topos 92

Landscape Identity
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Topos 92 – Landscape Identity

On the one hand identification with a landscape, with one’s surroundings, requires a common history, common cultural roots and a similar perception of and interaction with this history. On the other hand it deals with individual memories, stories and experiences. This issue investigates landscape and identity as viewed from a variety of perspectives. It introduces thoughts about a new philosophy of landscape, the search for new identities for urban areas, design interventions on existing sites, the interconnections between literature and landscape, the handling of memories in post-war landscapes and stories of the land in indigenous cultures – to name but a few of the topics in Topos 92. 


Peter Zöch
On Identity
Small, subtle interventions in the landscape can direct our views and draw attention to special features within the landscape. The photograph is of the Vedahaugane Lookout in Aurlandsfjellet, designed by LJB architecture and landscape. It is from Ken Schluchtmann’s book “Architecture and Landscape in Norway”, which has magnificent photographs of projects along the National Tourist Routes of Norway. The book is published by Hatje Cantz of Ostfildern, Germany. 

Kathryn Moore
A New Look at Landscape
Landscape can be described in many ways, for example, its ecological diversity, botanical or cultural significance. But it is always more than its constituent parts. For future challenges we need to formulate a new philosophy of landscape that considers identity at its core.

Jerry Van Eyck
Identity is not Imitation
The ability to conjure an emotional connection to the landscape and to a particular experience is the most powerful tool landscape architects have. The ongoing design and construction of a new public realm along the famous Las Vegas strip is establishing a vocabulary that is authentic to Las Vegas.

Lola Sheppard, Mason White
Practiced Arctic Landscapes
For many indigenous peoples, including Inuit, the land is not something observed, but rather lived – it is the source of food, the place of inhabitation and traditional camps, the home of trails. Planning and design in northern Canadian regions therefore must be creative and tactical. It needs to provoke thinking about social, cultural and economic networks.

Ursula Kellner
Landscape Strengthens History
The Lorsch abbey World heritage site at the foot of the Bergstraße in southern Hesse, Germany, has been given a new conceptual framework that makes the remnants of the complex perceptible again. Local residents have overcome their initial skepticism and the new tourist attraction is now accepted as part of the town.

Susann Ahn
The Renaissance of Nakta Mountain
As the country’s prosperity slowly increased after the Korean War, South Korea began to develop a design vocabulary based on its own traditions and culture. Although this process is not yet complete, Naksan Park in Seoul is an obvious example of this development. The competition for Yongsan National Park underlines this trend.
Jutta KehrerLandscapes of ImaginationFour impressive luxury resorts present different ways towards responsible resort design. Yet, all not only achieve to protect the existing natural environment but to magnify its presence and identity by making each landscape become an essential part of the resorts’ narrative and guest experience.

Scott Jennings Melbourne
Finding the Heart of Landscape in Eastern Tibet
Nangchen, Eastern Tibet, has long been central to the Drukpa Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism and Chakchen Ling Monastery is a growing institution. A development framework for such a notable place needs to keep the impact on the site minimal and respect the identity of the landscape.

Ricky Ray Ricardo
Subtle Interventions in an Ancient Place
The MacKenzie Falls Gorge trail in Grampians National Park, Australia, introduces a sequence of bold yet highly site-specific additions into a spectacular natural landscape.

Robin Winogrond
Magical Places in the Forest
Wildwood Plaza in the Swiss city of Uster allows visitors to experience the images and atmosphere of the forest.

Inge Dahlman
Path into the Perpetual Ice
Climate Park 2469 in the Norwegian mountains of Jotunheimen takes its visitors through climate history and several thousand years of hunting and trapping.

Craig Dykers
The Mechanics of Being
The position of our bodies affects how we react to a place. The mechanics of and the forces on our bodies in motion inform meaningful design and how we perceive the identity of a place.

Jan de Graaf, Robert Schütte
Difficult Landscapes
In 1915, the soldier Alexander Douglas Gillespie, then embroiled in the trench warfare on the western front of world war I, wrote a letter to his former schoolmaster. Once the war is over, he proposed, one might transform the stark no-man’s land into a wide avenue of trees. Then all the men, women and children of Europe could make a pilgrimage along this via sacra, 750 kilometers long. Gillespie aimed to transform a war site into a landscape of peace.

Gareth Doherty
Literature Informs Landscape
Literature helps us see the world better and learn about the landscapes in which we live and work, and which we visit, and indeed landscapes we might never visit. Literature reveals aspects of landscape’s identity and informs us about these identities. And landscape helps us to understand literature.

Greg Grabasch, Bruno Marques
Stories of the Land
Landscape identity and indigenous cultures of Australia and Aotearo, New Zealand

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