re: Fontanone dell’Acqua Paola, Trevi Fountain, Fonti dei Canali et al.,

Stefano della Bella, A rider making his horse drink from a fountain, ca. 1646, from “Diverses figures et griffonnemens,” published by Israël Henriet. [Metropolitan Museum of Art]

From the perspective of architecture history, this factor complicates both the design and experience of these structures; for it requires that the traditional cognitive scheme involving the object and the viewer be replaced by a more complex phenomenological triad consisting of architecture, water, and the body…From the washerwomen to bikini-clad tourists, we can see that fountains were scaled not only to buildings and cities but also to the movements and sensations of bodies. 17 In this light it is worth remembering that the exclusion of bodily experience from the realm of architecture is a relatively recent phenomenon.

By Anatole Tchikine  in Places Journal


re: the logisticalization of contemporary supply chains,

For No. 43 / Shelf Life of Harvard Design Magazine, Clare Lyster (author of ‘Learning from Logistics: How Networks Change Our Cities’) wrote Storage Flows: Logistics as Urban Choreography.

Wherein she argues

To fully comprehend contemporary mechanisms of flow, we need to explore the manner in which logistics shrewdly appropriates other external networks and spaces as a means to enhance its supply chain operations. For example, many logistical networks hijack familiar forms of urban infrastructure to further conquer the spatiotemporal gap between supply and demand. Piggybacking on other systems to optimize flow by collapsing supply and distribution into one seamless system has many implications for the city, changing how distribution typologies appear in the urban landscape and thus the landscape itself.

Note: There are a number of spots where I assume “ow”/”ows” should be read, as a typo, as “flows”…

Also, no surprise that Alan Berger comes up. I immediately thought of his writings on the infrastructural leftover spaces or dross. The spaces/places where “Storage flows” happen. Transit through.

What is different today, in particular is the role of algorithms and digital flows.


Regarding imagined cities…

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Monday, July 9th, 2012, Impossible Cities was written by Darran Anderson, an Irish writer. In the essay Mr. Anderson reflects on the varied fictional cities found throughout history, whether in the arts, architecture; poetry, or fiction. He concludes “A lasting consequence of these imagined cities is their effect on the way we view real-life cities…Today, we largely deal with the cities we actually possess (or possess us) but the great fictional cities have not disappeared…In recording and editing our own view of a city, however real it is, are we producing a fictionalised version, warped by our preferences and prejudices…Imaginary cities need not necessarily be invented then. We already inhabit them“.


Expanding the very notion of urban landscape

So the question is, since we’re building our landscape just like we build our buildings, why aren’t we bringing a more critical and cultural overlay to what we’re building? And why I think that [viewpoint] creates a downside is that if it can’t be nature, it then falls below our consideration. It’s not architecture. It’s not landscape. It’s not designed. It’s left to engineers or nobody. And we have built our urban landscapes so that it’s neither fish nor fowl…It’s a lot more than green roofs“.

Martha Schwartz, professor at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, via Yale’s e360 here

On systemic resilience, spatial enhanced species successioning and “Managing the Effects of Climate Change”

ASLA’s the DIRT recently published an interview with Kristina Hill, PhD, Chair of the Landscape Architecture department at the University of Virginia. In it Hill addresses the role landscape architects can play in dealing with global climate change. The two big takeaways are; first that landscape architects really need to go beyond the role of just designers. Even the best, most materially appropriate and ecologically sound design can only have so large of an impact. Hill believes that because of their holistic understanding of ecology and design what is really needed is for landscape architects “to wade into some of the policy and planning debates that surround these investments of public money.” In the future landscape architects will not just design when a client calls. Rather, by taking a more activist approach they can share their vision(s) with the public and in this the way shape policy debates not just landscape.

Additionally, in the interview Hill discusses three categories of actions: to protect, renew, and re-tool, which designers and elected officials have begun to develop in response to the climate change problem. Specifically, in terms of spatial strategies which allow significant roles for landscape architects to change cities.

Finally, drawing on the work of conservation ecologists she emphasizes the need to reduce “matrix hostility” in order to increase biodiversity and develop permanent as well as shifting/temporary buffer zones and corridors for animal and plant species diversity, distribution and climate related ecological succession. All of these attempts to mitigate the effects of climate change on the environment have spatial implications and thus suggest possible roles for landscape architects to play. Also of note was Hill’s discussion about the re-introduction of animals into urban human life. Specifically, the growing number of human/animal interactions including the presence of crows and coyotes in urban and peri-urban areas. As she notes both of these animals are long associated by indigenous peoples of the Americas with tricksterism, wisdom and and teaching. Their growing contact with urban humanity is raising new concerns and questions about urban ecologies and Hill wonders “What happens to that relationship when the teacher comes to the city and really thrives there? Will urban people learn new things about their relationship to other species?

Read more (here)