And if it was…?

And if it was vegetation that ordered urbanization? And if it was the garden that generated the city, what allowed the city work?
Here are the surprising questions that are at the origin of this book, seemingly paradoxical questions as it is difficult to conceive that the organization of complex urban fragments where people live and work can be conditioned in any way by spaces few “serious” as gardens. Is not urbanism at last the art of construct buildings whose organization must allow social life to flourish through an association of housing, shops, and activities of all kinds?
It is observed, however, that plant communities have always been linked to the composition of the city. They are so important that they have influenced his development decisively. Always available, open to all, they offer the plots for dreams and moments of pleasure, a certain luxury after all, that is said to be reserved for the privileged only; they create the image of the city, provide the necessary flexibility for its harmonious development, allow it to adapt to the random …

Caroline Stefulesco, L’Urbanisme Végétal (1993)

Raderschall, Multi-tiered Vine (MFO) Park (2002)


MFO Park’s design hybridizes the dynamism of the vegetal medium with the scale and volumetric effect allowed by the matrix of steel cables. The resultant effects are many, but perhaps the most dramatic is the striking temporal transformations that the vegetated volume embodies and within which visitors are immersed. With each seasonal cycle the structure shifts from a bare steel armature into a spectacular display of foliage and flowers. With each year, the vegetation consumes more of the skeletal steel structure, which slowly recedes into breathing, rustling, color-shifting and growing materiality.

Liat Margolis + Alexander Robinson, Living Systems. InnovatIve MaterIals and technologIes for landscape archItecture (2007)