Jan 2018, Volume 5 Issue 6

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    Kongjian YU
  • papers
    Xiaodong MU

    With an intention to criticize the poor development of criticism in the discipline of Landscape Architecture, this paper will discuss six aspects of this topic: some theoretical speculations on landscape and criticism, historical investigations on its deficiency, a simulative panel of concrete landscape design criticism, various landscape criticism in different fields, three operations of criticism on landscape design, and the role what critics ought to play in this profession. The paper attempts to build a context that helps enhance professionals’ understanding of landscape criticism, which has been neglected in Landscape Architecture for decades, arguing that the interaction between landscape and criticism might stimulate the cultural imaginations of landscape, increase the social effect by landscape spaces, and partly promote the practical level of Landscape Architecture.

  • papers
    Zhifang WANG, Dihua LI, Ling YANG, Jiamin MENG, Yan ZHAO

    With the acceleration of urbanization rate over 50%, the initiative of Ecological Restoration and Urban Regeneration tends to be the focus of future planning and design in China. However, how to identify where and what to be regenerated is challenging. This paper calls for the integration of ecosystem disservice (EDS) research into urban problem diagnosis. Ecosystem disservice is raised up in opposite to ecosystem services, referring to ecosystem’s uncomfortable or negative influences to humans. The investigation of EDS should distinguish causes (natural factors and human intervention), influenced status (actual disservices and latent disservices), and influenced level (relative disservices and absolute disservices). Using EDS as a diagnosing framework, cities could systematically analyze key issues and hotspots, summarize the checklist of disservices, and utilize varied strategies for solutions including enhancing services, mitigating disservices and tradeoff between services and disservices.

  • Views & Criticisms
    Julia CZERNIAK

    In this article, Professor Julia Czerniak shares her opinions and experiences on landscape design criticism. Generally, she writes three types of criticism, including setting up disciplinary frameworks to examine designer’s drawings or built artifacts, writing through design projects to think about design at large, and writing to project design into a space of less constraint. From her point of view, writing criticism is to invoke valuable disciplinary knowledge. Professor Czerniak will further focus on curating an exhibition and publishing a special issue to explore more possibilities in landscape design criticism.

  • Views & Criticisms
    Joan Iverson NASSAUER

    This interview focuses on landscape’s role of being a medium. Joan Iverson Nassauer, the interviewee, believes that landscape architects should make designs plausible and care about how landscape influences people’s everyday life since landscape perception matters. Meanwhile, she underscores that maintenance is key to the sustainability of a landscape project. She further argues that both practice and research are important to the discipline of landscape architecture, and design can be part of science. Landscape architects’ capacity of imagination defines the power and uniqueness of the discipline what allows landscape architecture to change social relationships. As a co-editor-in-chief of Landscape and Urban Planning, Nassauer believes that media need to serve more scholars and practitioners and to encourage a broad communication with diverse communication forms.

  • Views & Criticisms
    Qiuye JIN

    This interview centers on the relationship between human and nature, and the philosophy of architectural design and criticism. Qiuye Jin, the interviewee, believes that design criticism needs to reflect a complete life consciousness, which should not rigidly adhere to certain literary forms; a critique expresses the critic’s philosophy and critical thinking based on his / her historical knowledge and own understanding of time. Jin also believes that a good architect can go beyond words, whose design work is visually constructed and conducted, and can speak itself.

  • Views & Criticisms
    Jui-mao HUANG

    Contemporary lifestyles are changing due to influences of globalization, urbanization, and financial crisis. While cities are increasingly crowded and continuously expanding, many rural areas face a crisis of labor shortage and changes of land types, blurring the boundaries between urban and rural areas. Under this background, the scope of community empowerment has been expanded to a larger scale, from one certain community to the whole urban-rural integration to deal with urban problems caused by rural-urban migration. The interviewee, Jui-mao Huang, shared his views on identity, public participation, roles of designers, etc. basing on his 20- year experience of community empowerment. He pointed out that over time, designers’ focus has shifted from creating spaces to meet dwellers’ demands to affecting dwellers’ lifestyles with practices of community empowerment, and to realizing a harmonious living for different community stakeholders.

  • Views & Criticisms
    Weimin ZHUANG

    The concept of Architectural Programming was proposed in the 1950s, but has only guided China’s urbanization since the 1990s. The interviewee, Weimin Zhuang, studied architectural programming for his dissertation and has since published Architectural Programming Guide and Architectural Programming and Design. In recent years, he comes to emphasize that architects need to master the closed-loop process of “programming — design — construction — operation — post-occupancy evaluation — programming.” In September 2017, Zhuang and his co-authors published Post-Occupancy Evaluation in China, and formed the research methodology for “Architectural Programming and Post-Occupancy Evaluation.” For years, Zhuang argues for a “holistic approach” in education to both students and himself, and emphasizes the importance of Chinese architects to meet international professional standards. This article explores how the development of architectural programming, post-occupancy evaluation, and holistic approach has been adopted in China, and reveals reflections and suggestions for the improvement of architectural programming. Finally, Zhuang points out that architects are supposed to build the skills in both evaluation and criticism.

  • Views & Criticisms
    Jianwei LI

    This paper starts with criticizing the design tide of Neo Chinese-style in China’s contemporary landscape design, where it argues that the indiscriminate use of Chinese elements in landscape design has terribly deadened design uniqueness and diversity, and points out that the popularity of Neo Chinese-style mirrors the narrow conservatism prevalent in China’s contemporary design industry. The article also explores the topic of how to celebrate the Chinese culture in contemporary landscape design by reviewing the levels and dimensions of landscape culture and Chinese culture, with an argument that designers ought to have a broader horizon with a greater social responsibility.

  • Views & Criticisms
    Dong ZHANG, Ziying TANG

    The Cloud Paradise is located at the Luxelakes Eco-City, a new urban community in Chengdu that incorporates industrial, commercial, and residential functions. The design team aimed to provide a new park and playground for the neighborhood by creating a natural environment for people to connect with nature. The project is distinct for its efforts to facilitate construction as part of the design process. The recreational facilities at the park were designed in response to children’s behavioral characteristics and development, and for the purpose of encouraging better parent-child relationships.

    The editorial team of Landscape Architecture Frontiers interviewed Dong Zhang and Ziying Tang, designers of the Cloud Paradise to better understand their ideas on issues related to the theme, design concepts, the relationship between design and construction, and the influence of landscape criticism on the design process.

  • Views & Criticisms
    Bjarke INGELS, Jeremy Alain SIEGEL, Simon DAVID, Autumn VISCONTI, Nandi LU

    As a response to the issues of hurricane attack and sea level rise, the BIG U imagines a new future of coastal resiliency and urbanism for Manhattan’s waterfront. The East Side Coastal Resiliency (ESCR) project is the first phase of this huge project, showing how flood protection infrastructure could have more social effects. This radical urban transformation not only responds to the specific needs of communities today, but also remains flexible enough to develop over time, as urban conditions continue to change. ESCR gets designers, communities, and city agencies united, and creates a diversified city coastal landscape with a toolbox of materials and details that are typical of the city’s past. In this process, landscape is the medium that expresses educational aspects.

  • Views & Criticisms
    Dou ZHANG

    Large population and land shortage bring Shanghai unique challenges on future development.

    Ocean landfill has created more lands at the cost of losing habitats. The harsh conditions of the reclaimed land, however, make them still difficult places to live, even many years after being filled in. Long-term restoration and remediation are needed both along the shoreline and in reclaimed land areas.

    Urban regeneration of developed areas has gained more attention in recent years, as a way to control urban sprawl and preserve agricultural land. Such projects face complex mixture of current needs, historic preservation, constraints from existing infrastructure, land uses, and political issues. Strong design integration helps to enable the success of these projects.

    Lacking public engagement in the decision-making process for public projects often results in political agendas becoming the driving force of the design direction. As this direction can deviate from the best professional solutions, how can landscape architects influence the decision-making process for the better?

    Benni Yu-ling PONG

    The Western District Public Cargo Working Area (WDPCWA) in Hong Kong is an appropriated public space that is “undesigned” and “unplanned” in nature. Yet, it is one of the most popular public spaces among the local residents and has received the extensive coverage by both local and overseas media. The vibrant space has represented a different understanding and aesthetic appreciation on the quality of urban space that is not incorporated in the mainstream design and planning practice and pedagogy.

    This project aims to record and conceptualize the urban phenomenon happened in the WDPCWA and scrutinize human perception on space through ethnographic methodology and visual representation. It intends to explore a methodology to unveil the perceptually-defined qualitative aspects in urban space which are often overlooked in design practice.

    Fionn Byrne

    Visible from space, the Athabasca bituminous sands region of Northern Alberta, Canada, is currently being engineered at a scale equal to or greater than any other human landscape projects. This massive earth moving operation which at first glance could be confused for a regional urban development, has but one single objective: oil.

    Yet we do not see landscape architects engaged in the design and specifically the topographic shaping of these sites of extraction, production, waste, and reclamation. Nor are there many examples of landscape architects contributing smaller scale interventions that acknowledge the human occupation of these sites, their experience and material realities. Thus, ten rest stops are proposed to set in the working industrial landscape of the Athabasca bituminous sands, though they might not be built, to emphasize the importance of remembering that these landscapes already exist, showcasing the contemporary Canadian landscape.