Is this the landscape of future architecture?

Should one call this architecture or landscape architecture or neither or both? It is a competition entry for 2010 Competition Entry for International Business Center with an Intercontinental Hotel in Yerevan. The designer explains: ‘Instead of a towering Iconic image, disconnected from historic, horizontal Yerevan, Lace Hill stitches the adjacent city and landscape together to support a holistic, ultra-green lifestyle, somewhere between rural hillside living and dense cultured urbanity’. The images are good but, if I were one of the judges, I would want to see some cross-sections and floor plans before awarding a prize.

image courtesy Forrest Fulton

9 thoughts on “Is this the landscape of future architecture?

  1. Christine

    Yes (in part). There will be many new developments in the fields of architecture and landscape architecture. Lace Hill is a very large green roof ‘complex'(building)…with perhaps more landscape than architecture in its surface resolution.

    Questions to ask:
    1. What needs to be considered in the contextualisation of the building with its surroundings? 2. What needs to be considered compositionally?
    3. What needs to be considered in the articulation of the building envelope?
    4. What needs to be considered in the resolution of the building envelope?

    Many of these questions can only be answered by reference to landscape strategy.

    However, projects like this will most probably become more common as landscape architects and architects work together to achieve sustainable development.

  2. Tom Turner Post author

    I hope you are right. I work in a school which runs courses in both architecture and landscape architecture. The staff would like the disciplines to cooperate more than they do. The difficulties are technical (rooming, timetabling, staffing etc) rather than academic, artistic or intellectual. Thinking of projects like Lace Hill, and of the software skills they require, we also started a programme in 3D digital design (for animators etc). It works with landscape architecture, a little, but not with architecture. I think there general factors at work in society which make specialization easy and integration/generalization difficult – and I suspect these factors are global as well as local.

  3. Christine

    This is probably true….but we can always take heart at the famous landscape/architect collaborations of the past. And even revel in charting a new path!

    Here is another example where the path of landscape encompasses the architecture quite literally! [ ]

  4. Tom Turner Post author

    Since individuals and professionals will always have a tendency to selfishness, not to mention narrow-mindedness, the demand for co-operation needs to come from the public.

  5. Christine

    Do you think so? Perhaps the difficulty lies in the need for both participants to maintain an individual and distinct identity while being able to work with each other (other professions)in ways that are generative:

    “Generative ideas emerge from joint thinking, from significant conversations, and from sustained, and shared struggles to achieve new insights by partners in thought.”p3
    (Vera John-Steiner Creative Collaboration 2000)

  6. Rob

    I have a different concern. New rendering technologies have allowed such fantasies to become almost common, so architects and landscape architects (especially students) seem to believe these places actually exist. But there are challenging design and maintenance issues to resolve and no one knows what the actual operational reality of such a space will be. Wild living roofs (like the California Academy of Sciences) are rather delicate and cannot sustain foot traffic. So enough with these pretty pictures! Start building reasonably sized prototypes and discovering the real issues.

  7. Rob

    And my comments were not intended to stifle dreaming.
    But these dreams have become so common place in magazines and on the web that it becomes a disservice to the students who appear to believe them real. Get away from the computer lab and go build something to test.
    Let us find out if they can become real and what it will take. That can make for even better dreams!

  8. Tom Turner Post author

    I am favour of both approaches. We should encourage dreams and we should put more emphasis on buildability. And we need a third approach: the environmental assessment of new building proposals to measure a range of factors – which will lead the developers to decide that green roofs/walls/etc is the the best approach to complying with the regulations. ‘Planetry safety’ is joining fire safety, structural safety etc as a necessary public good.


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