We may have surpassed the point of irreparable damage to
our planet, as science confirms that an ecological
balance may only be achievable now by artificial means.
Anthropocene defines our geological era,
the environment as mostly affected by artificial human
action. While the environment is understood
as a large dynamic self-regulated ecosystem without
borders, the causes and effects can be traced
everywhere. But the consequence of the ecological crisis
is mostly politically measured in cities where large
economic interests are concentrated. While the
ecological crisis draws attention back to the center, it
cannot disregard the regional periphery where ecological
forces may emerge. This problem presents a reciprocal
continuous project as opposed to the separation between
city / environment, city / landscape, and center /
Slavoj Žižek's recent statement "Nature does not exist"
has questioned several assumptions and implies many
concepts. One such assumption questions the
environmental stability of our planet as 'natural'
processes reconfigure landscapes out of crisis, such as
earthquakes, volcano eruptions or hurricanes. One
implication of his statement is the artificially
projected signification of the word 'Nature' in our
language to the object of study. But in the context of
this studio, another implication may also be extended to
computer languages and the simulation of environments
through fluid dynamics, projecting another layer of
To face these issues, the studio initially proposed to
avoid environmental preservation.
Dually purposed as an urban design and as a landscape
design studio, students were asked to study social,
economical, biological and ecological landscape-urbanism
alternative strategies for the systems of bays, rivers,
shores and ports that surround and that affect New York
City. Areas of study included New York City's Upper and
Lower Bay, East River, Hudson River, Jamaica Bay, and
Flushing Bay which were analyzed through both computer
assisted and analog simulations. New York City and its
surroundings were studied by structuring natural
feedback, exchanging information and energy. The studio
framed this approach through mega-structural visions as
radical interventions that affect the entire region.
Students were asked to consider relationships between
the architecture of the city and the artificial
structuring of surrounding territories as well as the
constitution of form indexed through time, and to study
fluid forces through dynamic computational processes.
Students mapped, tested and worked both urban and
landscape strategies through processes of sedimentation,
erosion, and tidal or hydraulic energy, to extend and
recode the architecture of New York City.
Pablo Lorenzo-Eiroa directed
the Senior Studio as a Visiting Associate Professor at UPenn Design (University of
Pennsylvania School of Design): landscape urbanism
studio with Teaching Assistant Scott Aker of the
Undergraduate Program directed by Chair Richard Wesley. Midterm Review and Final Reviews included:
Andrew Saunders, Fred Levrat, Richard Wesley, Juan
Manuel Villa Carrero and others. The studio consisted in
developing a resilient coding for New York City in
relation to environmental forces.
Bennett, Jennifer Chu, Jordan Holmes, Brittany Huang,
Zephani Huang, Martina Merlo, Emma Pfeiffer, Brian Rawn,
Yong Feng See, Lindsay Wong and Daniel Zuvia.