open e-lecture: how to design a landscape machine


Teaching Landscape Architecture series – teachers for teachers

Monday evening  27.4.2015

18:00-19:30 CET Moderation by Elke MERTENS & Nilgul KARADENIZ Lecturer: Paul Roncken

eLecture Room

Title: How to design a landscape machine This lecture is about the design of productive landscapes. If designed well, landscapes can purify the air, detoxify the soil and raise the water quality of both surface water and underground water reserves. Well-designed landscapes also supply the necessary terrain for plants, mammals, birds and insects to find nurture and shelter and use migration routes. At the same time, these thriving natural landscapes can provide food and other resources that are in daily demand. The intricate performance of landscapes is not merely beautiful and a general commodity, it entails a sublime ambition and is in need of design. By the design concept of the Landscape Machine a provocative and somewhat paradoxical idea is introduced. The central idea is to offer a practical but nonetheless visionary answer to the growing concern of large scale landscape development. The increasing trend of urbanisation will not cease being dependent upon a range of services provided by the performance of landscapes. At the same time the often idealized urban-rural duality is in need of a serious update. While many designers and urban developers focus on building innovation and smaller production cycles, the landscape machine design laboratory ( claims that such developments will be only marginally effective. The majority of the earths landmass will not be urbanized and remain landscape or inhabitable wilderness. There is an improved idea needed to combine ecological thinking and systemic technology to develop landscapes that can be both productive and natural reserves. By a combined intellec tual and artistic effort, the concept of the landscape machine includes decades of ecological understanding, challenging aesthetic experiences, practical environmental concerns and replenishable technological advancements.

– the concept of the landscape machine will be explained

– a few design examples will be explained

– the method to design such a complex and large scale intervention is discussed (interactive)

Paul Roncken (1972) is an assistant professor at the landscape architecture department, Wageningen University, the Netherlands. You can read more of his ideas and work at and via LE:NOTRE – Calendar.

2 thoughts on “open e-lecture: how to design a landscape machine

  1. I’ve always thought that productivity was ‘baked in’ the landscape and the wilderness. So…is this a mental exercise or is all my science education based upon false premise of ‘baked in’ recycling productivity in oxygen, carbon and water? Oh well, there they go again, changing the playing field. 😉

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