Concepts of infrastructure and landscape patterns, new concepts explored

Vrijlandt P. & J. Kruit, 2001, Concepts of infrastructure and landscape patterns, new concepts explored, in: ECLAS (J. de Vries), ‘Integration of infrastructure and landscape architecture’, Larenstein University of Professional Education, Velp

  • Author : Vrijlandt P. & J. Kruit
  • Year : 2001
  • Published in Book : Integration of infrastructure and landscape architecture
  • Pages : 35-62
  • Abstract in English : The design of large-scale infrastructure has long been an important aspect of landscape architecture. With motorway and railway networks currently making ever greater inroads into the landscape, it is time for us to reflect on the concepts underlying their design. This article discusses the development of a number of infrastructure concepts. We argue that serious attention should be paid to concepts that can successfully bridge the gap between the two extremes that currently dominate the debate. The first of these extremes is the so-called 'conservative' approach, which focuses on the negative impact of motorway projects on the existing landscape. This approach tries to minimise the negative impact of new infrastructural elements on the existing landscape, within which they are denied an integral role. The second approach is a relatively recent development that started out as a reaction to the first. Known as the 'positive' approach, it emphasises the aesthetics of the highway landscape, and has an eye only for the road as a beautiful landscape in itself. As people spend so much time in cars, it argues, why not make their trip a pleasant one? In this article, we present concepts that explore various options for granting longdistance motorways a specific identity in local landscape patterns. Our work is based on examples of different infrastructure projects carried out by students of landscape architecture. In these projects new infrastructure was approached as an integral part of the new landscape. The focus of the concept investigated by the students concerned the differences and correspondences between the 'universal' and 'non-place' characteristics of large-scale infrastructure, and between the 'place-related' landscape patterns with their 'genius loci' character. Such 'space versus place' concepts make it possible to examine design options capable of expressing the 'floating' character of motorways in local landscape patterns. We also conclude that special attention must be paid to the nodes in the networks, as it is here that the relationships between the different levels of networks can be brought to expression. At the same time, these nodes are the transition points where the differences between the 'universal' and the 'genius loci' landscapes can be experienced.