New Botanic Landscapes
Species, Spaces, and Productive Territories
University of Waterloo
School of Architecture
Teaching Faculty: Taymoore Balbaa, Fionn Byrne, Lola Sheppard (coordinator), Scott Sorli, Matthew Spremulli
The intention of this studio was to focus a discussion, through design, on the relationship of building, landscape and environment. The studio sought to engage discussions that have been ongoing within architecture, landscape architecture, ecology, geography, and in the humanities, as to how we understand and shape our landscapes, and the degree of agency and control which we as species, and designers should or can have within these environments.
How do we understand ‘nature’ today, given that our collective understanding of this term has been mutating and evolving over centuries? Many theorists have argued that the very notions of nature, landscape, and wilderness are human and cultural construct. How we view this nature, and how we document it, is contingent on an anthropocentric vision of the world. Furthermore, over the past century, our natures have been increasingly monitored and controlled, ecologies are amplified or manufactured, and interior landscapes are conditioned, with the intent of augmenting performance and responsiveness. In the current scenario, the dialectic is no longer one of natural versus artificial / constructed, but positions within a spectrum of mediation and manipulation of nature, landscape and built environment.
This studio argued that this increasing ambiguity opens up opportunities for repositioning the role of architecture, technology, landscape and ecology as mutually opportunistic partners.
1-3. Jack Lipson, 4,5. Kate Holbrook-Smith.