LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS - scape - Landscape architecture and ...

LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS - scape - Landscape architecture and ...

Parc Litoral (Abalos & Herreros, 2004).

Parc Litoral.

gering proportions. Whole new cities are being built

at a phenomenal rate and one record after another is

being broken. A third of all building in the world

currently takes place in China. Admiration, fascination,


China is eager to present itself to the outside

world as a new economic superpower. The 2008

Olympic Games are being organised by Beijing and

two years later Shanghai will host the World Expo.

Many European architects and urban designers are

working in China. They are asked to base their

designs on European architectural and artistic traditions.

Whole new districts are being built in German,

English and Dutch styles.

China is certainly the one of the hotspots, but will

cities such as Bejing and Sjanhai also become a place

of pilgrimage for urban planning and landscape

architecture? Although the most fantastic buildings,

districts and cities are being built, the Chinese are

paying a price in the form of unprecedented environmental

pollution, violation of human rights through

forced evictions, the destruction of historic districts

and disregard for their own culture. In Barcelona the

architectonic revolution was supported by a broad,

cultural movement, while in China the explosive

growth is strictly managed by the government.

Which role can architecture play in this case? Do

Western architects, planners and urban designers

wanting to work in China have to have a weakness

for totalitarian systems? Famous Dutch architect Rem

Koolhaas states: Western civilisation has two

hundred years of destruction on its conscience. In his

view it would be the ‘utmost arrogance’ to tell China

now how it should behave.

Photos: Harery Harsema

In the following pages Hank van Tilborg gives an

impression of this breathtaking urbanism in China

and its drawbacks. Peter Paul Witsen reports on a

debate with Rem Koolhaas, who designed the spectacular

new building for the Chinese state broadcasting

service. Malene Hauxner looks back on the eventful

period in Barcelona, in which the avant-garde of

landscape architecture, town and country planning

and architecture sought and found an expression.

Harry Harsema reports about the inspiring fourth

biennale of landscape architecture, where the

tension in the field between architecture and nature

development was explicitly present.

And then there is also the beautiful atlas of Arjan

van Susteren, who put 101 metropolises on the map.

By printing the maps on the same scale (1:750.000),

the result was a spectacular atlas in which the most

important metropolises of the world can be

compared with regard to numerous features. Rob van

der Bijl and Bert Bukman have met him: ‘The most

beautiful place in the world is not in one of these

cities, quite the reverse. The most beautiful part of

the world is the Sahara. Its absolute emptiness and

its absolute silence – no metropolis can come near

this, to be honest.’

Speaking about hotspots.

Reflections on the


The Igualada cemetery (Enric Miralles & Carme Pinos, 1985).

Because of the architecturally quiet period under the Franco regime, Modernism

appeared as a liberating activity to the Catalan. If they have owed anything to the

Scandinavian modern direction, they have repaid with interest in the meantime. In

Barcelona, landscape architects keep inventing new forms and significations for

avant-garde urban landscapes, which are influencing the approaches and activities

of the Northern European professionals.

Malene Hauxner

Language and significance in

Barcelona’s urban landscape

The Mediterranean and Scandinavia appear

to have something in common. Perhaps it is due

to the wind and the water, perhaps the marginal

geographical position. What leads to this observation

is that in these two regions there are

examples of architecture and landscape architecture

where the buildings and the landscape

are the prerequisites for each other, where

passages, transitions and architectural promenades

have a particular significance.

Alvaro Siza’s beach pools at Porto, Leca de

Palmeira (1961) and Carlo Scarpa’s Palazzo

Querini Stampalia in Venice (1961) possess

some of the same qualities as Alvar Aalto’s

Muuratsalo summer house (1953), Jørgen Bo,

Wilhelm Wohlert and Agnete Petersens’

Louisiana (1958), Jørn Utzon’s Roman houses

18 ’SCAPE 1 / 2006 1 / 2006 ’SCAPE 19

Photo: Hisao Suzuki

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