Posts tagged ‘ecological design’

Viewing the Earth from Without or from Within

“Viewing the Earth from Without or from Within” with Nina Edwards Anker, New Geographies 4 (2011), 89-94.

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The first Apollo images of the Earth have produced a perspective enabling humanity to act on Earth and its nature as if it controlled it from “outside.” The recent developments of satellite technologies have had a significant impact on the modes of representations as well as the conceptions of geography and space. Today, the visualization modes of geospatial information, which offer layering, zooming and panning navigation tools that capture world landscapes through vertical perspectives, reinforce the concept of the Earth as an “object.” Furthermore, the integration and superimposition of geographical information strengthen the Universalist ideal of knowledge while reducing it to a scientific and abstract visual database. This new “geography from above” -the home, the city, entire territories, the Earth itself, the Monn, Mars and beyond- redefine our environment, subjectivities and practises. With such tools at hand, architects conceive of the geographic as a possible scale, site of intervention and design approach.

The scale of vision, viewpoint and qualification of space made possible by satellite imagery reframe contemporary debates on design, agency and territory. In volume 4 of New Geographies, we invite sumissions of articles and projects that critically address the relationship of space with such modes of representation. What are the characteristics of such an integrated elevated vision and what geographical knowledge does it bring forth? In this data-space, which information is to be retained as relevant? How is such an analytical space to be subsequently interpreted and experienced? What are the cultural, political and environmental repercussions of a vision celebrated as objective and Universalist? what new global issues and debates do such scales of vision raise and how do such visualizations of the Earth-as-home intesect with concerns of ecology and calls for global awarness?

June 3, 2011 at 2:09 pm Leave a comment

My review of Form follows Libido

Sylvia Lavin, Form Follows Libido: Architecture and Richard Neutra
     Pioneer America Society Transactions, 30 (2007), 79-81.

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June 1, 2011 at 5:46 pm Leave a comment

The Bauhaus of Nature

The Bauhaus of Nature,” Modernism/Modernity, 12:2 (2005), 229-251.

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This article examines the history of architecture based upon ecological principles. The point of departure is the architectural debate in London in the 1930s in which former faculty members of the Bauhaus school engaged with ecologists with regards to the methods of designing in harmony with nature. László Moholy-Nagy, for example, developed a design methodology inspired by the ecologist Raoul H. Francé which sought to copy nature’s workshop. This “bio-technique” (or bionics) became the methodology for his design in London and later for the New Bauhaus school in Chicago. Berthold Lubetkin was inspired by similar ideas in his design of the penguin pool at the London Zoo. The geometric order of the pool reflected promising new mathematical research tools in biology, as well as a social concern for the health and evolutionary survival of the human species. Some of the same concerns were apparent in the visionary ecological design for the film Things to Come (1936) written by H. G. Wells. Inspired by the Bauhaus style of architecture and city planning, the film portrayed an environmentally friendly ecotopia based on the science of human ecology. This article offers a history of architecture inspired by social studies of science and patronage methodology.

May 23, 2011 at 11:55 am Leave a comment

From Bauhaus to Ecohouse: A History of Ecological Design

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Global warming and concerns about sustainability recently have pushed ecological design to the forefront of architectural study and debate. As Peder Anker explains in From Bauhaus to Ecohouse, despite claims of novelty, debates about environmentally sensitive architecture has been ongoing for nearly a century. By exploring key moments of inspiration between designers and ecologists from the Bauhaus projects of the interwar period to the eco-arks of the 1980s, Anker traces the historical intersection of architecture and ecological science and assesses how both remain intertwined philosophically and pragmatically within the still-evolving field of ecological design.

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May 16, 2011 at 3:11 pm


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