On Landscape and Atmosphere

The seminar traces the relationship between landscape architecture and atmosphere. The varying levels of concealment or exposure, immersion or separation are primary to the construction and experience of landscape. The physical and mental engagement implies haptic contact not only with the visual and material elements but also with the immaterial subjects of the atmosphere—namely the meteorological subjects such as of wind, temperature, light and humidity. While the relationship between landscape and atmosphere may seem apparent, it has rarely been acknowledged or formalized. The transformation of land lies at the core of landscape architecture, yet the study of atmosphere and associated meteorological subjects still remain peripheral to design discourse. The definition of atmosphere entails two seemingly opposite positions: one within the scientific realm, and another one within the subjective and aesthetic experience. Claiming that landscape is about air and atmosphere (as it is about land and water) offers a stimulating dimension to the discipline of landscape, particularly when atmosphere operates as both an objective entity and experiential medium in design. The seminar is focused on various cases studies in which atmosphere is brought to the fore in landscape architecture and urbanism. It will look at the different contexts, techniques and procedures of each of the projects. From the vernacular and microclimates, to the utopian and macro bioengineering scopes, the seminar examines the importance of atmosphere as an operational and experiential agent in landscape architecture and urbanism towards fundamental topics such as comfort, delight and well-being.

The seminar is structured in sequential topics of research and analysis of pre-selected case studies. The chapters are structured, respectively, on cultural/technological contexts, designers’ claims and concepts, elements of design and affects, representation techniques, and bio-mapping. There will be occasional screenings of videos or films that explore particular meteorological conditions as they affect characters and space. Occasional guests will participate in the projects’ discussions.