The duck and the fish

Anna Viader lectures at UVa School of Architecture.

Berlin based architect and landscape architect introduces her work curating  the  exhibit at the national academy of the arts on the return of landscape. Las Vegas,Nevada and Venice, Italy will be explored with respect to their specific relationship towards their landscape.

Venice/Las Vegas image rights Claudia Köllner/Anna Viader

Press release:

Return of Landscape_ EXHIBITION
The 20th‐century city was built in opposition to the landscape. The ecological consequences of this have been climate change, a shortage of water, and the loss of biodiversity. The 21st‐century city therefore has to be developed in accordance with the landscape, using creative and sustainable solutions and a new and more holistic approach.
The Akademie der Künste in Berlin is placing these issues at the heart of a large, interdisciplinary exhibition entitled Return of Landscape (Wiederkehr der Landschaft),  will be accompanied by numerous events.
Among other topics, the exhibition aims to compare and contrast the world’s two most artificial cities: Las Vegas and Venice. Even though their surrounding environment and histories could hardly be more different, both cities are struggling with similar ecological problems, including urban sprawl, air pollution, and water shortage. This will be demonstrated in a striking way by the latest aerial photographs by Alex S. MacLean, which were commissioned by the Akademie der Künste and taken in autumn 2009. For several years, MacLean has been documenting the unbridled exploitation of the environment; his illustrated book Over: The American Landscape at the Tipping Point is one of last year’s most spectacular publications.
The urban analyses of Las Vegas and Venice will be supplemented by outstanding projects of national and international architects and landscape architects. The exhibition will feature plans which combine ecological efficiency with a high aesthetic standard. The following offices will be presenting their work:
Shlomo Aronson Architects (Jerusalem)    ASTOC Architects and Planners and RMP Stephan Lenzen Landschaftsarchitekten (Köln/Bonn)     Turenscape (Peking)     Batlle i Roig Arquitectes (Barcelona)     Büro Kiefer (Berlin)     Kienle Planungsgesellschaft Freiraum und Städtebau mbH (Stuttgart)     Lohrberg Stadtlandschaftsarchitektur (Stuttgart)     Marco Venturi und Lucka Azman (Ljubljana)     Ken Smith Landscape Architect (New York/Los Angeles)     Studio Boeri, Laboratorio Multiplicity.lab (Mailand)     Atelier Corajoud (Paris)
Return of Landscape_ RESUME
Landscape will have to become the law”. That was the assertive proposal made as early as in 1959 by landscape architect Walter Rossow at a pioneering conference held by the Deutscher Werkbund in Marl in the face of rapidly increasing water pollution and environmental destruction. With his proposal, Rossow was not referencing some romanticising return to a supposedly original landscape but was emphasizing new practical strategies for economic growth and urban development. He argued that the environment had to be used intelligently and responsibly with long‐term benefits in mind instead of exploiting and destroying it for short‐term advantages.
Fifty years on the proposal is more relevant than ever. Surrounding our booming megacities, the countryside has often seemed little more than a disposable and entirely neutral belt. At best, it has been regarded as a challenge to logistics or structural engineering – a misjudgement that has long been taking its toll.
The urban over‐exploitation of the countryside is causing environmental problems of unimaginable magnitude around the world, with all too familiar consequences such as climate change, water scarcity, food shortages and the loss of biodiversity.
Neither isolated examples of spectacular ecological construction, nor building modernization and conversion, nor electric cars will have the power to reverse this trend. Which is why urban sustainability has to be perceived in a larger, more comprehensive context. The city of the 21st century crucially needs to evolve from the surrounding landscape. However, in this process, we need to regard the landscape as more than just a supplier of material resources ‐ it needs to be given far greater significance as an aesthetic and emotional living space.
Curator: Donata Valentien Co‐Curator: Anna Viader Soler

Published by: paradoXcity

Jorg Sieweke practices as a licensed landscape architect and urban designer in Berlin. Since 2009, he directs the design-research initiative paradoXcity. In 2020 he started a position as Associate Professor to conceive and conduct a new master program in "Landscape architecture for global sustainability" at Norwegian University of Life Science (NMBU), located at the Oslo Fjord. Before he held professorships at University of Virginia and was Visiting Professor at RWTH Aachen and HCU Hamburg in Germany. In 2015 he was resident fellow at Villa Massimo - the German Academy in Rome. ParadoXcity challenges convention of practice in landscape architecture to establish its own trajectory of a landscape & urbanism. With his PhD. (2015) he interrogates the implicit knowledge production in the design process.

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