Transient Ecologies: The Landscape of Massive Temporary Dwelling

It is commonplace to think of our time as one of constant mobility, a concept that has been attached to geopolitical, cultural, and social definitions, as well as a guiding principle of individual and collective identities. Worldwide there are many large-scale, voluntary, and non-permanent population displacement events associated to religion, celebrations, work, or vacations; and many others that are forced, as in prisoner or refugee camps, informal settlements, etc. In all of them new ecologies emerge through the input and flow of foreign currencies, objects, consumer goods, all kinds of merchandise, lifestyles, personalities, imaginaries… and all of them have an impact in both the physical (material) and the perceived landscape, by altering its structures, organizations, and dynamics. These ephemeral relationships are constantly emerging and growing, questioning in the process the illusions of balance, permanence, and stability in landscape.

This Studio will deal with the reconfigurations produced by massive temporary settlements in order to reconsider the idea of the ephemeral in landscape conceptualization.

We will focus upon developing skills and creative sensibilities with regard to project design in a large site subject to temporary massive occupation. Specifically, students will develop landscape architecture projects for La Pampilla, which is both the name of the site and a 3 day-long yearly event upon which over 300.000 people take over 500,000 acres of open land in the city of Coquimbo to celebrate Chile’s independence.

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.

The objectives of the studio will be 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.