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.
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.