Assignment E [Outline]

Bibliographic Essay [Outline]

How can an architectural intervention complement the site specific characteristics of its surroundings and symbolize a greater meaning through form and materiality?

  • Martin Heidegger “Building Dwelling Thinking”– the possibility of architecture transforming a space to a place
    • “The bridge swings over the stream with case and power. It does not just connect banks that are already there. The banks emerge as banks only as the bridge crosses the stream.”
      • [The landscape exists as space void of character, character in terms of identity, until architecture defines the landscape as place.]
      • [Architecture embeds the landscape with identifiable characteristics, and also becomes a way finding tool.]
  • Heidegger’s text presents that the landscape is inherently tied to architecture, but then why has the disconnect between architecture and the landscape continued to grow?
    • “Notwithstanding the fact that architecture and landscape inhabit each other’s conceptual and physical space, a combination of factors has fostered a deep and enduring division between them. This division has not only impoverished both discourses, it has had a negative impact on the built environment” (Pollak and Berrizbeitia, pp. 10)
  • Pollak and Berrizbeitia look to reinvigorate interest in the relationship between architecture and the landscape by presenting five different frameworks, or operations, with which to conceptualize the relationship between architecture and the landscape.
    • The operation of materiality is of special importance to the area of research presented here because under this operation Pollak and Berrizbeitia present ideas regarding meaning in the relationship between landscape and architecture.
  • In The Landscape Urbanism Reader Charles Walheim also asserts that there has been a growing disconnect between architecture and landscape.
    • Similarly to Heidegger Waldheim relies on pointing out that landscape and architecture are inherently linked, and therefore landscape design needs to be more strongly considered as part of architectural design.
  • John Dixon Hunt explains that the disconnect between architecture and landscape stems from the perception that landscape architecture is built upon arbitrary design decisions.
    • In studying the history of garden design Hunt credits cultural events throughout history as the driving source behind changes in garden design and landscape architecture.
    • Rather than the form of gardens changing based on purely aesthetic purposes Hunt attributes the change to certain events such as the opening of parks to a wider public.
      • The opening of parks to a wider public: this event helped to move the aesthetic of gardens away from the determination of only the wealthy few, and therefore led to the understanding that there is no universal aesthetic
  • Hunt’s exploration of genius loci,or spirit of the place, is interesting because it presents the notion that landscapes can be valued for more than just their aesthetic qualities.
    • Hunt acknowledges Turner’s landscape paintings as works that dealt strongly with the idea of genius loci.
    • He commends the talent of Turner for being able to capture through his painting the genius loci: “What is crucial about these motifs is that country estates required of the landscape artist both a visual naturalism and an instinct for their special sense of place: on the one hand, optical and visual accuracy, and on the other celebration of something more elusive than simple topography; what the visiting eye would see as well as the special rapport that its owners and residents would have for an estate.” (Hunt, pp. 235)
    • [Hunt’s view of Turner’s “instinct for the special sense of a place” speaks not only to artists with this instinct, but also to architects: in other words by working closely with and understanding the importance of the landscape architects can also capture this same sense of place]
  • Pollak and Berrizbeitia’s operation of materiality precedent studies: Brion Cemetery [Carlo Scarpa], Stone House [Herzog & De Meuron], Igualada Cemetery [Enric Miralles & Carmen Pinos], Thomson Factory [Desvigne and Dalnoky]
    • In On Weathering: The Life of Buildings in Time David Leatherbarrow catalogs materials which weather well in conjunction with other materials. He employs precedent studies in which the material choice not only weathers well, but in which the ephemeral quality of the material symbolizesa greater meaning within the design.
      • On Carlo Scarpa’s Brion Cemetery: “Scarpa interrupted the horizontal run run of the stepped parapet with a gap that has allowed the rainwater to seep through, leaving a black stain in the middle of the wall. This marking reveals, through weathering, nature’s temporality; the beginning and end of things.” (Leatherbarrow, pp. 98)
  • Christian Norberg-Shulz in Meaning in Western Architectureexplains the importance of meaning in architecture: “It must be emphasized that existential meanings are not something which is arbitrarily added to man’s daily life. Such meanings are inherent in daily life, consisting of the relationships between natural and human properties, processes and actions.” (Norberg-Shulz, pp. 222)
    • “… the task of the architect is to create places with a particular, meaningful character, for without the dimension of character all the levels would remain mere abstractions…” (Norberg-Shulz, pp. 225)
  • In Architecture: Meaning and Place Norberg-Shulz presents today’s situation as set up by the modern movement, an architecture which should no logner: “express and symbolize, but function” (Norberg-Shulz, pp. 17)
    • “The empty coordinate system of functionalism has to be filled. But man is not able to fill it alone, he has to have forms to aid him, that is, buildings and works of art which creates places with character. Today man only finds places with character in nature.” (Norberg-Shulz, pp. 26)


Architecture: Meaning and Place. Christian Norberg-Shulz. New York, New York: Rizzoli International Publications (1988)

Meaning in Western Architecture. Christian Norberg-Schulz. New York, New York: Rizzoli International Publications (1980)

“Building Dwelling Thinking”. Poetry, Language, Thought. Martin Heidegger. New York, New York: Colophon Books (1971)

Gardens and the Picturesque: Studies in the History of Landscape Architecture. John Dixon Hunt. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press (1992)

On Weathering: The Life of Buildings in Time. David Leatherbarrow and Mohsen Mostafavi. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press (1993)

Inside/Outside: Between Architecture and Landscape. Anita Berrizbeitia and Linda Pollak. Gloucester, Massachusetts: Rockport Publishers (1999)

The Landscape Urbanism Reader. Charles Waldheim, editor. New York, New York: Princeton Architectural Press (2006)


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