Art et Architecture

Topos N. 103

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Georg D.W. Callwey GmbH & Co. KG
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2 min.

Trees have long been part of the dominant understanding of our own, man-made world. In the past, they had often been represented in a rather melancholic way, as objects of human ruthlessness, victims of our environmental rampage. This perspective, however, has changed in recent years. Not because the environmental concerns raised since the 1970s have proven overrated. They have not, and climate change is real. And yet, our perspective of these specific verticalities has broadened. And this has to do with social theory. With actor- network theory, introduced by French sociologist Bruno Latour and others, to be precise. One of Latour’s key arguments: We have to rethink agency beyond the human-centric perspective of classical sociology. There is nonhuman agency, too. From this perspective, it makes sense to understand trees as…

1 min.
a palace for the people

Jutting into the middle of an artificial lake, the social housing estate by Ricardo Bofill is often veiled by a curtain of fog. The mist rising from the lake and enveloping towering walls, high arches and bombastic cornices adds to the otherworldliness of the Spanish architect’s monumental structures. They have set the scene for two dystopian science fictions films, Brazil (1984) and more recently the second installment of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay (2015). Sceneries similar to the ones shown in these movies were captured by the photographer duo Schnepp Renou, who are known for their affinity for large settlements. They took this shot for their series “Les Grands Ensembles”. Nicknamed “Versailles du Peuple” (Versailles for the people), the vast housing estate Arcades du Lac (Arcades of the Lake) by Bofill…

3 min.
“there is a palpable sense of relief at not being alone in this fight.”

Men and women are equal, but sometimes men are more equal than women. Men are still more often in the front row, whereas women must fight harder for appreciation. This is a fact in architecture, urban planning, or landscape architecture. But a global movement is underway in our discipline, and activists like Justine Clark from Parlour Australia are standing up and calling for a reshaping of the profession. Across the globe, women and men are organising to push for gender equity in architecture and built-environment disciplines. Feminist activism and advocacy have a long history in these fields, but the last five years have seen a new, ever-growing groundswell of activity – at every level, from institutions and practices to newly formed grassroots groups and informal alliances. It is occurring in scholarly…

2 min.
talent vs. mastermind

TALENT Sofia Petersson Sofia Petersson was born in Karlshamn, Sweden. After studying Textile Design and Landscape Architecture in Vickleby, Malmö and Copenhagen, she came to Berlin in 2002 for an internship at Topotek 1, the company co-founded by Martin Rein-Cano. She worked at Topotek 1 for several years until she founded ANNABAU Architektur und Landschaft GmbH, her own office together with the architect Moritz Schloten, in 2008. 1 CAREER STARTING POINT? When I moved from Malmö to Berlin and started an internship at Topotek 1 – young, open-minded and overwhelmed by the possibilities. 2 INFLUENCED BY That is no conscious choice. The people with whom and the places where I have spent the most time have formed me as an individual and professional. 3 WHY LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE? Initially a compromise between my interest in art and design and…

4 min.
hong kong

In 2047, fifty years after the 1997 handover of British Hong Kong, this semi-autonomous city-state will become fully integrated into Mainland China. Or will it? If this occurs, Hong Kong will join its neighboring city, Shenzhen, to form one of the most populous urban agglomerations in the world. However, many Hong Kong citizens are concerned about preserving their cultural differences and values, their freedom of speech, and their right to vote. The uncertainty about the city-state’s political future has created huge anxiety for many. This was brought to the fore in September 2014 when citizens took to the streets as a protest against Beijing’s pre-selection of candidates for the election of Hong Kong’s Chief Executive in 2017. The first night of protests was met with a bullish response from police, and…

4 min.

“A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.” – William Blake From many decades of working together, we have found that we are repeatedly drawn to landscapes of complexity – where nature and humanity converge. In hindsight, it seemed inevitable that we would come to work on a project about trees, and their indelible bond with cultures throughout the world. In the spring of 2012 we journeyed to Japan to photograph yozakura – the nighttime ritual of viewing cherry blossoms. The day before returning home, we received word that Diane’s father was gravely ill. We spent our last day in Kyoto amongst the cherry trees without cameras, reflecting on the fragility of those beautiful blossoms as they fell in a gentle breeze. In that moment we understood, in…