Concepts of Preservation and Design of Postindustrial Landscapes
(16:550:554, 3 credits)
Spring Semester 2010, Wednesdays 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Taught by Dr. Wolfram Hoefer
The course Concepts of Preservation and Design of Postindustrial Landscapes gives an introduction into cultural understandings of nature, landscape and industry through time with reference to the impact of globalization on the use and interpretation of post-industrial sites.
This course will address an interdisciplinary dialogue between design and preservation studies.
Landscape architecture looks at post-industrial (e.g. brownfield) sites to assess their adaptive reuse, also to reintegrate these devastated sites into the public realm as social, economic, and aesthetic questions. A preservation perspective focuses instead on a methodology that reassesses the historic significance of these sites as well as alterations to their historic property. Fostering that dialogue, the course examines American cultural history and the tradition of American landscape architecture with a focus on how the relationship between industry and landscape has evolved.
This will include aspects of architecture, such as the architectural history of industrial buildings, their internal organization and their urban context. The course will introduce post-industrial projects in New Jersey and abroad as examples for discussing different approaches of preservation and design: How does a chosen approach of historic preservation in some of these examples relate to the developed usages and designs? In that context it is important to recognize the artistic aspects that underlie the relationship between design intent and design. Design is not just the application of scientific findings to a specific site – that would be engineering – rather it is the creative act that draws from cultural experiences and talent. That is why this course will apply methods of architecture theory and art history; the interpretation of gestalt in the context of the cultural tradition of the field.
The lecture part of the course will examine American cultural history and the tradition of American landscape architecture with a focus on how the relationship between industry and landscape has evolved. The class material will touch aspects of environmental history, and the student papers will analyze recent best practice examples. The scope of the class will go beyond that. When geographers or human ecologists conduct environmental history they look, for example, at what point in history the environmental problem was acknowledged, and which strategies or solutions were applied. In the case of historic preservation of a specific industrial structure the scholar looks into the period of significance and develops a definition of the importance of the structure in its technical and architectural historic context.
All these layers of research and understanding are important for landscape architecture and how these contribute to the meaning of the physical space. For a landscape architect whose work also incorporates environmental standards space is more than the outcome of an ecologically appropriate technical solution, it is the product of the creative act of design.
Lectures, discussions, and student presentations. Attendance and active participation in weekly student discussions is expected; in addition, each student will write and present a major research oriented paper. That Paper shall explore one existing example of historic preservation and adaptive re-use of a postindustrial site.