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)

However, while the Downsview Park does reclaim a form of agency for architecture at the scale of the city, it still leaves open the question he actual citizens. It is in this respect that the Jade Eco Park gives an extraordinary response, challenging the city-as-a-forest paradigm in a radical way. The city-as-a-forest embodies all the contradictions of our relationship with the state of nature, a condition that is seen both as barbarism but also innocence, productive ground but also wild junkspace: Held but also jungle. It is to this jungle that the jade Eco Park reacts by becoming, quite explicitly, a machine: while the visitor is allowed to become fully just an animal body, architecture takes control of the jungle. But Mies’s and Laugier’s ‘jungle’, ultimately, is a narrative trope before anything else: that is to say, a cultural trope, rather than a spatial one. On the contrary, by working on physical reactions, the Jade Eco Park asks the users to recuperate a primordial form of agency: the awareness of one’s own body. In doing so, Rahm and Mosbach’s project stands out as it questions the very use of the word landscape. Landscape, as a term, is inextricably linked to sight – a sense that becomes almost irrelevant in the haptic environment of the jade Eco Park. And, after all, the highest kind of critical agency lies perhaps in the possibility to rethink and redeine the intellectual categories we work with as architects, and as human beings.

Maria Shéhérazade Giudici, How to live in a jungle. The (bio)politics of the park as urban model. (2018)

TAICHUNG taichung3 A-futuristic-new-park-for-Taichung-07 A-futuristic-new-park-for-Taichung-01 6_2013-0808_MasterPlan A_v4-1

Philippe Rahm & Catherine Mosbach, Jade Park, Taichung (2011-2016)