- Landscape Architecture
Landscape as House
”Landscape as House” is about animating my families landscape through a new form of topographic living: a frag-mented house embedded into forests, meadows and the village. This house creates a life constituted of movement through landscape, on the scale of a farmers ground, with rooms inhabiting its topography. Routines and rituals rooted in the change of weather. walking as a domestic action.
At the beginning of the last century my great-grandfather migrated into the valley of the Bregenzerwald in the northern alps - the heart of Europe. He inherited a small farmyard, enough to feed a family and passed it on to my grandfather. Like most people in the post-war era my grandparents went from being peasants, living from the land, towards partici-pating in a wage labour society in an urbanised environment. With this big scale change in lifestyle, the deeper connec-tion to landscape that people had through constant interaction with their environment, is now limited to having a house with a view and a garden. Like everywhere in Europe, the active making of cultural landscape today is left to less than 2 percent of the people.
Despite being a police officer, my grandfather kept his inherited land as a whole until today. He animated an entire farming landscape in a way of his own, through maintaining and tending this heritage. Through cutting, planting, mow-ing, building, repairing he continued a connection to landscape in his own idea of dwelling and inhabiting. Later all his daughters should have a house and a piece of land to inherit themselves.
In the Bregenzerwald one can still find many traces of this topographic way of living: made by one of the last trans-humant farmers of the alps, as well as through small domestic rituals still present within the lifestyle of the peri-urban dweller. Just like my grandfather, many people still own pieces of landscape once taken care of by their farmer-ancestors. Small plots of forests and meadows, rights to water and passage, old farmhouses and mountain huts. Through this heritage and an appreciation of the values embedded within, small routines and rituals connected to the landscape are embodied until today.
My project seeks to renew my own connection with the landscape of my family and creates a personal space that leads to a new form of topographic living. Topographic living means a life of constant interaction between myself and my environment, between what is considered inside and outside, building and landscape, mine and others. A way of living leading towards a new formation of cultural landscape where contemporary domestic actions gradually change the landscape of the Bregenzerwald. my design interventions are opening up and diversifying existing spaces, creating new meaning for ordinary landscape elements. “Topographic furnitures” create new relationships between domestic activities and the landscape that they inhabit.
Essential to “Landscape as House” is it’s fragmented character of space that leads to a daily rhythm of movement from room to room. This movement comes into being through the embedding of a personal routine into the landscape and leads to more awareness of surrounding, time and space – one might say a ritualisation of dwelling. Seasons are a domestic experience, acts of maintenance become ritual. Through walking this house is continuously reenacted, build-ing up new relations between the landscape, the rooms and myself.
This project is my personal exploration of what it means to live in landscape. To experience it, learn from it, animate it and take care of it. Every day.
Graduation committee: Marieke Timmermanns (mentor), Anouk Vogel and Bruno Vermeersch. Extra members for the examination: Bruno Doedens and Hanneke Kijne.