If there is no such thing as nature as a whole, perhaps there is landscape as a cabinet of curiosities. Thereby, in the best of cases, this lack of wholeness seems to be a gain rather than a loss. What is required for this kind of reinterpretation is an attentive observer who collects the various phenomena as individual elements, relates them to each other and rearranges them. Günther Vogt is one such collector, and his cabinet of curiosities can reveal both landscapes and his approach to them.
Using a typological structure (landscape, park, square, garden,promenade, etc.), Günther Vogt describes the theoretical foundation on which the successful projects of Vogt Landscape Architects are based.
The theme of paradise is presented in eight illustrated essays that are based on individual and collective activities: community gardens in Berlin, war gardens in Iraq, the prayers rugs of Muslims and eruvs, which are fences that enclose a Jewish residential area and allow the circumvention of the rule of not carrying anything on Shabbat. Other contributions are dedicated to a putative paradise to which trusting borrowers succumb or The Whole Earth Catalog, which was a kind of precursor of the Web search machines in the early 1970s.
What are the references for designing the urban landscape? What are the archetypes of landscape in our imaginations, to which our parks and squares refer? Today, everyone of us can visit the most impressive, exotic and extreme landscapes in a split second via the World Wide Web. This fact makes the natural and sociocultural givens of a place an even more meaningful foundation for the design of authentic exterior spaces which are sustainable in terms of both ecology and content.
The street has always been one of the most significant public spaces. Particularly in Asian cities, the street – not the square – remains even today the most important location for the activities of daily life. In Tokyo, the street is not merely an area for traffic, but rather space for communication and action; a space that is both lived in and enlivened.
Exotic trees in England and a rainforest in Zurich, a seed bank on the arctic island of Spitsbergen and urban agriculture in Tanzania, trade in old trees in China and biodiversity in Senegal. Tree Nursery. Cultivating the Urban Jungle uses the example of plant production throughout the world to demonstrate the manifold relationships that exist between human beings and nature. Numerous essays and detailed accounts examine current phenomena like desertification in the Sahel, greening projects in Shanghai and the genesis of rooftop gardens in London.
After 'Miniature and Panorama', 'Distance and Engagement', the new book by Alice Foxley, Vogt Landscape Architects, has appeared in autumn 2010.
Günther Vogt and his landscape architects have developed a radically subjective approach to landscape architecture based on 'field trips' to landscapes. The synthesis of these landscapes and its transformation into criteria for landscape architecture projects is the subject of Distance and Engagement: Walking, Thinking and Making Landscape.
The public space of the street must offer the most diverse social groups many possibilities for their uses and activities and is in turn decisively shaped by them. A comprehensive photo catalogue of these activities has been compiled from numerous photographic observations in Berlin, Shanghai, Tokyo and Zurich. Based on the collected photographic material, specific themes are singled out as examples for each city, presented in extensive picture series and reflected by the accompanying text in order to highlight four characteristic uses of public spaces and the atmosphere in the respective cities.
Miniature and Panorama offers a look at projects since 2000 by the firm Vogt Landscape architects, Zurich/Munich, which is internationally active. With photographs, plans, and explanatory texts, this volume sets forth the intellectual foundation on which the projects of Vogt Landscape architects are based. In words and pictures, it describes and illuminates thirty projects, organized according to the exterior typologies of landscape, park, square, garden, cemetery, courtyard, promenade, and interior.
The world of plants is comparable with an apparently infinitely large library of books. How else can we describe the abundant shapes, colours, sizes and smells? In everyday reality we are helped by the manageable qualities of a garden, whose contained dimensions and resources have a liberating effect. Our attention is drawn not by the totality of the plants, but by the selection. Hence a perfect garden can move us more than untouched nature.