Landscape BOTOX

Short Remarks on the Architecture’s Dimensional Loss.

In the Sisyphus work of the day-to-day struggle for survival of the offices, in the traineeship of the next generation, the crisis of architecture is now directly experienced.

Even in the architectural discourse there is a perplexity.

Publication Landscape BOTOX @ Stadt+Grün, Germany, September 2006


In the Sisyphus work of the day-to-day struggle for survival of the offices, in the traineeship of the next generation, the crisis of architecture is now directly experienced. Even in the architectural discourse there is a perplexity. Excesses from the crisis are sought through escapades into atmospheres [1] or through bonds from post-bicentenary courses, such as the communication for “architecture pop”[2] or the urbanist in the shrinkage discussion[3].

In the sense of a hybrid discipline that integrates integrally both media networks and free spaces, the architecture encounters its transgression of the limits – which may be far more than small excursions. This expansion of the areas where the architect is supposed to function as a kind of “art director” corresponds to his self-understanding as a generalist and his view that architecture is the mother of all arts – landscape architects!

The discomfort in architecture is a direct expression of the loss of meaning of the physical locality, which is accompanied by accelerated medialization and globalization. Despite or because of this crisis situation, architecture on many fronts is exposed to the latest developments and tasks.

Contemporary architecture is comprehensible with the aid of a compass, which serves the current overall social developments of acceleration, globalization and virtuality as co-ordinates. Both the latest clones of pretentious villas of the penultimate century or the most doubtful architecture of the 1930s refer to position – positively formulated, the denial of an accelerated world.

As a counter-pole, movement spaces are developed as the adequate answer for all building tasks, from the house to the museum. For this “flowing” architecture form generation programs with their buttons are godfors. The so-called “blob-architecture”, which has also given rise to very interesting formal experiments, has been part of a marketing which should make the new techniques image-capable, in order to take the fear of the new technique. However, since it still happens in the construction process – flowing shapes, since they are not easy to build, are dissolved in polygons and then lose their elegance – the designs often remain in the cyberspace.

The “screen” becomes a topic. The facade, designed as a kind of screen, is slipped around the crate. The space of the box is neutral interchangeable; Only expressive is the thin layer as an interface to the communication space city. This departure from the “form follows function” imperative of modernity, where the inner structure of a building should shape its urban expression, is long overdue. The necessity of thermal insulation, which imposes a second skin on every building volume, and thus turns the “modernity of honesty” into a masquerade inevitably, finds expression in the new clothes of a partly colorful, partial serial, partially decorative, and even sometimes beautiful architecture of surfaces.

The interchangeability of globalized urban globalization is further accelerated by growing medialization – finds its counterpart in a “generic” architecture, which could be found everywhere in the urbanized world. The contemporary condition of the built environment is globalized, its planning and development is also globalized. The design of the partially very additive architectural elements is easily digitally reproducible, with the support of detailed databases. It is not only the Polish construction specialist and subcontractor, who is notorious in Europe. Works plans are drawn in the Czech Republic, models are built in China and soon the whole production chain is outsourced to India.

In this space, which is further influenced by technological developments in terms of construction processes and materials, architecture is evolving not in the one style, but in a number of contradictory formal expressions, a contemporary mix of styles as the image of a fragmented contemporary society and world.


In the polyphony of the landscape architecture production some tendencies are recognizable. The alienation and reduction of abstract forms, which are difficult to materialize in a growing material, are now common practices of this discipline. The potential of the living material of the plant with its softness, texture, transparency and cyclic dynamics is not used. The spatial art of the landscape architecture, which is based on a time-based, working with living material, runs the risk of dealing with its spatial and temporal dimensions.

Often postmodern tendencies are visible in semantically heavily loaded designs. Sometimes in their more intellectual form, so that when looking at recent works, one has to think about the “new landscape architecture”, as imagined and commentated by the architect and artist Hans-Dieter Schaal almost fifteen years ago [5]. Today, however, these sketches appear schematically and lack the time and space dimension.

Space loss is pre-programmed by the current tools. Image processing programs promote flatware, that is, two-dimensional design. Landscapes are developed in the Google Earth perspective and not from the perspective of the hiker in time. Decisions relevant to the design are made according to the plan placard.

Contemporary landscape architects often use the means of alienation. Perhaps to emphasize their consciousness of the artificiality of the “landscape”. This alienation, however, is seldom used spatially, that is, regarding the use and appropriation by the users. Such practices are still left to free art, which is to address the existential level. Landschaftsarchitektur is not a “use art” – and alienation here is often only to let the plants shine in the strange blue.

Abstract are also the minimalistic designs. This minimalism can be understood as a clear statement and as an attempt to compensate for the general over-excitement of our everyday world. Nevertheless, medialization infiltrates the architecture of the landscape with its flamboyantly programmable façades and light installations, thereby reinforcing the long-established work in shadows and light and extending them with the new technical media possibilities of so-called lighting design. As the handling of existing buildings, whether as a construction or as a green one, is becoming increasingly important as a task, this “putting into the new light” becomes an increasingly common practice. The landscape architecture gains in event character – and loses its substance.

Against the background of the financial dangers of the local authorities and the associated problems with the financing of the maintenance and maintenance costs by the public authorities, the landscape architecture as well as the emergent area of ​​landscape-based urban development or “landscape urbanism” are looking for cost-reduced approaches to these newly emerging urban green spaces. Succession as a “urban wilderness” appears as an (intermediate) solution, for the newly emerging fallow land in the city. In order to develop urban freescapes, which maintain the urban and social space continuum, solutions are sought that are cost-effective, but also “cultivated”, for example, as developed agricultural and forestry areas of “urban agriculture”.

Both approaches to dealing with urban wastewater, the “urban wilderness” and “urban agriculture”, are cycle-oriented and process-oriented. Not only urban open spaces are designed, but the entire lifecycle of the facilities is the subject of the design. These are (intermediate) solutions that mark phases of urban succession cycles in the dynamic, perpetual process of transforming the urban landscape.

Actually, this processor-oriented nature is close to the landscape architecture, since it has to do with growing and perishing living matter. In this processor approach, there is also an opportunity to work on a different design from the world that involves the cyclic of life. In landscape art, such as Plant Art, or in emerging artistic practices that employ biological processes, fading, decay, and even decay is an integral part of the artistic project. The architecture of the landscape could also work similarly more freely and thus conceptually with its actual living material.

Certainly, our economic system is bound by the dictates of the increasing value added and is subject to a new delusion. Jugendwahn is propagated through all media and dictates our self-image and thus self-consciousness, the natural course of life in a sometimes tragicomic way defying. Nevertheless, in our old Europe, the continent, the chance exists for an environment that enhances its charm by not negating the signs of the times – as a counter-play to a wrinkled landscape architecture BOTOX.


[1] See, for example, arch+ 178, Juli 2006, „Die Produktion von Präsenz“.
[2] See, for example, arch+ 171, Juni 2004, „Architekten, ihr Anfänger! Pop, Ökonomie, Aufmerksamkeit“.
[3] See, for example,
[4] See, for example, Elizabeth Sikiaridi und Frans Vogelaar „Architektur der Sukzession“ in db (Deutsche Bauzeitung), Januar 2005.
[5] Schaal, Hans Dieter, „Neue Landschaftsarchitektur = New landscape architecture“, Berlin: Ernst & Sohn, 1994.
[6] The artist and lecturer Dirk Holzberg lives and works in Berlin and deals with the study and construction of natural space in the days of biotechnology. Numerous exhibitions and festivals in Germany and abroad.

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