disciplinary, professional, and critical categories to account for the renewed interest in landscape found in the work of many architects, landscape architects, and urbanists over the past several years. This collection assembles a variety of essays looking back to the very recent past and, through the shock of fashion, to the advantage of a new object, a new language.

The formulation of a "reference manifesto" at once proclaims an emergent moment of cultural production and traces its etymology, genealogy, and critical commitments. The phrase produces and interesting double-bind, demanding that this volume describe emergent conditions before they fully clarify themselves while simultaneously documenting their various sources and referents. These dual aspirations place the book in a curious critical position, necessitating new modes of description, new forms of scholarship, new models of discourse. The anthology form this publication adopts, and often undervalued format, affords space for a range of divergent voices while at the same time focusing thoses critical energies on a collective object of study. It presupposes a varied and in some cases incongruous set of contributors, from a spectrum of disciplinary and scholarly backgrounds. Some are established scholars, others emerging voices. All have found the discourse surrounding landscape urbanism to be significant to their own work, and have devoted considerable time and energy to the articulation of its potentials in this collection. The essays collected here, and the projects and propositions they point to, provide clear evidence of landscape's invocation as a medium through which the contemporary city might be apprehended and intervened upon. 

(...)

Taken together, these essays describe the positions, practices and projective potentials of landscape urbanism. Equally, they articulate the expanding international relevance of what can now be understood as the single most significant shift in the design disciplines' descriptions of the city in the past quarter century.

The Landscape Urbanism Reader assembles the fullest account to date of the origins, affinities, aspirations, and applications of this emergent body of knowledge. In so doing, it chronicles the shifting attentions of those disciplines aspiring to describe, delineate, and design the contemporary city. The book records the subtle shifts and sharp shocks of a deep, ongoing, disciplinary break-down, in favor of a new object, a new language.

Notes.

Epigraph. Roland Barthes, "From Work to Text", Image Music Text, trans. Stephen Heath (New York: Hill and Wang, 1977), 155.

Charles Waldheim, editor, A Reference Manifesto in The Landscape Urbanism Reader, Princeton Architectural Press, 2006, p.15-19.   

Merci à M.J.

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