More recently (…), we could observe a new diagram of the human body in relation with its environment. The winning entry of the Phase Shift Park (Taichung) competition by Philippe Rahm architectes and Catherine Mosbach depicts indeed the body, not anymore by its anatomical dimensions but rather by its biological affections by the environment. Heat, humidity and pollution, as three factors having physiological consequences on the body, are mapped and exploited in the creation of the park proposition.

Léopold Lambert, A subversive approach to the ideal normalized body (2012)






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Catherine Mosbach, Phase Shift Taichung Park (2011)



When we neglect natural processes in city design, we not only risk the intensification of natural hazard and the degradation of natural resources, we also forfeit a sense of connection to a larger whole beyond ourselves.

Anne Whiston Spirn, The Granite Garden (1988)

blade-runner-los-angeles blade-runner-flyby blade-runner-1484582.jpgBlade_Runner  Blade Runner 12 web-2

Ridley Scott, Blade Runner (1982)



Particular conception of design processes; derived from Claude Levi-Strauss’s analysis of Edgard Allan Poe’s short story of two brothers who suffered a shipwreck caused by a whirpool. During the ‘Descent into the Maelström’, one brother, in awe of his immediate circumstances, is overcome with fear and drowns (engagement); the other brother detaches himself from reality, ensuring his survival by clinging to a floating drum (distance).

(Gunther Vogt cit. Alice Foxley (ed.), Distance and Engagement (2010)



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Gunther Vogt, Novartis Campus (2011) (Christian Vogt photos)



The Landscape comes at us from every direction. It comes at us in every way, It rushes at our eyes, hurtling toward the retina… at the speed of the light. It batters at our ears, rattling down our ear canal… at the speed of sound. Inhale, and within a quartes of a second the landscape is at our olfactory bulb. Sometimes we have the feeling that the landscape is … out there, but it is not; it is in our eyes and ears, up our nose and down our throat. It rubs our feet and caresses our cheeks. When things are just right, it plays with our hair, tickles the back of our neck, sends shiversrunning up and down our spine. It is not out there anywhere; it is rigth here, in our face.

Denis Wood, The Spell of the Land (1995)


Andrei Tarkovsky, Stalker (1979)



Halprin_Score_Seminary_South_Foutain  halprin halprin secuencia In order to design for movement a whole new system of conceptualizing most be undertaken. Our present systems of design and planning are inevitabily limited by our techniques of conceptulizing and our methods of symbolizing ideas. We know only how to delineate static objects, and so is all we do.

Lawrence Halprin, Cities (1963)



When I am enchanted with a landscape, I know very well that it is not I who create it, but I also know that without me the relations which are established before my eyes among the trees, the foliage, the earth, and the grass would not exist at all. I know that I can give no reason for the appearance of finality which I discover in the assortment of hues and in the harmony of the forms and movements created by the wind. Yet, it exists; there it is before my eyes, and I can make something more out of what is already there. But even if I believe in God, I cannot establish any passage, unless it be purely verbal, between the divine, universal solicitude and the particular spectacle which I am considering. To say that He made the landscape in order to charm me or that He made me the kind of person who is pleased by it is to take a question for an answer. Is the marriage of this blue and that green deliberate? How can I know? The idea of a universal providence is no guarantee of any particular intention, especially in the case under consideration, since the green of the grass is explained by biological laws, specific constants, and geographical determinism, while the reason for the blue of the water is accounted for by the depth of the river, the nature of the soil and the swiftness of the current. The assorting of the shades, if it is willed, can only be something thrown into the bargain; it is the meeting of two causal series, that is to say, at first sight, a fact of chance. At best, the finality remains problematic. All the relations we establish remain hypotheses; no end is proposed to us in the manner of an imperative, since none is expressly revealed as having been willed by a creator. Thus, our freedom is never called forth by natural beauty. Or rather, there is an appearance of order in the whole which includes the foliage, the forms, and the movements, hence, the illusion of a calling forth which seems to solicit this freedom and which disappears immediately when one looks at it. Hardly have we begun to run our eyes over this arrangement, than the appeal disappears; we remain alone, free to tie up one colour with another or with a third, to set up a relationship between the tree and the water or the tree and the sky, or the tree, the water and the sky. My freedom becomes caprice. To the extent that I establish new relationships, I remove myself further from the illusory objectivity which solicits me. I muse about certain motifs which are vaguely outlined by the things; the natural reality is no longer anything but a pretext for musing. Or, in that case, because I have deeply regretted that this arrangement which was momentarily perceived was not offered to me by somebody and consequently is not real, the result is that I fix my dream, that I transpose it to canvas or in writing. Thus, I interpose myself between the finality without end which appears in the natural spectacles and the gaze of other men. I transmit it to them. It becomes human by this transmission. Art here is a ceremony of the gift and the gift alone brings about the metamorphosis.

Jean-Paul Sartre, What is Literature? (1950)


Piet Mondrian, Geinrust Farm in Watery Landscape (1905)