Modelled Nature – naturalistic elements in urban planning

This work is a synthesis of the characteristic
features of naturalism in urban design, which goes beyond strictly building
elements and encompasses the question of vegetation that constitutes an important element of a
designed spatial composition. The issue of the relation between building
elements and nature has
a wide bibliography about its planning scales, whereas its implementing scales
have hardly any. Greenery at this particular level is no longer indefinite, but
becomes defined, consisting of particular species and varieties which create
either structures able to exist independently or artistic structures demanding
constant intervention. Through artistic features of geometric forms it is easy
to convey abstract meanings, different ideas, or to emphasise certain
functions. On the whole, this style is easier
to understand in its cultural connotations.

In contrast, the naturalistic style is less
readable, functioning at the level
of biological response, beyond our consciousness. It increases in value,
however, owing to its authentic help in the proper functioning of living
organisms, including man. Although the naturalistic space requires certain
effort in its perception, it is by the separation of forms associated with
places of work and daily life that psychosomatic regeneration is provided. In
comparison to the anthropogenic space, this style is characterised by reduced
stimuli and their considerable distinctiveness, often creating an exceptionally
favourable bio-climate. The term reduced stimuli does not imply here any formal
simplicity. On the contrary, naturalistic structures display diversity and
formal richness as well as complexity and completeness to a much higher degree
than geometric structures. Accents are placed here in a more subtle and harmonious

A positive aspect of the present work is to
demonstrate certain possibilities of the formal shaping of naturalistic objects
while preserving their natural value. The basic condition, however, is to let
greenery keep a certain margin of freedom, which will enable the presence of
natural processes, including natural succession. It has
to be accepted that as a result the aesthetic expression will undergo changes
that will almost get out of control.

The present work develops a number of issues
considered to be vital when explaining the topic in question. There is
described a brief history of naturalism
in architecture and urban planning which led to the codification of regulations
concerning environmental protection and sustainable development. The legal acts
support the idea of not only value protection but also of their reconstruction.
What is particularly important, the application of the regulations, in
consequence, connects care of local nature with protection of cultural
identity, becoming a synergic relation. Thus a building surrounded by local
natural plants seems to be unique in the world, which raises our hopes of
counteracting the homogeneity of world architecture. Such danger is proven by
the analysis of the dominating philosophical trends in modern architecture. At
the same time, this analysis reveals that all the trends include certain
naturalistic features by remaining faithful to natural processes or by, at
least, planning elements in a naturalistic way. Similar relations are
observable in various trends
of art, which proves the high cultural potential of naturalistic landscape

The present work discusses examples of
functional relations linking natural
and urban structures. It also proves the possibility of creating arrangements
consisting of elements of naturalistic character. Such arrangements have
special aesthetics whose full perception requires certain background knowledge.
It is
not easy to understand and appreciate naturalistic arrangements without
popularising knowledge of real natural values. Otherwise, many stimulated
can be produced beyond the user?s consciousness or they can lose significance.
Analogically, the richness of meanings linked with aspects of cultural values
could be accessible only to very few. Each aspect discussed is summed up with
an appropriate model which indicates the essential features of space modelled
in a naturalistic way. The effect of their confrontation is a heuristic model,
determining the aims of structures built naturalistically, depending on their
local conditions.
The organic process of building could be achieved by following the principle
of adjusting a designed structure to a wide range of environmental processes
happening in the particular area.Local conditions as well as the designer?s own decisions contribute to the
implementation of an object in one of the four types defined in terms of their
naturalistic reference. They are the following: thenatural type ? preserving the local natural
values to the maximum; the organic type ? modelling the features of an object
while protecting the local values; the picturesque type ? improving appearance
of the greenery of an object with a limited care for the ecological values; and
the geometric type ? expressing free artistic creation. Characteristics of that
types enable to definecriteria
for the indicator of biologically active areas with the possible wide range of
relation with local nature system
in the town.

  • Title Original : Natura modelowana, elementy naturalistyczne w kompozycji urbanistycznej
  • Website : http://
  • Project start : 2011
  • Project end : 2012
  • Contact Person : Krzysztof Rostanski
  • Funding Agency : Narodowe Centrum Nauki (National Science Center)
  • Project structure :
    Developing of naturalistic idea (historical models, low model, idea models)  - Naturalistic form (aesthetic model, formal model, perceptional model) - Function of natiralistic greenery (functional model) - Results (heuristic model) - implementation walues (typology of naturalistic green areas with relations to master plan studies; criteria for the indicator of biologically active areas)