In Search of Geographical Re-enchantment [M1]

In Search of Geographical Re-enchantment: landscape interventions between atmosphere, function + experience

Both a Swiss and global phenomena, landscapes today are increasingly regarded as a resource serving a slew of lobbies such as agriculture, speculation, infrastructure, ecology, or recreation, each with a voice of its own except one – the landscape itself. Particularly on the urban periphery landscape fragments are rapidly transforming into well-functioning yet sterile places of constructed landscape imagery and semi-natural nature. Here terms such as atmosphere, landscape, nature, identity or sense of place put us as designers to the test. In this studio you will explore the potential of such seemingly faceless landscape spaces to offer us a powerful, site specific experience, to imbue them with what British writer Alistair Bonnet describes as a deeply needed geographical re-enchantment of our contemporary environment. What means do we have as designers to requalify residual landscape spaces through innovative design? 

Site: On the urban edge of Zurich, the site is a newly constructed park built upon a strange landscape fragment at the front door of the Zurich Airport and encircled by the enormous, new multi-use complex, The Circle, by Architect Riken Yamamoto. The park is a glacial moraine hill consisting of layers of natural, artificial and artificially placed natural transformations. It represents a new form of urban nature, of landscape and built interventions, to be used daily by tens of thousands of airport employees, visitors and local residents. 

Task: To create a personal reading and interpretation of the site, formulate clear theses about the site, and develop your own personal design language for an innovative, site-specific design intervention. We will practice developing conceptual designs and transforming them into powerful spatial experiences of site. The intervention you choose can take one of various directions: 1. a built structure of architecture, landscape or system of furniture, 2. use landscape means such as topography, paths, vegetation, or urban forestry, 3. the development of a spatial, ecological or user concept for the entire site.

Structure: four investigations structure the module: 1. analysis of a similar site in your homeland, 2. site  analysis and interpretation, 3. design intervention, 4. visual / verbal communication of the site and intervention.

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