by Dou Zhang, ASLA, PLA, LEED AP BD+C, SITES AP
See the first installment of this recap of the fifth Shanghai Landscape Forum for a summary of Session A: Momentum and Session B: Memory.
Session C: 日新月异 Expectation
Uniqueness of Sensation in the Urban Environment
演讲嘉宾：潘格非 Manfred Pan
从重复的住宅单元，到单调的办公楼幕墙，在当今的城市环境中，单调无感知的环境正在主导着我们的城市空间，令生活其中的人们倍感厌倦。ASPECTS Studios的景观设计师潘格非为我们分享了以人类最原始的感知力为出发点的感官设计哲学。ASPECT Studios运用独特的体验和敏锐的感官，带给人们意想不到的城市感知设计。
From repeating residential units to monotonous office tower curtain walls, a monoculture of sensationless environments is over represented in urban environments today. People are bored and tired of this duplicated world. Landscape architect Manfred Pan from ASPECT Studios shared the landscape design philosophy of human-oriented thinking. Starting from the most basic point—how humans experience the world—APSECT Studios use the unique experience and keen sensitivity to strive for the unexpected and uniqueness in urban projects.
The presentation discussed visual perception first. For a project in Hefei, China, the pomegranate was a special regional symbol. As a starting point, the pomegranate was disassembled from the unique perspective of the designer and then reinterpreted at a super-sized scale. People do not need to know the background to glean their own unique understanding and perception.
Auditory sensation was discussed next, for which ASPECT Studios shared their project Angel Place in Sydney. The project tried to define functional space with bird song, upgrading the alley way into a meaningful public space, to raise awareness of bird habitat preservation.
The last sensation covered is called “Touch the Culture.” By a careful selection of local materials, matching the colors, and creating interactive elements such water features and land forms, all the senses can be encouraged in the landscape—to look, to touch, and to play. The depth and layers of culture and history are assimilated into daily life through this multi-sensory engagement.
Sensation is the basis of how people experience the world. As designers, if we allow ourselves to be guided by the idea of sensation, we break from what would be anticipated and strive for uniqueness, diversity, and sensation in the experiences we create.
To Sense or Survey
HASSELL城市设计师Liam Mouritz发表了“主观感受还是客观研究”的演讲，提出了应对当代全球化所带来挑战的设计理念，旨在将两种具有代表性的相对思维方式放在一起比较讨论 — 感官审美设计过程以及技术方法论。本次讨论令人想起数十年以来，在景观建筑语境下的激辩，隐喻的钟摆在强调艺术还是科学之间来回摆动。然而，本次讨论更为关注的是两种意识的融合，兼顾感性与技术。
Liam Mouritz, an urban designer at HASSELL, delivered “To Sense or Survey,” a talk explaining a design philosophy which tackles our contemporary global challenges. It aims to engage two typically opposed ways of thinking: the sensual-aesthetic design process and the technical-pragmatic. The talk brought to mind a debate which has been reverberating within landscape architectural discourse for decades, as the metaphorical pendulum swings back and forth between an emphasis on either art or science. However, the talk emphasized the importance of trying to engage both mentalities—to be both sensual and technical.
Our contemporary challenges are focused on rapid urbanization and the subsequent need to optimize and control our natural environment. While we work to create livable and convenient metropolises, we inadvertently also create vast territories dedicated to production in distant hinterlands. Alongside this we have seen the creation of mega-infrastructure to harvest and redirect natural resources, which has the potential for collapsing and provoking so-called natural disasters. We need to find ways of crossing disciplinary boundaries and engaging the larger forces that are shaping our world today. As Naomi Klein, social activist and author, might say, climate change is not an environmental problem; it is a social, economic, and political one. If you are not thinking about these issues, then you aren’t relevant today.
So, what can the design profession offer in response to these global challenges? It comes back to the idea of to ‘sense or survey.’ As designers we have a unique ability and skill-set to be able to tell powerful and captivating stories and also to be able to implement them. This can be through technically grounded master plan strategies, or the management of a construction project. It is in this ability to cross modes of thinking and scales of work, and to think about the intersection of ecology and urbanity, that we find our niche and engage our contemporary conditions as a profession.
The Resilient by Design project challenge by HASSELL provides a great example of how professional design offices can engage in these issues. The HASSELL team worked with the community, government agencies, and other stakeholders in a collaborative design effort to reimagine the San Francisco Bay Area to become more resilient in the face of climate change. The project demonstrated innovative water management strategies alongside a focus on what the human experience of living in a naturalized urban environment at the water’s edge would be like.
The Internet of Things: Realising the Fourth City Through Sensory Engagement
公司名： GVL Gossamer
The use of data in cities is not new, it is the speed and means though which we interact with it that has shifted fundamentally. GVL Gossamer co-founder Nicola Balch has traveled the world researching and developing unique IoT (internet of things) proposals for our public spaces. The projects offer an “engaged city” model that focus on how communities can directly interact with the spaces around them though technology rather than a top-down “smart city” model.
在乔治街城市客厅项目中，目标创建一个能增加用户多样性的线型社区空间。方案涉及两个层面反馈系统 – 一层面是家具系统，另一层面是匿名收集用户数据的感应铺装系统。这样的组合造就了一个智能反馈回路，通过使用街道家具实时收集的数据，将用户反馈成为设计建议的主要依据。怡境高势称之为“世界上第一条有生命的街”。
In the George Street Living Room project, the aim was to create a linear social space that would increase the user diversity in the city with a two-tiered response system—a kit of parts consisting of a furniture system and a sensory paving system that collected anonymous user data. The result was the design of an intelligent feedback loop, where community consultations would drive program suggestions, that could be tested using the kit of parts and data collection live on the street. The designers called this “The World’s First Living Street.”
Nicola 之前在McGregor Coxall参与的Hi-Croydon的设计竞赛中，寻求如何用新的方式使市民参与城市建设。怡境高势提出了一个DIY、可移动，可居住的植物园，借此激活街道。通过智能手机上的增强现实或虚拟现实应用程序，可以让居民参与设计这个可移动的植物园。
Nicola led a Smart City team within McGregor Coxall for the Hi-Croydon competition, which looked to innovate new ways for users to engage with their street. The project proposed a DIY mobile, habitable botanic garden that would activate the street corridor. It also proposed the use of augmented or virtual reality though a phone app what would allow residents to re-design the botanic garden into endless programs and configurations.
Smart Carpet was the winning entry for the City of London’s A Smarter City competition. The concept took the notion of modularity and adaptability and applied it directly to the street surface. Using interlocking and live sensory LED paving and furniture, Smart Carpet allows the street to be transformed for any use imaginable. It could become a busy corridor, a place for testing bike lanes, pedestrian crossing locations, and sidewalk dimensions in commuter mode, and it could change the whole streetscape for diverse functions, such as a digital art gallery and performance space on the evening and weekends.
At GVL Gossamer, this innovative approach to technology will continue, and the founding team looks forward to exploring how technology can facilitate new ways of interacting with our public spaces in a Chinese context.
The round table discussion was the last part of the event. All the speakers were invited back to the stage to take questions from the audience. From design to implementation, from art to technology, the questions received were not limited to the presentations themselves, but covered all aspects of the landscape profession.
Q1: Quintessenz, please describe the source of inspiration for the work “Kagkatikas Secret,” as well as the author’s understanding of the functionality of art and the author’s suggestion for improving the use of color in China.
Tomislav Topic, Quintessenz: Art should emphasize interaction. It helps people to get out of their daily lives. As for color preferences, the artist believes that there are strong regional colors that are deeply rooted in the local culture. At the same time, art education also plays a very important role.
A（Gossamer_Nicola Balch）： 技术应该用来提升人们对景观的体验。帮助人们以不同的方式看待事物。好的设计应与技术兼容，而不是刻意避开。
A（Gossamer_Alex Breedon）: 技术可以帮助人们看到，但也可能使我们盲目。两者之间的紧张关系一直存在，但最重要的是始终记住景观设计行业的根本。
Q2: How can the conflict between rapidly evolving technology and the basic experience of the natural environment be resolved and viewed as a landscape architect?
Lee Parks, International ASLA, AECOM: Technology, such as satellite imagery, is readily available, but our biggest challenge is how to make this data more accessible to practitioners and have it become the basis for design.
Nicola Balch, Gossamer: Technology should be used to enhance people’s experience of the landscape and help people see things in different ways. Good design should be compatible with technology, not deliberately avoid it.
Shuyi Chang, ASLA, SWA: Although technology has become a very valuable tool, in the current state of the design industry, the importance of site research has not kept up. The Shanghai Landscape Forum is an opportunity and a platform to appeal to everyone to think about and recognize this as a basic issue for design.
Alex Breedon, Gossamer: Technology can help people see, but it can also blind us. The tension between the two has always existed, but the most important thing is to remember the fundamentals of landscape design.
Zhiqiang Zeng, SASAKI: The connection between science and technology development and the landscape design industry is very strong. ArcGIS has helped to expand the research scope and scale of the landscape industry, making our judgment more scientific and moving the industry in a better direction. Autonomous vehicles, for example, may improve the efficiency of the transportation system, but may also transform the streetscape. Landscape architects should have a pioneering vision and systematically think about integrating industry knowledge and new technologies to create a better future environment.
Q3: Landscape design engaging all five senses seems to be a topic that is gradually growing in interest, such as the blind garden. Can you meet the needs of all users in this landscape practice? How do you view the reality of many projects and the research that focus on vulnerable groups but have been put aside without major progress?
Manfred Pan, ASPECT Studios: The need to address underserved groups demands more attention. Landscape designers can use design to make more people aware of this problem.
Yuang Xiao, SASAKI: Everyone should understand this topic from a positive perspective. Design for underserved groups cannot be expected to have an immediate impact. Instead, people should focus on this topic and have a dialogue with such groups, which will attract more people’s attention and care.
Q4: It is reported that Xuhui Runway Park is applying for SITES certification. Can you share more about your work on ecology and rainwater recollection?
Yu Zhu, SASAKI: As the first landscape project in China to receive SITES certification, SASAKI has considered low-impact development strategies from the early stages of the project, including rainwater treatment and low-carbon concepts. Based on our understanding of the site, the most reasonable design decisions are made.
Shuyi Chang, SWA: The initial focus of the Shanghai Landscape Forum was to provide an opportunity for industry insiders to gather together and speak for the industry. Design itself should not emphasize what is done, but the initial ideas and inspiration for the design, how to respect people, respect nature, respect the site and ecology. Therefore, as landscape architects, we do not deliberately emphasize what we have done, but we should be more detailed, through design, subtly affecting the owners, transforming the environment, and creating a better future.
A (Quintessenz_Tomislav Topic): 作为一个外国艺术家，中国这个大环境在文化层面给予我的设计灵感，比任何一个个体给予我的影响要深远得多。
A （HASSELL_Liam Mouritz）: 拥抱本地文化是正确理解一个场所和它的使用者的前提。
Q5: How should young designers with a foreign educational background and an international perspective apply this knowledge in their design work and respond to local information and culture to the greatest extent possible?
Zhiqiang Zeng, SASAKI: International education offers systematic design methodology and a general design method. The inspiration for design, on the other hand, can be rooted in culture, combined with the memory of the place.
Manfred Pan, ASPECT Studios: Western design values are logical and rational. This should be the basis of the design. Aesthetics, experience, memory, and resonance are the superstructures that need to be combined with culture.
Tomislav Topic, Quintessenz: As a foreigner, I think what China can offer at the cultural level is far more profound than the intellectual impact that individuals can provide.
Liam Mouritz, HASSELL: Embracing the local culture is a prerequisite for a proper understanding of a place and its users.
A （Gossamer_Nicola Balch）: 有时好的设计是无声胜有声的，我们应该避免过度的设计。好的设计是为场地作出最合适的建议，而不是满足设计师个人的偏好。
Q6: How do designers achieve a balance of perceived experiences in the design, to ensure a pleasant experience, while avoiding perception overload?
Shuyi Chang, SWA: Only through rational analysis and superposition of emotional moods can the most reasonable conclusion be reached.
Nicola Balch, Gossamer: The best design is to do nothing. Over-design should always be avoided. A good design considers what is appropriate to the site instead of trying to fulfill personal interests.
Zhiqiang Zeng, SASAKI: The first impression of the site has a huge impact. Good design should be based on the first impression, based on the characteristics of the site, reflecting the quality in the details.
After half an hour of active discussion, the 5th Shanghai Landscape Forum was successfully concluded.
We thank all the attendees for their participation and for a successful event.
Please contact email@example.com if you have any questions. For information on previous forums:
Shanghai Landscape Forum: Future of Infrastructure – September 2018
Sasaki Presents at Shanghai Landscape Forum – May 2018
Shanghai Landscape Forum Discusses Eco-Restoration – October 2017
Zhang Speaks at Shanghai Landscape Forum – April 2017
Dou Zhang, ASLA, PLA, LEED AP BD+C, SITES AP, is Senior Associate and Director, Shanghai Office, at Sasaki and Co-Chair of the ASLA International Practice Professional Practice Network (PPN).