In Poetic Association: Acts of Architecture in the Realm of Landscape Ecology

Brook Muller


This paper describes metaphorical engagement of ecology as a strategy for designing human inhabitation catalyzed by and supportive of healthy urban ecosystems. A case is made for the importance and timliness of collaboration and conceptual association between architects and landscape ecologists. Next, the Australian architect Richard Leplastrier’s notion of architecture as “furnishing with particular purpose this larger room we are in” – suggestive of both the architect’s role and the context of an architectural undertaking – is examined as a prototype for approaching problems of design in an environmentally sensitive manner. A pilot studio attempt to engage ecological issues through metaphor is described, and building from this experiment andLepastrier’s statement, a palette of “human act/environment” case study metaphors is offered foruse in design. Lastly I offer a methodology for testing these metaphors in advanced architecturaldesign studios and evaluating their influence on students’ design thinking and the environmental responsiveness of projects that result.

Keywords: Architectural Design, Landscape Ecology, Metaphor

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