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the fight in profession January 31, 2009

Posted by walnutsrice in in clarity.
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caught this video at wallpaper between Martha Schwartz and Will Alsop in a lively discussion on the role of landscape architect and architects, individually and in relation to each other. I think its brilliant.

Both are incredibly achieved and intellectual. Alsop brough up some points in the discussion, drawing attention to the non-design spaces that are at the fringe of a building and seems to be nobody’s responsibility. Engineer? Builder? He questions the reason why these places seem to attract people still – and therefore if spaces like that can attract people, is there a need then, to design open spaces?

i actually like these non spaces – at the corner of an estate, behind a row of houses. spaces that are too small to be of significant use, or too awkwardly shaped for any attraction or too far away from anything.

Martha did not entirely answer his question or throw his case back, but she did talk about the space being a manifestation of the designers’ beliefs and thoughts, which allows the space to have meaning and beauty (together). i agree with this point. therefore, spaces do need to be designed and also studied in order to understand interactions and movement. And she refuted that the architect is no longer the master artist presiding over the design of the building and/or land: because landscape architects are able to understand the dynamics within the landscape, site conditions and make objective assessments on where things could be built and how it should be built.

i think the debate between landscape architects and architects will continue: most of the architects i have worked with, make no effort to understand what landscape architects do. they assume we only plant trees. thats not true by the way. if you look closely, all trees have different shapes, textures, form and height. so its a matter of aesthetic, and function in choosing what to put. and we decide where to put it. and we move on to talking about features, programming, activities, circulation, traffic, weather and requirements. it is almost like doing a visual spreadsheet. with a concept. with a belief.

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to watch the video, click here.

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