Landscape architecture

As in forestry, landscape architecture also has a tradition which may bear fruit in the design of urban-industrial spaces. Landscape architecture dem­onstrates – as we have seen – a close connection with urban nature conser­vation. At first, landscape architecture was marginalized in the universities and also in the public perception because of the development of the techni­cal-instrumental vision of nature conservation described above. Because only scientific questions were seen as objective and able to be legitimated socially, a conflict arose early in Germany between ecologically oriented nature conservation and culturally motivated landscape architecture. Land­scape architecture sees the individual design of spaces as a cultural respon­sibility and feels committed to a more artistic understanding of its respon­sibilities. The understanding of the tasks of administrative nature conservation that emerged after World War II were criticized as culturally unproductive, and the development of the landscape into a modern land­scape for living with a contemporary and artistically satisfying design was demanded (cf. Mattern 1950). Artistic in this concept does not mean that landscape architecture was to be understood as one of the fine arts, but rather, like forest aesthetics, as an applied art. As an architectural disci­pline, landscape architecture designs the landscape according to the inter­ests of human uses. Because of its artistic component, landscape architec­ture was long considered subjective and therefore irrational (cf. Milchert 1996) in the German universities, leading to its marginalization.

The landscape architecture tradition that is relevant to the design of ur­ban-industrial spaces was already set out in the Heimatschutz. Despite its original orientation, expressed by Rudorff (1897) in terms critical of civili­zation, the idea of Landesverschonung was further developed within the Heimatschutz into the union of beauty and function. It no longer described only agricultural and forestry melioration programs, but also incorporated industrial modernization. Then it was not only the case that the incorpora­tion of industrial works within the characteristic landscape – perhaps through the plantings around them, through the use of natural stone fa­cades or as in the careful siting of the autobahn to the existing topography (cf. e. g. Seifert 1941) – was seen as a cultural accomplishment but it was understood that the industrial structures could themselves shape the land­scape. Lindner (1926), who significantly influenced the relationship of Heimatschutz to industry and technology with his book Ingenierwerk und Naturschutz (Engineering and Nature Conservation), pointed out that the building projects of what was then modern industrial architecture would generally, in fact, be seen as ugly, but they were characteristic, i. e. they had a uniqueness. He not only attributed to high-tension power lines the ability to give a monotonous landscape a “new allure” (ibid, p 88), but also argued that the cinder heaps of the heavy industry in the Ruhr were a valu­able contribution to the regional character: “The powerful rubble – and one would not want to do without the cinder heaps of the Ruhr, and we recog­nize them as an inseparable accompaniment to the mining and steel-mill industries and include them automatically in our vision of the homeland as a component of sentimental value” (ibid, p 92).

The landscape architecture of today in urban-industrial spaces represents a contemporary interpretation of the tradition of Heimatschutz and forest aesthetics. Consequently, the industrial structures as well as the forests that have arisen in the course of succession are included as elements of cul­tural-historical significance in designs. Within landscape architecture, the work with spontaneous natural development and therefore, with the devel­opment of woodlands, is influenced not only by urban nature conservation but also by the nature garden concept and by the tradition of urban open – space planning that allows for the use of abandoned sites. This tradition re­lates back to the so-called Kasseler Schule (Kassel School) (cf. e. g. Bose 1981).

Updated: October 13, 2015 — 12:22 pm