Landscape and the Moving Image: An Interview With Silvia Benedito

Silvia Benedito, lecturer of landscape architecture at Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) and principal at Oficinaa, has a long interest in the relationship between video and design. As a master’s student in urban design at Harvard, she cross-enrolled in film-making courses and submitted a video-based thesis. This semester Benedito is teaching a course at the GSD titled Landscape as Moving Image, which focuses on not only situating historically the relationship between cinema and landscape, but also speculating how, as landscape architects, we can use video as both a catalyst and as a communication device for our projects. I sat down with her recently to talk about the impact of and potentials for video on the profession and the complex relationship between landscape and sensory media.

Why landscape as “moving image”? Continue reading

Combinatory Behavior: Thom Mayne With Charles Waldheim

Thom Mayne and Charles Waldheim talked about land art, Ralph Knowles, and what it’s like to work with landscape architects two weeks ago at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. 

“Since what Mr. Palomar means to do at this moment is simply see a wave—that is, to perceive all its simultaneous components without overlooking any of them—his gaze will dwell on the movement of the wave that strikes the shore until it can record aspects not previously perceived; as soon as he notices that the images are being repeated, he will know he has seen everything he wanted to see and he will be able to stop.”

−Italo Calvino, Mr. Palomar, trans. William Weaver

Thom Mayne’s first professional experience after graduating college was at the office of architect Victor Gruen, a Viennese socialist famous for trying to improve the civic life of the American suburb and ended up inventing the shopping mall. It was here that Mayne learned the trouble of making buildings without meaningful connections to their site, and that it is these connections, not the monument itself that make the building. “Early on, I didn’t see a building as a singular thing,” Mayne says, “but as a complex series of things responding to the complexities of the site condition.” Continue reading