LANDSCAPES OF THE VOID: URBAN PROJECTS ON RESIDUAL TOPOGRAPHIES.

Instructor: Danilo Martic

I remember looking at buildings made of stone, and thinking, there has to be an interesting landscape somewhere out there because these stones had to have been taken out of the quarry one block at a time. 
– Edward Burtynsky

The built city has left a deep scar somewhere close; a negative space, a void equivalent to the extension and the proportions of the city, its materiality and its shape, invisible to most of those that inhabit it and that ignore the dynamics that have shaped the land. Immersed in the urban fabric of Santiago there are a number of sites that have been altered by extractive activities, such as gravel mines, large-scale sand pits and small-scale copper mines that remain dissociated from the city. These constantly changing landscapes generate an impact on the surface of the land comparable to that of a crater, and nonetheless, we still don’t know what to do with them once their productive life is over.

This studio’s work will focus upon developing skills and creative sensibilities with regard to project design in altered urban conditions. Specifically, we will develop, through formal design, landscape architecture projects for urban sites that have been affected by extractive activities; sites that have been subject to profound topographical transformations while in turn gravely deteriorating the city that enfolds them. We will specifically consider the ground as the fundamental material with which to operate, designing and modeling it to incorporate programmatic intensities, urban flows, ecological relationships, and occupation densities, with the intention to instigate the development of new urban ecologies.

The objectives of the studio are to advance the disciplinary bases of landscape architectural design and to develop a critical approach toward conceptualization and project design. We will navigate between theory and practice, with the intention of merging theoretical thinking with the practical aspects of design and project development. In this sense, intellect will not be privileged over technical competence, nor pragmatism over imagination. Rather, there will be a complete articulation of the many considerations that arise while developing a landscape project.

Students’ evaluation will be based on expositive meetings, case studies and their application to design problems, practical design exercises, and weekly reviews of their progress.