Beaman on “Ground-formations”

Michael Beaman (Critic, Interior Architecture) presented with Zaneta Hong (Harvard) at the 2014 Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA) conference. An excerpt from the paper, titled “Ground-formations | Simulation + Representation in Landscape Design,” is included below.

 

Paper Excerpt:
Ground is both the material and location of design production for the discipline of Landscape Architecture. As landscape designers, we analyze the intrinsic qualities of ground [material and site], and establish a relationship between these and the extrinsic qualities we wish to generate through the design and manufacture of ground-forms, their programs and performances. Creating a synthetic relationship between these two qualitative categories has historically derived from methodologies of representation – a coding that translates information from both domains into a shared language. Landscape architectural education commonly relies on the well-established regime of two-dimensional projections [drawings] and three-dimensional reductions [models] to explore, create, and communicate these two types of qualities.

Both regimes rely on abstraction [the removal of specific information to adhere to conform to a representational system] to bring these two qualities into a common visually based framework. This framework’s effectiveness, the equalization of the disparate information sets embedded into these two qualitative types, has also been its limitation. The application of parameter-based modeling and other computational media offer an alternative framework, one that can yield visual definitions of ground, but whose effectiveness is derived from simulation, not visualization.

 

 

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