Monday, December 29, 2014

Luciano Pia, "Considerations on Residential Landscape"

Since we are aware of being part of an infinite living organism which is constantly self regulated, a fraction due to the conjunction of elements, we also know that humanity won't survive to the natural evolution and to the constant changes of the “organism” as a whole, unless we act as to avoid damaging ourselves and, consequently, the complex system that by selfregulation enables our lives.
From this perspective, we can serenely deal with the fundamental questions about what is really essential to our lives and ways of living and what are our real needs.

Our cities have grown at a frantic speed, thus causing enormous operating problems and, likely, a lower quality of life together with the rising of social costs which sometimes have become unaffordable.

Today in a global economy, we deeply feel the need for a new tight relation with nature and a better quality of life to be achieved also through an environment which shouldn't be built in accompliance with a will of mere exploitation of the land. Today we know that social tensions worsen in deteriorated build-up areas which have a part in leading to the escalation of violence in a spiral of general decay.

We have realized that we can't go on growing endlessly and thus destroying more and more land. We are part of nature and without the natural environment our lives are inhuman, cold and fruitless. We can't deeply modify our megalopolis, which have overspread regardless of the fragility of the territory, but we can minimize the negative impact that improperly built-up areas have on our souls by a riappropriation of a direct relationship with the natural landscape.


For centuries we protected the countryside being conscious that it was our source of life and sustenance. But with the Industrial Revolution and the shift from a rural economy to an industrial one the distance between Man and nature, cities and land obviously grew deeper.

Where do cities end and the natural landscape start? What is the boundary of that landscape and how do we act upon it? What do we do to blend the built-up with the natural landscape? Which landscape are we aiming at recreating for our towns? These are the basic questions which need new answers to recreate an urban environment where the green plays a fundamental role for our wellness. There are scattered signs of a new Renaissance where Man and the quality of life are the core of our thoughts.
From this perspective architects should conceive their projects as the prosecution of the natural lanscape, when possible, and the projects should be fully integrated with the green.

Today there is an interest in enhancing a process opposed to the one which led to the morphology of contemporary cities resulting from a progressive consumption of soil. It is important to re-use dismissed sites making them be part of the natural environment once more. Landscape planning means complementing and merging with the urban architectural design as to lead to a single integrated project where both aspects are indivisible.

Not long ago, the green was sometimes a kind of camouflage to projects defaults, but it is becoming the pivotal element round which building projects are to be conceived.

There are residential projects aiming at melting with the natural surroundings, the choice of materials and shapes is more organic and the relation between the interior space and the exterior space becomes the most relevant element.

It is a radical change in attitude where buildings are part of a natural process: we are part of nature and everything we build cannot be unlinked or regardless of the landscape.

Moving from the first attempts of making “green” buildings by bidimensional green elements (vertical green), today there is a new trend for a more substantial and tridimensional green, I would say a “less designed” green in favour of a more natural green as a result of a new sensibility.

When we work in “unurbanized” areas, it is certainly easier to integrate the project into the natural landscape in order to prosecute the work of nature by using local materials, by saving energy, by respecting both proportions of what is built and its surroundings in a humanscale. We should be fully aware of our responsabilities in saving the environment and its resources .
In conclusion “context generates form”: a respectful relation with the landscape fosters better spaces which can positively modify our way of living and thus our daily life.

Luciano Pia

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