Landscape Architecture

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This is an article based on experience and therefore no published 1:1 source exists. The experience includes work experience, personal experience and personal knowledge, found in publications, but deployed for and during a life time. A poster and an abstract were published in St. Petersburg, Russia for the 52nd World Congress of The International Federation of Landscape Architects 2015 based on the content of this page in January - March 2015 and is available online on IFLA World Congress 2015 Proceedings for review and download, p 142.

All icons, drawings and images are property of heliotroph and available for fair use. Thank you.


The terminology and the definition of landscape architecture have changed. Still in a move, one can place it under planning disciplines. Transforming and adapting to different fields and necessities, both human and environmental. It is also a learning discipline: operators have to deal with every possible issue involved in the planning process – including the unforeseeable – determined by the space one works with. Another field it can be list under is construction. It is a discipline where ideas become alive and physical, set up by an operator. From design to construction review. Usually when talking about landscape architecture one refers to the outside space considering natural processes. An open space in the public realm.


A flat space. Constructed by 2 vectors. Visible from above. It describes the space one uses, when one is drawing a ground plan.

The tools are lines, geometric forms, areas, textures, structures, colors, text, numbers, measures, special characters and much more.



The space which opens up a room with 3 vectors. It is easy to define this architectural space in relation to a building, as the area which surrounds it.

This conception of landscape architecture, as a planning discipline of its own, emerged during the early 19th century. Whereas previously such tasks were solved by architects. For this reason, landscape architecture was always bound with architecture itself and its own understanding of space in correlation to buildings, as the space in-between.

ICON 3D ALA space FMBB.jpg

The perception of landscape architectural space. This space can be perceived as a space constructed around a perceiving subject. One could describe it as a stage. A horizontal space with its special character. When one moves a whole wall transforms into a concave area with which one engages.

ICON perception of space FMBB.jpg

Space is always around us, regardless of being (inside or outside a building). Inside or outside the landscape architectural space. To reflect, what architecture and landscape architecture brings together one needs to understand what environment means. For a landscape architect in practice it always points towards an ecological field, where one has to deal with issues of protection, for example. For an architect, environment can mean this as well, but the thought can also bring us to a combination, where space is placed. The environment is the space, where everything happens and both situations of space, the landscape architectonic and the architectonic space are part of. Here and to make it easier for the understanding and for the usage of the terminologies in everyday life, landscape architectural space can somehow stand as a synonym for the 'outside' and architectural space as a synonym for the 'inside'. Otherwise on top or underneath. To give a simple technical explanation of this: It means, because buildings are often wrapped in walls and a skeleton, it feels, that we are talking about an inside space. Landscape architecture refers to an outside space, underneath the open sky. Of course there are combinations possible. What for example is a covered courtyard or a green area with a glass roof? So there must be added another parameter which helps to define the terms.

The Content of Green.

The landscape architectonic space is recognizable by its content of green in every possible way and how this content is placed and spreads out within its placement, which does it mostly in a horizontal direction. For nowadays architecture understanding this may look like a very limited definition, because buildings can also contain 'green'. In this way, landscape architectonic space is difficult to locate. And for practical reasons one can rely on the kind of professions, which have to deal with it and therefore select another category for telling what is what. But within this case it is also possible to talk about both. If the project itself includes more architectonic problems, it can be called architectural space. If it contains more landscape architectonic facts, one can tell about landscape architecture. The boundaries are shifting.

The Quality of Surface.

The dimension of soil in a negative vertical direction, towards the inner earth, is important for defining the kind of space. In both cases one also needs to consider the type of surface, where the built and placed objects are. The material of the surface, the attributes of the soil. Landscape architecture is as much as architecture, determined by the surface, where it should be. Both need a ground to be placed and to just be. This, without consideration of space architecture flying around in the universe. Landscape architecture can be often found and felt by its direct contact to an organic underground and the direct contact the perceiver has, when he is engaging with the space, by touching. A possible way is analyzing the kind of materials which were used and bring them into order, additional telling its sources and decide, either architecture or landscape architecture based, if necessary.

Height and Depth.

Another main factor is the altitude. Landscape architectural space is often arranged in the horizontal dimension. Architecture can be noticed out of huge distances, because of its mostly dominant vertical dimensions.

ICON Altitude Importance of Height and Depth FMBB.jpg

ICON The directions of architectural and landscape architectural space FMBB.jpg


Tools are essential. What can be a tool is a question of interpretation. In this case and referring to the pre-listed points, tools are described through its orientation and using in space itself. A tool is a method to express ones imagination and ones aim, ones solutions and ones visions. Determined by that it is all a question of measures.


All that space we can see, all the physical build space around us has its own measures. It is a question of perspective and the point of view. Measurements are given through the typical measuring unit of the country, where the creating process takes place, regarding to practice. But the eye always brings a scale, which the observer sets by itself. Inside and outside.

Zero space in your AutoCAD file, non-space in layout, scale space when printed.


To set your own rules and restrictions for the creation of space can be a tool as well. By asking questions: 'What is allowed? What do I not want?' (exclusion principle) the planner can go as far as he pleases. There are always basic circumstances which need to be considered. But while trying to find the optional solution on another layer, it can help to step forward quickly within this process. It is to sharpen the actors and operators own view and turn it into the form more precisely. And it helps to come to a conclusion and show the steps clearly: by always looking forward, but allowing to look backwards, within the same stage of work. How limited can it be?


It is the strongest and the most unpredictable tool the operator can use to create. This material is alive and changes while put into the created scenario. Different habitats, different plants.

How much control can one have over nature?

The Presence of Materials.

How the place unfolds and winds itself around to become a prisoner in its own being or turning around to become the observer of what it would never become.


Materials equals tools. The planner picks what will shape the idea of the space he has in mind.

Through which materials should the place be experienced? Through which face should the place become a stage?


The amount of change and how important it is are questions of the perception of the participants in the process itself.

There are always factors which effects change on the physical building itself, after the construction is finished.

The Attempt of Concurrence.

Ecological strategy types of plants are: C-, S- and R- strategics. Being separated or growing in a pack, compact.

Using the knowledge to analyze the behavior of human.

Taste equals Sound.

To show up and dance and to see how the living takes place and marks the space. Dancing heart. Beating lighting.


To tell a story the language can be word-based or image-orientated. The language can have a sound which doesn't need any voice, it can be told through movements, gestures or a moment through another production.


. o

How many different sound sources are present?

How many different sound sources are present in/at/on the space you are present?

Are your ears good enough to hear them?

FMBB, The Bells of St. Paul's Cathedral, London, January, 2015

FMBB, The Sound of EPFL, Lausanne, October, 2014


I . . . . . . . . .

. I . . . . . . . .

. . I . . . . . . .

. . . I . . . . . .

. . . . I . . . . .

. . . . . I . . . .

. . . . . . I . . .

. . . . . . . I . .

. . . . . . . . I .

. . . . . . . . . I

On a scale from 1-10 : 1=quietest & 10=loudest. Check yourself.


Different cities, different speeds.


The mind frame makes the picture. A picture made of pixels. Single pictures form a whole video, which can be the video of your life, your world, the world of the landscape architect, the world of the architect, the world of the canal worker, the world of tomorrow, the world of world, the world is in your head and outside.


A photograph shows a moment. A part of the whole and can be used to underline details or show an impression.

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Through a movement from one point the observer can catch the space around in a single picture strip (perception of space). This tool allows catching a whole scenery, not only a squared format excerpt of the/your/our world/space/place/time/mind frame.


Loud, quiet and silent. Voiceless. Noiseless. In a move.

Christophe Girot

video as a medium

Atelier Girot, Sigirino Survey – In collaboration with the LVML – ETH Zürich, 2013

FMBB about him 01/06/2016

Das Bild ist die Bewegung.

dreh dich um

dich selbst

und um dich selbst

und um dich selbst



Time is a factor, which always forms, influences, creates, transforms, makes space. To be honest time is the most important one and the most independent one. No-one has the skill to influence the fact, that time is happening, that a happening is happening because of time. We are at it's mercy. At least one thing, we can count on. And we can choose how we would like to manage our time and how we measure time, which is working around.

People's Behavior.

In this case I'll talk about a situation or a moment. A moment or a situation, situations and moments are created through different factors, which happen at the same time. It is a sequence of factors, parameters and influences, which makes the situation happen and creates the space.

Going through one of the following examples makes you able to adapt to outside conditions, if planning or thinking about space in the streets like street design or how to confirm a feeling-good-situation or feeling-at-home, feeling-safe-situation. How this can be created better, while taking the position of a person who is inside a building, regardless which floor it might be, but to be able of taking influencing factors into account and considering those while planning outside spaces, related to closed up spaces in front of buildings in an urban context or even within a settlement context.

Sitting in a shop as a cashier. This is a typical situation, which I'm going through every other day. I'm not the intending cashier, but I'm able to judge the situation out of the cashiers perspective. To analyze and understand this situation a bit better: There are different factors, bringing this one moment together or even creating the situation and letting it continuously happen: 1. The decision to enter as a customer : the cashier already saw or noticed you! 2. The size of the shop, cafe or place: Don't judge a book by it's cover! 3. The presentation of the products to influence your consumption behavior. Even if you don't know what to take before, you'll gonna know it later, but take time to read the menu. Don't expect things to happen. Don't expect shoes in a food store. Be open towards the products. One can have a look for later, with the correct attitude. 4. How much time do you have? Consider this before. Items 1-4 just show a raw overview of what the situation is about. As I'm not the cashier, I first need to take items, I can judge about, into consideration, before actually be able to judge about the other side: the cashier's perspective itself and then reflect back to my own issues, while use the experience for myself, out of the perspective of a landscape architect. For example: This place is small, but I like it a lot. Today I've decided to step by, but I've had to wait in line to order. It didn't disturb me, as I've had time. The line was so long, it even reached out of the place and made me wait in front of the place. But that also didn't matter, as there was plenty of outside-sitting-space provided and the weather was pretty good to take it all, as I've wanted my cafe this way today! All this was possible, because the cashier did it's job! and also, because I as a human being have desires. All other surrounding outside factors, I couldn't control and judge before, but I was open to let it happen as time always makes things happen anyway. The cashier treated me well, which will make me come back and allows him to continue with his business. The outside space made me even more happy and let me stay longer than usual. The landscape architect can already move into the situation, while thinking about the meaning of the situation itself, as done above and then start to think about: Where is my starting point in practice? Which can mean, right before the steps of the building's entry or right before the entry of the building. The landscape architect should even think about providing a safe way to the shop, from the customers home until the very entry of the building. This includes therefore thinking about outside space regarding traffic issues, safety issues, street design issues, sign issues, orientation issues, distance issues, time issues, stressing factors, weather issues and other situations, which can happen to make this or influence this entire moment.

Walking through a labyrinth. Where is the exit? When I was a kid, my father said I should always stay right to find the exit. I don't know anymore what happened after, but I think he had to safe me, as I started crying. Labyrinths and mazes are elements for amusement in the early centuries' garden design. But confronted with that situation as a kid, it is hell. Key points are orientation and signature design or the best playgrounds ever to vanish the need to exit.

Riding the train at night. This is the most interesting section for me to write about. It really is a tricky wicked thing, especially while traveling alone, especially, especially, while traveling as a woman, but this is not a must, it's how I experienced the situation. Riding the train at night. Factors which matter: 1. clothing and appearance 2. luggage 3. smell 4. voice 5. moving around 6. your own 7. light on, light off Items 1-7 show what main factors this situation is made of, as I've experienced or thought about. It starts already before you enter the train: to wait for the train around nighttime, regardless where you are, makes it already, special. All you have is: yourself (maybe companions, but here they don't count, as it is only out of a single perspective), your luggage and the actual waiting space. Influenced by your surroundings and your own mood, it already sets the mood you suppose to have, while later stay on the train. Everything or a huge amount of what you'll see and experience before, you'll bring with you on the train. So better become ready and relaxed. On the train you'll look for your place or a place, first the numbers and directions will become important, second the people and at last everything else. Placed and okay with yourself you'll start to open up for your surroundings a bit more, depends on how tired you are and so on. To make it easier at this point: this time will depend first on yourself, your mood and second on the environment. So everything considered you are placed and can confront yourself (again) with the items 1-7. Or when exactly will those items become active? Before or after? At both times. If you'll be confronted with a tricky situation which will make you feel inconvenient, the items 1-7 are the most important ones in the exact array listed. If you have troubles with 1 & 2 start to be secure at 3, as smell is really really important. Don't disturb and do what the other people do. 4-6 will be influenced through items 1-3, which therefore counts as a preparation to manage without get into trouble. Item 7 is also influenced by items 1-6. You will find out how to behave, by also doing what the others do or if you'll be lucky to have your own space, do what you like, but stay prepared. Given through the light on, light off situation, one should manage. What's the light on, light off situation? The light on, light off situation is the situation which will occur, if one is together with other people, on the train, in a sleeping wagon. Every time a new person will exit or enter or every other time, you have the change to see who it is or was. Good luck! Given through the fact that one isn't really able to look outside the window during night, if it is a dark one, the outside space is still important, but more in the background as it only will be useful to know, where you have to get off. Your outside space is already in the train. What a landscape architect can learn here and use for practice are: What kind of people are active during the nighttime and what are their desires? How to lead people through a safe space at night, as the landscape architect is directly confronted with the source of people, the intended users.

Walking through an urban set. It's crazy how different distances can appear, given through slopes, mountains and hill-situations compared to an even, wide path.

Buying some food in the streets. It is called street food! Live entertainment and joy.

Taking part on the system as a system. Expiration. Excretion. Life is all around us. Everything is alive, even if we forget sometimes or to often. All we do has an influence on life. We breathe bacteria. We take part on the system, while we provide our own system. Building up bridges to encounter. Do not forget that it has an impact. Everything has an effect.

I am sitting on my own bed and thinking about the world.

Light and Darkness.

white I black white black black I white


all just white I black, but in different shades of white and black

It's a question of perspective and scale/shade/percentage.

What do you see and how do you see the world?

Either you see the parts like it's white I black or black I white as the in-between/change room or pure white and black


You see the whole, the full, which makes always 2 things, which appears in different shades and makes the one thing, the moment you currently look at like a scale for:

white . . . . . . . . . . black

with already a degree/an estimation/impression, it's set:

white . . . . . I . . . . black

this with everything, either you zoom in or out, the two methods, Immanuel Kant already defined:

micro -> macro

small parts -> one common thing

macro -> micro

common things/one thing -> some special parts

Living Factors.

To be able to afford remaining on earth. To be able to cover the 3 living factors inside your social environment: clothing, food and a home.

What role does landscape architecture play here? How can be support it?


What does make you feel good?

What does make you being well?

Environmental Justice.

This section should have been published through the "ANNALS of the AAG" on Social Justice and the City in 2017, but they didn't want my work. Therefore I've decided to just publish it here.

What makes a difference at this point is that there is actually a 1:1 source, where to take the understanding of the actual term from. This on the one side, as it needs to be translated and fixed in formulation and on the other side to make the source visible, where the actual knowledge comes from, as it is a more theoretical thing.

The source of definition for this term is coming from an American source, which is the following:

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE or Department), Presidential Executive Order 12898, Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations, signed 02/11/1994, July, 2016

Environmental justice (EJ) is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies."

Fair treatment means that no group of people should bear a disproportionate share of the negative environmental consequences resulting from industrial, governmental, and commercial operations or policies.

Meaningful involvement means that: (1) people have an opportunity to participate in decisions about activities that may affect their environment and/or health; (2) the public's contribution can influence the regulatory agency's decision; (3) their concerns will be considered in the decision-making process; and (4) the decision makers seek out and facilitate the involvement of those potentially affected.

Environmental justice will be achieved when everyone enjoys the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards and equal access to the decision-making process to enjoy a healthy, sustainable environment in which to live, learn, work and play.

The work I wanted to submit should have been a picture story of Environmental Justice in the city where I live, which is NYC. I was concerned about the pictures at the end, because I didn't know about the laws and if it would actually hurt someone`s privacy, which then would have been completely against the theme itself. The AAG didn't want it, as they were not sure about the form, as they wanted to have the usual conservative written example, which I've found quite boring at the end. Anyway, this project should have been something to support my passion for pictures and photographs, but I kind of always end up shooting the sky when I'm on my way. What I wanted to show through it is how the reality looks and how it separates itself from the theoretical written word. It is not something completely new to come up with in that sense, it is more the intent and the production of the picture brochure, which might have been controversial. I don't give up, because of this, my eyes are still quite open, while walking my way through the urban jungle. What I can tell until now, is, that Environmental Justice is a thing for the rich people, people who can afford and who always will be able to afford. If you can afford, you can choose and if you are able to choose, your life is not just on a random place. A landscape architects task is also to support making this affordable good healthy space bigger and better accessible for more people, but the people are also responsible for this fact, which they forget to often, unfortunately. I think, if just anybody would try a little more and just throw the trash in the trash bucket, where it belongs, the city would be much cleaner. Yes, that's where it starts, as easy as it sounds. But to be more sustainable, just stop producing so much waste, don't consume too much and choose well, as Lauryn Hill sings.

It is a concept, which relies on actions by people for people. Make it equal and equal yourself. It is a start.

Plan as Concept. Concept as Process. Process as Progress.

The landscape architectural plan as a strategic tool for future movements to present the next tactical steps -> realization of the solution. 2 key points maintenance and establishment of the concept.



Instruments to face, deal and handle influencing factors to see disciplines as part of the whole system Sustainable Infrastructure

Sustainable Sites


The Urban Eye, since 2006.

Since then I started to take pictures of my environment. I always was interested in nature and the lively things around me, outside, but before I only had my own memories in mind, which I still have, but it is always difficult to describe a picture to someone else, as everybody has it's own imagination of the things. Photographs and pictures are the ultimate method to catch that memory for sure and show it to someone 1:1. As I was interested in drawing, art, artistic expression through personal selected mediums, I tried out things and tried out mediums to explain best what I thought about this and that. Drawings and paintings were expression types, which I liked a lot and I still do, but the photography itself and pictures, are the ultimate tool, if you really develop an eye. When the time is right and you feel this moment... Every now and then I go out and sometimes the time is right, the setting fits and it happens to be a perfect scene, sometimes I go out to just have a look and learn or find out, where to be next.

Hahnenkampf - It's a fight until the very last detail! = Photographs, Images & Urban Discoveries

The Urban Advent Calendar.

This is a project I did last year, December 2015, right at my home address. This city where I'm in right now isn't so big, which makes it easy to attract people and their attention, quickly. The project itself didn't happen, because I was in the need of attention, it did happen, because there were those events in Paris some days ago and we were all very effected by it. I could feel that it was off the air within the whole city and while already facing Christmas a very strange mood occurred...the community feeling was splintered. So I had this idea to communicate my thoughts in an humorous way to make passengers happy again, but unfortunately my neighbors even more unhappy... My tools: A black marker, a white A4 formatted sheet of paper, a statement for every day with the number of the current day, scotch tape and our door of the building.

To add, the first statement on 12/07/2015 was a complain about people who took a piss in our courtyard, which drove me even more...


160129 12-07 UA FMBB.jpg


160129 12-08 UA FMBB.jpg


160129 12-09 UA FMBB.jpg

Home Theater - Transformation of my Room. Urban Playground - Transformation of a Place.

Since I'm in preparation mode, I am busy with organizing myself and confronting with the questions: What is really necessary? What can I throw out? What should I carry with me? This makes you not carrying a lot of things, only in your mental space maybe. If you're on the move the whole time, it doesn't matter how good your bed is and how expensive your cloths are, the only things are: How effective and functional is what you have and how fast can you get rid of it, if things are to big or too heavy? asking out of a perspective of a normal earning person, which is not praised with billions of cash. This for life, but if you are able to develop this kind of view for the things you will be busy with, will be confronted with, will have to solve in the future, you will think another way and always try to figure out, what are the most important things, which makes you able to understand the real meaning of the problem itself and organize and clean the issue. This is a very helpful thing I have learned during the last years.

At home I am my own playwright, my own actress/actor and I act on the stage I created and set up. Outside I choose, mostly, my stages, where I act, nature, life and circumstances combined with parameters are the playwright and the stage at the same time. All I can do is resist and keep up, with everything.

This is what a landscape architect should be able to understand.


Connections and Professional Directions.


Free School of Architecture in Los Angeles by architect and educator Peter Zellner, since 2016


University of the Underground founded in February 2017 and based in Amsterdam for experimental education and as a counter reaction to uncoverable study fees