PUBLIC SPACE and NATURE AS A DESIGN TOOL
While looking at the countryside sprawl, we noticed some interesting things of this area in relation to city areas. In terms of accessibility, we could compare the countryside to the city; here roads are separating blocks of land, while in the city roads are separating blocks of housing facilities. But both types of blocks are private property and therefore not accessible.
From ‘after-sprawl’ of Xaveer de Geyter:
“Right now nature is just the space in between the built spaces, the space left over, to which most architects and urban planners don’t pay many attention. Until now there has only been regarded to the sprawl as what has been built; not to the un-built.“
We thought about typologies of nature elements which you can find in the Flemish countryside, and created some natural building components. Using nature as a design tool!
Some interventions exposed in the book are dealing with the physical collective experience of the landscape; some spaces are public, so physically accessible, others are just visual involving people.
Although the countryside seems to be open space, and therefore more accessible and penetrable than the city landscape, it is not. Because of private property of the land at the countryside, the landscape can only be experienced from the public roads and spots. Though it opens lots of new views on the surrounding landscape if you could leave the public roads and enter private property.
So we pose the question; what if the we would provide the same quantity of public space in the countryside as in the city?
ANALYSIS OF DAILY PERSONAL SEQUENCES AND PATTERNS
In former times, life at the countryside was way more locally oriented than nowadays. Everything was provided at the farm and there was no possibility of going far away because there was the farm to take care of. Thanks to increasing mobility nowadays, people can live a kind of city life at the countryside: they have a wide range of choices and can compose their own personal city out of the fragmented field of sprawl.
We made a selection of some personal daily patterns and sequences of countryside inhabitants to show their ‘territory’, the connectivity of the area, and how accessibility is influencing daily life. These two should be regarded as separate things; same as in the city the shortest way is not always the most easy, fast or preferable one. When there is a line between two points, those points are connected. But when they are related by having a certain importance for each other, they become accessible for one another.
And that is what our strategy is about: creating relations. Referring to our previous work and the thought about whether people feel more connected when there is a bigger distance between them, this is a thought we cannot confirm with certainty. But we can create inter-relations that are not just connecting, but making what they connect dependent from each other and useful for each other.
From ‘Integral Urbanism’ of Nan Ellin:
“Our current task is mending the seams in our disciplines, professions, and urban fabrics that have been torn as under. Rather than presume an opposition between people and nature, buildings and landscape, and architecture and landscape architecture, Integral Urbanism regards these as complementary or contiguous. Rather than generate perfect objects or separate programs and functions, Integral Urbanism aims to build relationships. The emphasis thus shifts from centers to the border, boundary, edge, periphery, margin, interstices, and in between. It also shifts from objects to relationships”