Lecture by Maria Kaltsa

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Apr 8, 2014, 18.00 Uhr


ETH Zürich
Campus Hönggerberg
Gebäude HIL, Auditorium E 4
Stefano-Franscini-Platz 5
8093 ZüricAs a practicing architect for over 20 years, Maria Kaltsa shared Greece’s “2005 Award” for the central archaeological promenade in Athens and now a first prize for Thessaloniki’s new landmark.

Until recently, Kaltsa served as General Secretary of Planning and Urban Development at the Greek Ministry of the Environment, where she established a department of architecture, initiated a new national green building code, two Biennale participations, and several architectural competitions. She actively supported regulatory plans and frameworks for the sustainable development of metropolitan regions, as well as anti-urban decay policies, and managed public–private partnerships for the metropolitan project designs at Faliro, “RE-THINK ATHENS”. Maria Kaltsa holds architecture degrees from Cooper Union and Yale University.

DLA Poster Competition

Poster Competition extended till April 20th!


We are looking for projects which challenge the application of state of the art technologies in order to advance the discipline of landscape architecture and planning. If you are looking for an international platform to showcase and discuss your work, you are welcome to submit your poster with your best project!

• You are a landscape architecture/planning student, a recent graduate of a landscape architecture/planning program, PhD candidate or a young researcher.
• Present the result process in A0 size (portrait) and include all information: source(s) of data; details of your team and name of software program(s).
Participants with the 5 best posters are invited to give a short presentation before an audience of peers and specialists on the 23rd of May 2014 at ETH Zurich, Switzerland during the DLA 2014 conference.
Registration fee: 120 CHF for the whole conference or 60 CHF for a 1 day entry for contributors of all accepted poster submissions.
Deadline for digital submission (pdf): 20 April 2014 to: dla-poster2014@ethz.ch

DLA 2014

Using plants to purify canal water

Researchers outline a natural way to clean Italy’s polluted Pontine Marshes

Peter Dizikes, MIT News Office
April 7, 2010


Just south of Rome lie the Pontine Marshes, a vexed part of the Italian countryside. In ancient times, Roman emperors tried unsuccessfully to drain the marshes, something only achieved in the 1930s through a system of massive pumps and canals that removed enough water to turn the area into productive farmland. Yet today those canals have become heavily polluted, endangering the area’s agriculture and the health of its residents.

The conventional way of tackling the problem would be to build a series of large water-treatment plants in the area, which covers about 300 square miles. But Alan Berger, an associate professor of urban design and landscape architecture at MIT, has another idea. Because some plants absorb pollutants as water flows by them, carefully designed wetlands can clean up the countryside while preserving its natural feel and providing public park space.

read more




David Hockney_Photographic Collages

Hockney, David (1937- ). British painter, draughtsman, printmaker, photographer, and designer. After a brilliant prize-winning career as a student at the Royal College of Art, Hockney had achieved international success by the time he was in his mid-20s, and has since consolidated his position as by far the best-known British artist of his generation. His phenomenal success has been based not only on the flair, wit, and versatility of his work, but also on his colorful personality, which has made him a recognizable figure even to people not particularly interested in art: a film about him entitled A Bigger Splash (1974) enjoyed considerable popularity in the commercial cinema.

In the 1980s he has experimented much with photography, producing, for example, photographic collages and — since 1986 — prints created on photocopiers.







Marc Wilson & Patrick Sykes: The Last Stand

Timing is everything in Marc Wilson’s photographs. “You maybe get ten minutes,” he says, “before the sun has come up above the horizon but you have some light, a very soft grey and blue.” The landscapes he shoots are similarly precarious. Wilson’s series The Last Stand documents the remains of coastal fortifications that lined Northern Europe during the Second World War — bunkers swallowed by the sea, pillboxes barely clinging to land, buildings ripped from their foundations and wrecked on the rocks — from Allied positions on England’s east coast and the far tip of the Northern Isles, to the once German-occupied archipelago of the Channel Islands and the remains of the Atlantikwall, the colossal Nazi defense network which stretched from Norway to Spain.


The series draws attention to places that were once vital to world affairs and have since been left to ruin, their histories obscured or forcibly erased. One photograph, taken in Wissant, France, depicts a bunker that was later declared a safety hazard and demolished by the local government. Wilson is adamant that the sites should be left untouched. He understands the desire to break with the past, he says, “but if you start removing all the physical reminders, then we’ll have no history left. I don’t think they should be preserved as such, but they need to be protected from a secondary human interaction. That natural process of time is important.”

That protective impulse is evident in his compositions. In addition to the early-morning light, which flattens out any dramatic shadows, Wilson’s preference for using a large format camera helps to naturalize the elements in the frame. More importantly, the fortifications are always framed in their surroundings: they are never abstracted as pure architecture, and there are no interior views. After selecting a subject, he says, “I’d try and get as far back from it as I could, so I could see it as much within its environment as possible, then walk back towards it until I’d found the right composition where the object sat in the landscape.” At Arromanches les bains, Normandy — heart of the D-Day landings — he stood further back, “to show more respect.”

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Wilson’s images invite the viewer to revisit the scene and plot the traces between the built and unbuilt elements, quietly posing the question of what took place there. The line between natural and unnatural — already camouflaged by architects who designed the defenses to blend in with the landscape — has been progressively blurred over time, and Wilson’s photographs are studies of buildings that have taken on features of their surroundings: a forest bunker in Lossiemouth, Scotland, is overrun by dappled moss; a pillbox in nearby Findhorn is invaded by algae; the bricks of an outpost at St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall, England, are weathered by a sea that does not discriminate between the fortification and the rock on which it stands. Perhaps most troubling is the possibility that it was all for nothing. Borders will be drawn, defended and abandoned for as long as human conflict exists, but the passage of time, as revealed in nature’s slow, disinterested advance, renders the effort to defend them insignificant.

We talk about the ethics of aestheticizing decay. Is there not a risk in making something beautiful out of something terrible? “If someone photographs something that’s decaying for purely visual reasons then I don’t see the point of it,” Wilson says, “because you’re ignoring the history of the place, and if anything is ruined or abandoned then there’s always going to be a history to it.” His aim, rather, is to produce “constant, never-changing visual triggers” — stills only in the photographic sense — which evoke a larger history.

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When Paul Virilio walked sections of the Atlantikwall for his book Bunker Archaeology(1994), he noted a fundamental shift in military design. Until World War II, he wrote, “Fortifications had always been oriented toward a specific, staked-out objective: the defense of a passageway, a pass, steps, valleys, or ports.” Along the Atlantikwall, however, “You could walk day after day along the seaside and never once lose sight of these concrete altars built to face the void of the oceanic horizon. The immensity of this project is what defies common sense; total war was revealed here in mythic dimension.” Wilson’s photographs play on the pathos of this mythic dimension. Fixed, monolithic, but without solid foundation, many of his concrete altars face at least half a frame of empty expanse — sea or sky. They have been left behind by the war they waged — yet their melancholy watch continues.

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The shifting landscape can impede that lookout only temporarily. Should the bunkers become submerged in water or subsumed by sand, Wilson says, “They’ll always be there; we just won’t have access to them. And in twenty, thirty years, they may reappear, as the water levels go down, as the sand dunes shift. So you could have these bits of memory and history constantly peeking out again and then disappearing — a beautiful idea.”

— Patrick Sykes



In Landscapes Photography

Today, photographer Petros Koublis, presents this magnificent work called “In Landscapes” where nature takes on a dimension of peace with a beauty frozen in time. Almost all of these pictures were taken just 50 kms from Athens to highlight the timeless face of Greek political decline beauty. Photographs of breathtaking beauty to discover below.


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Patricia Johanson

(Born September 8, 1940, New York City)


Patricia Johanson is known for her large-scale art projects that create aesthetic and practical habitats for humans and wildlife. She designs her functional art projects, created with and in the natural Landscape, to solve infrastructure and environmental problems, but also to reconnect city-dwellers with nature and with the history of a place. Johanson’s work has also been classified as Land Art, Site-specific Art and Garden Art.( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patricia_Johanson)

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 “Johanson’s designs for sewers, parks, and other functional projects not only speak to deep human needs for beauty, culture, and historical memory. She also answers to the needs of birds, insects, fish, animals, and microorganisms. Her art reclaims degraded ecologies and creates conditions that permit endangered species to thrive in the middle of urban centers…. Using the structures of nature as a way of thinking, she reconciles delicacy with strength, generosity with power, and creativity with consequence.”