This e-zine is about lots of trees, and about a warrior – a custodian and protector. The warrior stands at the entrance to a new square in Perth, Western Australia. Nine metres tall and made of corten steel, the statue was designed by the Aboriginal artist Tjyllyungoo. Also an Aboriginal, the slim figure - armed with a spear - faces north. The spear is welded seamlessly with the arm, and thus the arm connects with the earth. The sculpture represents 'the eternal sacred force of creative power that connects all life of mother earth’. That might sound a little overdone, but if you look at the figure long enough, and learn more about it, the effect sinks in. The warrior's gaze is directed to the sun.
In Klagenfurt, the viewer's gaze is directed to trees, a whole stadium full of them. A forest, a temporary work of art, where the leaves of the trees gradually changed colour. An exhibition in Paris is devoted to trees, with contributions by nearly fifty artists and scientists. Even the latest Dior collection was inspired by trees and an entire arboretum was created for the show.
There's not much architecture in this e-zine. If you watch the film Exit – click on the link in the post on Nous les arbres – you'll know why. As you will if you look carefully at the warrior.
On the banks of the Huangpu in Shanghai, China’s largest city, lies the financial and business district Pudong. The district is located on the east bank of the river, opposite the historic centre of Puxi. A 21 kilometre stretch of this east bank has been reconstructed according to a design by the French firm Agence Ter. The city council wants to upgrade the waterfront – transforming the old industrial character – to include a variety of functions: soft transportation, ecology, public spaces, activities and economy. The park-like strip of land creates an interface with the surrounding neighbourhoods and the river. Existing ferry stations will be developed into urban hubs for public transport, enhancing the accessibility of the riverbank. Pedestrian bridges have been built along the length of the bank to improve the connectivity.
The riverbank has been organised into three different paths. The main path is a pedestrian promenade with a range of temporary and permanent leisure activities and facilities such as street food, playgrounds and activity lawns. For cyclists, joggers and other sporty types there is a path with fixed and mobile activities including fitness training support, ping-pong tables and sports fields. A discovery path reveals the natural, cultural and architectural heritage of the riverbank. The paths meander, occasionally running parallel to each other and at other times going their own way. The newly landscaped strip includes height differences, providing views of the river as well as the metropolitan landscape. Every other kilometre an unusual landmark resembling a lighthouse houses a specially designed information system.
A main feature of the riverbank is the Manlizui Park, which was constructed on the site of a former concrete plant. The park not only provides splendid views of the river and the city centre, but also hosts several outdoor play areas. A rarity in Shanghai.
Programme reconstruction of waterfront/public space along the Huangpu river
Location Shanghai, China
Client Shanghai East Bund Investment Group Co Ltd
Design Team Agence Ter Urbanistes Paysagistes, JFA Architectes, SCS, AND, Concepto
Area 350 ha, 21 km stretch
Design and construction 2016–2019
Trees in art, trees as art, trees as saviours of civilisation. Fondation Cartier in Paris hosts Nous les Arbres until 5 January 2020. The exhibition displays the reflections of international artists, scientists and philosophers on the life of trees. The theme is inspired by the relatively new scientific discovery that trees have feelings and memories. According to the organisers, this could yield solutions for the current climate crisis. In a chock-full room, the exhibits tell stories of knowledge, beauty and destruction. Nous les Arbres is an appeal to the public, also reflected in the thought-provoking title of the exhibition.
Drawings, images, installations and films by the 48 contributors make the exhibition diverse and surprising. The film EXIT by architectural firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro is as impressive as it is frightening. Compiled from an enormous amount of data collected worldwide, it addresses migration, climate change and deforestation. In a separate room a video and sound installation about disappearing habitats was created specially for Fondation Cartier by Paraguayan director Paz Encina. At the entrance a film plays: Mon Arbre by photographer Raymond Depardon. On the website you can replay lectures from the programme and the exhibition is accompanied by a large catalogue.
The gallery itself is also worth a visit. The lushly planted terraces and courtyards were designed in 1994 by Lothar Baumgarten and blend in with the glass and steel of the building designed by architect Jean Nouvel. An enormous pot houses the cedar of Lebanon, which was planted in 1823 by romantic poet and botanist Francois-René de Chateaubriand. Art, science and a love of nature have always gone well together.
How can we combine sustainability with the increasing numbers of people living in cities around the world? For a discussion on the subject listen to the podcast on Future Proofing Cities by BFM 89.9, an independent radio station in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Caroline Bos and Ren Yee from UN Studio, a Dutch architectural practice specialised in sustainable building and planning practices, talk about how to deal with sustainability and environmental issues. Big data analysis is needed, people can learn, and we should monitor buildings and cities also after completion of the design. Inspiring to hear their ideas and ways of looking at designing for the future!
Also on spotify
Looking at trees in the stadium in Klagenfurt
For almost thirty years, Swiss artist Klaus Littman dreamed of planting a mini forest in a football stadium. Over the past six years he found the funds and location to make his dream come true. Working with Enea Landscape Architecture, 300 mature trees were planted in the Wörthersee Stadium in Klagenfurt last summer, creating Austria's largest ever public art installation: a mixed forest where you would normally find the grass football pitch. As though attending a match, visitors sat on the benches and the stadium lights were turned on at night. The project lasted until October 27.
Littmann's project – For Forest – The Unending Attraction of Nature – is based on a drawing of the same name made in 1971 by Austrian architect Max Peintner. The drawing shows a stadium with trees planted in it, with the high-rise buildings and smoking chimneys of a large city in the background. The idea is that For Forest becomes a memorial: Littman wanted to bring people together and make them think about conservation. At the end of the project, the forest will be replanted close to the stadium.
A special bench to sit down and talk
'The best weapon is to sit down and talk,' said Nelson Mandela. The best place to do so these days is in front of the United Nations Headquarters in New York. On Mandela Day, a peace bench was unveiled. The bench, called the Best Weapon, is shaped like a semi-circle, causing people sitting on it to slide to the middle and interact with each other. It is a symbol of diplomacy and dialogue and is intended to create more understanding and achieve dialogue between those on opposite sides of the discussion. The installation pays tribute to past peace prize laureates and their efforts to bring people together to find effective solutions for peace.
The six-and-a-half meter-long installation was designed by the Norwegian architectural group, Snøhetta. Materials were supplied by Hydro, and final construction of the piece was completed by Vestre. The aluminium is the world's greenest, produced in a completely carbon-neutral process with significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions than the industry average. Commissioned by the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, where the bench will be moved to this fall.
Where can you find art, music, architecture all combined on ranchland? That would be at the Tippet Rise Art Center, a 12,000-acre working ranch in Fishtail, Montana, located against the backdrop of the Beartooth Mountains in the American Northwest. There’s a lot to be discovered in this amazing landscape.
Opened in 2016, Tippet Rise hosts classical chamber music and recitals, and exhibits large-scale outdoor sculptures. It is open to the public every summer. Enjoy a classical concert under the outdoor sculpture Domo or explore other architectural pieces of art as you bike or hike along the trails. This season a new pavilion, Xylem, was built, designed by architect Francis Kéré.
There’s a wide range of videos, podcasts and photographs to explore on the website. We were moved by a piece called the Gardener. Composed by pianist Julien Brocal in collaboration with violinist Caroline Goulding, it offers an introspective and hopeful perspective on nature through music.
‘Offering a range of experiences, from green spaces to market halls, eateries, immersive public art and digital media, the square is intended as an ever-changing civic centre where the cultural past, present and future collide.’ The description refers to Yagan Square, part of a major transit hub in the very dense and crowded heart of the city of Perth in Western Australia. The square looks like an enormous building, surrounded by roads, with shopping malls and footbridges that form a kind of arena, creating a very special public space. It is named after Yukan, a warrior of Whadjuk, one of the tribes of the Noongar people who lived in this region. The design – by ASPECT Studios in collaboration with Lyons and iredale pedersen hook architects – is complex and full of references to the cultural, ecological and geological past.
At night, light installations transport you to the outback of Western Australia. The images are projected onto one of the art installations on the square: a large tower made up of 14 columns, symbolising the Noongar language groups. The meandering shape of the canopy is a reference to the lakes that used to be in this area. Studded with thousands of lights, the canopy turns into a colourful and intriguing lighting display after dark. During the day, it provides shade and a sense of coherence in this multi-layered split-level complex where footpaths, meeting areas, playgrounds and water features vie for space. The artistic water features that run through the square are also inspired by the landscape of Western Australia and by the stories of its indigenous people. Eucalyptus trees, wildflower borders and lawns offer a sense of calm in this breathtaking meeting place.
Programme public square with shopping malls, playing fields and artwork
Location Perth, Australia
Client Municipality of Perth
Design Team Lyons in association with iredale pedersen hook, Maddison Architects (retail) and ASPECT Studios (landscape)
Area 1,1 ha
Design and construction 2016–2018
Photography Peter Bennetts, Gary Peters
Nature is in the air. For the Dior Spring/Summer 2020 collection, fashion designer and Creative Director Maria Grazia Chiuri was inspired by Catherine Dior (1917-2008), who had a great passion for flowers and gardens.
The impact of that inspiration was also visible in the impressive set, created to look like an arboretum with more than 100 trees. Chiuri worked on the set together with Coloco, a collective of landscape and design professionals. All the trees will now be replanted as part of several projects, including the creation of urban groves in the heart of Paris and on the site of a former French Air Force base.
While strolling through the trees the guests could look at the tags hanging on each tree, graced with a message #plantingforthefuture and a unique QR code indicating the destination of each specific tree.
Fashion today is not just about making clothes. ‘I have always perceived a fashion show as a way to spread a message, a platform to share my convictions,’ said Chiuri backstage before the show. ‘This season, I also wanted to encourage people to take action.’
Would you like to buy this issue?
Please click here
Would you like to buy a digital version
of this issue?
Please click here
How can we deal with unpredictability in urban planning and design? What kinds of tools and techniques are needed. What shifts in thinking?
The theme is perhaps the most important building block in our discipline: beauty. What is it? What makes it so difficult to talk about? Why is it so elusive?
THE CITY AS OASIS by Thomas Sieverts
The encroachment of wild plants and animals into the urban landscape – reinterpreting and redesigning the city as a Noah’s Ark for biodiversity in a world of shrinking species numbers.
UTOPIA by Sebastian Wells
Architect Arna Mačkić, born in Yugoslavia, is partner in the Dutch based office Studio LA. Many of their projects are concerned with mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion, refugees, collective identity and the public domain.
THE HIDDEN GARDEN
Amager Bakke (Copenhagen), Lace Garden (Amsterdam), Lowline (New York), Nemos Garden (Ligurian Sea), Villa Senar (Weggis), Sacca Sassola (Venice Lagoon)
Lisa Diedrich, Andrea Kahn, Silke Rainen, Marieke Berkers, Christel Lindgren, Daphne de Bruijn, Harry Harsema and others
Feel free to share ...
Have you enjoyed this e-zine?
Are you curious to read the new September issue…?
now to receive 5 e-zines
and the print edition of ‘scape for €44.50
Ezine 3 / 2019
Daphne de Bruijn, Harry Harsema, Martine Bakker
Translation & text editing
Sara Butler, Jackie Harsema
Design, concept & realisation
Daphne de Bruijn