The ArchiTALKS focuses on the experience of LAND - Landscape Architecture Nature Development, through the words of one of its two founders, landscape architect Andreas Kipar. Starting from the German architect's biography, we retrace all the steps that led to the creation of LAND: the meeting with the agronomist Giovanni Sala (founding member of the firm), the first work experiences, the field practice and the project references: the Italian Pietro Porcinai and the Brazilian Burle Marx.
The journey and the direct knowledge of the places become crucial elements both in the path of initial formation, a trip to Italy to Goethe, and in today's professional practice.
I was personally born as a gardener, I graduated as a gardener in the town nurseries of my city, Gelsenkirchen, where I was born, then I continued with landscape architecture studies, so a faculty specifically set up to train landscape architects. And my journey started only after my first degree and my diploma in gardening, a journey similar to Goethe’s, on Goethe’s trail, crossing the Alps to discover a country of gardens and parks. This beautiful country, this country with a magic landscape. And that’s where the study at the Politecnico in Milan started, strongly wanted by my teacher Campos Venuti, the noble father of Italian urbanism, who included the environmental component in urban projects. The environment calls urban planning and urban planning calls the environment.
A continuous dialogue between built and unbuilt that is the basis of the research carried out by LAND Studio.
Working with nature always have a time component. Not a year, not 5 years but 10 years, 50 years, 100 years. Reflecting on this is the theme of landscape architecture. Goethe taught us something very important: he considered the landscape to be a shaped form that only evolved by living. So we start from form and pure art and we come to life and life evolves, it’s a continuous activity. This idea of never stopping, of knowing how to intercept what’s happening has always accompanied me. There are great examples in history, Karl Friedrich Schinkel and the great Baumeister, the landscaper Peter Jospeph Lenné always in pairs, always in dialogue. Leberecht Migge, great landscaper with Ernst May in Frankfurt and the Frankfurt school, always in pairs.Dialectic, a continuous dialogue between the built and non-built environment, between what remains stable and what takes on dynamism, between nature and culture. This is why there are so many examples in history. Today I still remember when Bruno Zevi once wrote in Italy many years ago that landscaping was able to teach something to architects, to free themselves from excessive form, to free themselves from schemes, from ideology promoting instead the management of conflict from existential anxiety and speaking of a regenerated nomadism. And that is exactly how we live, in that moment, regenerated nomadism, we are all moving, cities are filling up and that is where we had to give an answer today through our apparatus of landscape architecture.
A multidisciplinary and multi-scale work that proposed by Kipar and Sala, gathering elements both from the existing and from the place to then build a new narrative.
Places that are the projects developed by the Studio and that are told by the voice of the protagonists, from the Parco Nord to the vision of the Green Rays of Milan, passing through the Krefeld Park in Dusseldorf - where the edge assumes the value of a frame for the agricultural landscape - to the idea - in the case of Lura projects – of having basins as shuttlecocks.
Activating a project always starts from a large collection process: gathering, gathering information, the most obvious but also the least obvious. Information between the lines, the one expressed by newspapers, the one in literature, therefore, beginning to understand what we are talking about, we often also say that our projects start from a story, building our story. since the landscape is something in continuous evolution and we must find our way to fit into this continuous evolution through our own narration. Once this narration is made, through the collection of more varied elements, we go through a series of workshops, debates, discussions within a well-prepared design group, we move on to comprehension, and comprehension is what is still useful to us, what we perhaps leave in the background, what could provide an important interpretation, but in any case the broadest possible. At every step something is left out.Through these continuous consultations, and the techniques of “landscape ecology” as we say today, at a certain point we know we have a perfect picture, where our place, our site is currently located.
The common thread of the lesson, and of the activity of the Studio, can be summarized with "design with nature", working with nature. An ever-present theme in other LAND projects, from the intervention at Porta Nuova to the Adda Mallero Park, up to the Krupp Park in Essen where the landscape becomes a "moderator" and the "verifier" project of the limits of form and time.
Sometimes you must be very patient, you must create imagination but you must also be very serious in saying that working with nature is a science. We must know nature, we must know how to intervene with nature with other disciplines, especially with hydraulic engineering in this case, with pedology, with geology, so that the new systems will work, fully inserted today, almost no one could say that the architect's hand is behind it. And I think one of the greatest compliments a landscape architect can receive is ”I can hardly see the architect's hand”. Exactly the opposite of other categories. So, "designing with nature", working with nature means interpreting this nature and induces us to fit into these places and create new environments capable of carrying out an infrastructural engineering function as well as a function of high biodiversity.