INDIGENOUS LANDSCAPE SYSTEMS
SCHOOL | Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
YEAR | 2011-2012
COURSE | Technology Seminar
PROGRAM | Bachelor of Architectural Design
While the vernacular of the world’s traditional and indigenous peoples has historically inspired innovation in the field of architecture, so far there has been minimal impact to the fields of urban and landscape design. Paying homage to Bernard Rudofksy’s ‘Architecture without Architects’ on its 50 year anniversary, ‘Living Landscape Eco-Technologies’ similarly explores contemporary landscape eco-technologies alongside the landscape vernacular eco-technologies of indigenous and traditional peoples. This seminar offers an explorative comparison of advanced architectural material innovations and sophisticated vernacular constructions evolved through environmental symbiosis, lying hidden in the shadows of the remotest places on earth. We’ll explore known high-tech systems and unknown low-tech systems through an architectural lens, drawing inspiration to suggest the material and landscape eco-technologies of the future. These living constructions will range in size from single river crossings to entire watersheds. Contemporary landscape eco-tech systems are examined at the material, system and the project scale, while indigenous eco-tech systems are explored at the material, module and ecotone scale. We’ll explore living eco-technologies in three modules, which are fluid, growth and terain. This seminar queries the many unique ways of living in harmony with nature that somewhere along the way, we in the western world have lost or forgotten. It endeavours to answer the insurmountably important question; what do indigenous and traditional people know that we once knew? This question is asked in the hope that we can understand how to use this ancient knowledge to solve some of today’s most pressing environmental problems - this is the ultimate objective of the inquiry.
POSITION | Adjunct Assistant Professor
TEAM | Julia Watson