Evoking Nature: Architecture as Landscape on the Emerald Necklace

Recent artistic and architectural production has seen works which evoke natural phenomenon. These are projects producing atmospheric, geological, topographical or bio-topical conditions. Here nature is not so much imitated as simulated in highly artificial constructs where supporting technology is equally essential. These are environments that favor an experiential or a subjective understanding of nature/ landscape in relationship to a viewer. We are considering this question of nature centrally as an architectural problem in two primary ways. How can natural phenomenon be understood as an interiorized/ spatial condition (architecture as landscape)? Two: how can this approach sustain and be informed by program (leisure, sport, scientific/ informative, cultural or event space as examples)? The Dialectical Landscape:Projects will be sited within Frederick Law Olmsted\’s Emerald Necklace, a landscape system integrated into Boston extending from the Boston Common to Franklin Park. Begun in the late 19th century much of this territory Olmsted refused to consider as park but rather as a system of sanitary and water management infrastructure engineering. At the same time he recognized their potential as sites for recreation and leisure. This meandering parkscape weaves through Boston changing in scale and organization producing a series of waterways and open greens. For consideration is Olmstead\’s idea of the picturesque and how that informs his project in relationship to civil engineering. Student site/ projects will be located within the boundaries of this territory. Projects inserted into this landscape will consider the dialectic between the existing and new condition operating at the scale of (a) building(s).Outtakes: In beginning this semester\’s work 2 landscapes will be considered. Parallel research will consider Frederick Law Olmsted\’s Emerald Necklace as is and in relationship to it\’s historical status with the goal of locating a project within these territories. Secondly an external landscape will be considered acting as an external source to produce a formal, spatial and tactile/ material catalogue for informing the later semester work. These 2 landscapes should be researched analytically with an emphasis on their spatial/ organizational structures. This work will form the basis for the semester leading to programmed and sited building projects.Initial research will identify external natural phenomenon as outtakes. This research should consider these outtakes and their potential for architectural effect including (but not limited to) spatializing, tactile/ material, scale, and potential relationship to the body. Model typologies could include (but not limited to) glaciers, canyons, forests, crevasses, oasises, ponds, cliffs, sand dunes, swamps, ice fields, etc.Camouflage: A final question will be the nature of how both landscapes are integrated within each other and how those two systems co-exist. Pedagogic Objectives:The objective of the studio is for individual students to demonstrate an understanding (through research + observation) of the specifics of the problem outlined above and form responses which both register and transform the material they are confronted with. The response to topic issues will be mediated by individual student research in the form of a project thesis. A second objective is for students to identify specific representational strategies tailored to elaborate their projects.Completion Requirements:Initial work leading to the mid-term will include conceptual studies emphasizing material, model and sectional model work as well as representational research. Post mid-term work will be complemented by three and two dimensional drawing or as required.