Date: 27. 4. 1997, 17:49
To: ANTHRO-L@LISTSERV.ACSU.BUFFALO.EDU
From: negenter@worldcom.ch (Nold Egenter)
Subject: LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE AND THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF SPACE
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LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE AND THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF SPACE


There is ample evidence today that architectural and urbanistic modernism had tremendous impacts of disorientation on the 'laic' population, particularly in historical cultural domains, because it introduced the technological concept of homogenous space (borrowed from modern physics and astronomy) into its pre-modern urban and rural environments. Modern architects and urbanists were not conscious of this important anthropological dimension of their work because their views were limited on technology and aesthetics. Only gradually we have become aware of this cultural dimension of architecture and urbanism through anthropological research into the human and cultural conditions of space. -> O.F. Bollnow:

Now Landscape architecture potentially spreads this conflict of the technological and cultural dimensions of space from the merely vertical and tectonic to the horizontal dimension.

If 'landscape architecture' is related to cultural research as in the case of various groups like 'Built Form and Culture-Studies (USA), Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA, USA), People and Physical Environment Research (PAPER, Australia and New-Zealand), this may be a chance to discover and develop new 'cultural' principles of design, which may have positive impacts also on architecture and urbanism.

But there is also a great danger that the same disastrously reductionistic drawing-board-graphism we know from modern architecture and urbanism is now increasingly projected onto the horizontal extension of the 'built environment'. What I have seen some time ago at a meeting* on 'architecture and gardens' strongly supports these fears.

It might be important to start a discussion on this basic theme of any design related to private or public spaces.

-------------

* In the meantime the results of this meeting are published (in French): Nadia & Jean-Michel Hoyet (ed.): Rencontres Architecture et Jardins, Actes; 1996, Chateau des Forgers, Pesmes (Haute-Saone), France; ISBN 2.911911.00.8 (~17.- US$)


From: daryl@freenet.edmonton.ab.ca
Date: Mon, 28 Apr 1997 02:54:33 -0600
To: negenter@worldcom.ch
Subject: Re: LANDSCAPE DESIGN AND ANTHROPOLOGY OF SPACE
Newsgroups: sci.anthropology
Organization: Edmonton FreeNet, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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negenter:

The below is quite intriguing, but as I, and probably most of the NG readers, have no easy access to the periodical mentioned, could you please inform me/us as to what it was about the Land. Arch. developments that disturbed you?

As it is, I have only a vague impression of homogeneity and uniformity in layout. Perhaps a comparison with classical Japanese garden design would illuminate.

Thanks in advance.

daryl@freenet.edmonton.ab.ca

In article <33639BF0.4AB6@worldcom.ch> you wrote:

: But there is also a great danger that the same disastrously
: reductionistic drawing-board-graphism we know from modern architecture
: and urbanism is now increasingly projected onto the horizontal extension
: of the 'built environment'. What I have seen  some time ago at a 
: meeting* on 'architecture and gardens' strongly supports these fears. 
: - Projects realised in Japan by Peter Walker and Shunsaku Miyagi
: - Gardens designed in France by Philippe Niez and Alexandra Schmidt
: (Mirmande,    Seuilly)
: - Franco Zagari's Italian garden in Osaka, or his design for Piazza
: Matteotti in Catanzaro.

: It might be important to start a discussion on this basic theme of any
 : design related to private or public spaces.
: -------------
: * In the meantime the results of this meeting are published (in French):
: Nadia & Jean-Michel Hoyet (ed.): Rencontres Architecture et Jardins,
: Actes; 1996, Chateau des Forgers, Pesmes (Haute-Saone), France 
: ISBN 2.911911.00.8 (~17.- US$)
--
. . . daryl . . .
Lost in c'Space . . .


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Date: Mon, 28 Apr 1997 12:24:07 -0700
Reply-To: Kristin Ackerson
Sender: General Anthropology Bulletin Board
From: Kristin Ackerson
Subject: Re: LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE AND THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF SPACE
Comments: To: Nancy Vuckovic 60-6734
To: ANTHRO-L@LISTSERV.ACSU.BUFFALO.EDU


At 05:34 PM 28/04/97 +0000, Nancy Vuckovic 60-6734 wrote:

>Hi!
>
>There may be some intersting information, in between the blah blahs.
>
>xoxo
>N.
>

Nancy,
Maybe I missed it, but where do I find the information to which you refer? I am very interested in the anthropology of space, especially as it applies to community.

Thanks,

Kristin


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Date: Mon, 28 Apr 1997 20:13:56 +0000
Reply-To: Nancy Vuckovic 60-6734
Sender: General Anthropology Bulletin Board
From: Nancy Vuckovic 60-6734
Subject: Re: LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE AND THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF SPACE
Comments: To: Kristin Ackerson
To: ANTHRO-L@LISTSERV.ACSU.BUFFALO.EDU


My apologies. This was not meant for general consumption.

It should have been a forwarded message to a non-anthropologist architect friend who sometimes fails to understands what an anthropological perspective (i.e., the "blah blahs"). He's a good egg, though, hence the xoxoxo.


To: Nancy Vuckovic 60-6734
From: negenter@worldcom.ch (Nold Egenter)
Subject: Re: LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE AND THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF SPACE
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You wrote:

>My apologies.  This was not meant for general consumption.
>
>It  should have been a forwarded message to a non-anthropologist architect
>friend who sometimes fails to understands what an anthropological perspective
>(i.e., the "blah blahs").  He's a good egg, though, hence the xoxoxo.
I was surprised by your reaction on my list message! Now its all right.

Best wishes

Nold Egenter

P.S. What is xoxoxo?


To: daryl@freenet.edmonton.ab.ca
From: negenter@worldcom.ch (Nold Egenter)
Subject: Re: LANDSCAPE DESIGN AND ANTHROPOLOGY OF SPACE
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daryl

thank you for your message below. I agree that the problem is not an easy one, but once you have realised it, you will be amazed to what extent designers of all subdomains (landscape, architecture, urbanism) are ignorant about one of their absolutely basic tools: space.

In this context our homepage essentially presents results of about 25 years of research into the anthropology of space and architecture. In regard to space this research was done essentially in Asian as well as in Euro-Mediterranean cultures and it revealed that there are two basic concepts of space

1) A humane concept closely related to human perception and its sensory dialogue with the environment.

2) The modern concept of an infinite and homogenous void of universal extension

The modern concept developed essentially since the 14th century in Europe. It is initially related with the great names in astronomy (Copernic, Tycho Brahe, Giordano Bruno, Galileo Galilei, Kepler, Isaac Newton). It was increasingly confirmed by the great global discoveries and thus became part of our modern worldview. Baroque architecture clearly shows early impacts with its ceilings opening towards the skies. Its impacts on culture however became fundamental with early industrialisation. Traditional as well as invented objects were geometrically designed in two dimensions then produced 3-dimensionally in high quantities with adequate processes. With modernism architecture integrated these methods introducing also ahistorical functionalism from technology.

In contrast to this, the humane concept of space is not universal, at the contrary, it is basically environmental. But, since human conditions in regard to environmental space were similar one can consider it of global value. But what is essential about the distinction: the humane concept of space is structured entirely different from homogenous space. 1. It is not abstracted from materia and quality and 2. It combines categorially opposed parts to harmonious units. The following files in our site may describe this other type of space more in detail:

http://home.worldcom.ch:80/~negenter/012BollnowE1.html
http://home.worldcom.ch:80/~negenter/061aFramewrkTX_E1.html
http://home.worldcom.ch:80/~negenter/410aJapHouseIntro1.html
http://home.worldcom.ch:80/~negenter/400JapGardHTx1.html

Now, if we try to geographically and culturo-historically localise the use of the space-type 1), we find a lot of indications that it was used in ALL premodern cultures of the world. We find it in Asia in historical cities as well as in rural domains, we find it in Euro-Mediterranean cultures ancient and up to premodern times. Elements of buildings like gates, doors, facades, different types of buildings like houses, palaces, sanctuaries, temples, as well as settlements, towns and cities were all designed according to this type of forming complementary units. One can even go so far to say that it had basic and formative impacts on human culture. Since space is interwoven with all cultural expressions, it can be said that this type of space was intrinsically interwoven with all aspects of culture.

With this anthropological assumption we might be able to better understand what happened with modernism. It introduced an entirely different space concept which was conceived to exist in itself - without man - and which injected categories valuable in the universe. At the beginnin many admired modernism, it was so entirely new and offered tremendous new possiblities. As long as modernism was punctual, its impacts were not felt. But in the sixties, the huge cancerous modern agglomerations around historical cities were strongly questioned. Particularly in Germany where the historical substance had been wiped out by the war and shortly after - in the proces of 'Wiederaufbau' - had been replaced by modern architecture. Suddenly there were Mies-slab cities all over! The reaction was very strong. It lead to what was called the 'crisis of modern architecture' at the end 60ies and at the beginning of the 70ies. It was generally realised: something was wrong with modernism. But the problems were quickly covered up by the art historians who declared the 'death of modernism', brought in their own premodern terminology, and declared postmodernism as a new style.

In this superficial process of theory-forming (pure fundamentalism: Vitruvius was dug out again!) the real problems got covered up: the conflict of space concepts.

Man had only be considered very marginally by architecture from his bodily measurements and other functional aspects. But man - in relation to architecture and urban form - is more than just that. He lives with memories. And, paradoxically architecture and urban form support this capacity. Historical buildings may last hundreds - or even many thousand times the short period of man's own life.

And this creates the conflict we are speaking about. Modernism could never compete with historical architecture. It remained 'outisde' the historical cities which were preserved. And in these agglomerations and satellites it was felt chaotic, without humane dimensions. The real reason was not recognised.

If we assume however that modernism imposed a universal concept of space on a primary one which had developped over hundreds of thousands of years in the cultural domain, we might understand why the 1:1 scale experiment of modernism went wrong. It was an attack on something basic for humans: orientation in space.

Only one example: In regard to space (access-place-scheme), or as an information system, the premodern facade, whether of a gothic cathedral, a Renaissance palace or a simple row house in any premodern urban district was not basically different from the door of a palaeolithic hunter's hut. It was a threshold encoded with all the semantic, symbolic, social, political implications related to these categories. When modernism started to turn the entrails of a building to its outside, this important indicator got lost. The codes got lost. Composition of a facade was not just an antiquated term of French Academy, but a very complex system of codes which allowed instant decoding on the spot.

It is in this wider framework of space I got shocked about seeing these 'Landscape designs' at the meeting mentioned in my first letter. It is true, one can certainly relate their geometric 'drawing board graphism' to Renaissance garden architecture, or the gardens of French absolutism.

On the other hand, in the framework of the outlined anthropological view, these geometrically planted 'pieces of nature' can also frighten someone who realises what the above transitional processes from environmental to universal space organisation impose on on the daily life of the 'laic' inhabitant.

Best regards,

Nold Egenter

>negenter:
>     The below is quite intriguing, but as I, and probably most of the NG
>readers, have no easy access to the periodical mentioned, could you please
>inform me/us as to what it was about the Land. Arch. developments that
>disturbed you?
>     As it is, I have only a vague impression of homogeneity and
>uniformity in layout. Perhaps a comparison with classical Japanese garden
>design would illuminate.
>     Thanks in advance.
>daryl@freenet.edmonton.ab.ca
>
> In article <33639BF0.4AB6@worldcom.ch> you wrote:
>
>: But there is also a great danger that the same disastrously
>: reductionistic drawing-board-graphism we know from modern architecture
>: and urbanism is now increasingly projected onto the horizontal extension
>: of the 'built environment'. What I have seen  some time ago at a 
>: meeting* on 'architecture and gardens' strongly supports these fears. 
>: - Projects realised in Japan by Peter Walker and Shunsaku Miyagi
>: - Gardens designed in France by Philippe Niez and Alexandra Schmidt
>: (Mirmande,    Seuilly)
>: - Franco Zagari's Italian garden in Osaka, or his design for Piazza
>: Matteotti in Catanzaro.
>
>: It might be important to start a discussion on this basic theme of any
> : design related to private or public spaces.
>: -------------
>: * In the meantime the results of this meeting are published (in French):
>: Nadia & Jean-Michel Hoyet (ed.): Rencontres Architecture et Jardins,
>: Actes; 1996, Chateau des Forgers, Pesmes (Haute-Saone), France 
>: ISBN 2.911911.00.8 (~17.- US$)
>
>--
>                                            . . . daryl . . .
>                                          Lost in c'Space . . . 

See our INTERNET-Homepage: http://home.worldcom.ch/~negenter

Nold Egenter
DOFSBT, Chorgasse 19
CH-8001 Zuerich, Switzerland
Tel.: +41-1-2516075
Fx: +41-21-3231707
or:
e-mail: negenter@worldcom.ch


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