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TEDEAL 2023 : Terrarium. Earth design: Ecology, Architecture and Landscape,


When N/A
Where N/A
Submission Deadline Apr 20, 2023
Notification Due May 10, 2023
Final Version Due Jul 30, 2023
Categories    architecture   design   landscape

Call For Papers

Whitin the frameworks of the PRIN SYLVA – Rethink the Sylvan. Towards a New Alliance Between Biology and Artificiality, Nature and Society, Wilderness and Humanity (PRIN 2017|, scholars, researchers, practitioners of architecture, and artists are invited to participate in the volume Terrarium. Earth design: Ecology, Architecture and Landscape, that will be published as part of the open-access book series SYLVA Iuav by Mimesis Edizioni — Milano (
This volume aims to encompass the notion of the Terrarium from a design perspective, both as a symbol and as a project. It aims to reflect on the relationship nature-design through critical texts.
The scope of this volume is to stimulate a critical debate around this topic, at the various scales of the project and environments. Hence, the call for papers is looking for contributions which are able to trace the multiple interpretations of Terrarium, raising questions about the current practice’s relationship between ecology, architecture, and landscape.
The concept of Terrarium encompasses a multi-layered set of meanings. It has its roots in the Latin word Terra (Earth or ground), which constitutes its fundamental layer. The ground is fundamental in developing a self-sufficient ecosystem to sustain plants and living beings. A Terrarium is designed to create and maintain a specific ecological state,which means it is a contained ecosystem which is often self-perpetuating.

Terrariums can be understood as architectural objects for observation, scientific or recreational places to develop living forms which are not able to grow anywhere else, and as tools to transport and display rare species from faraway lands or climates.
In addition, to survive they require a specific knowledge of how an ecosystem works. Indeed, the Terrarium represents indeed the relationships between the elements of an ecosystem, interpreting nature as a process rather than as a collection of objects. 
Terrariums create an artificial enclosed environment, which can be read as a metaphor of the building enclosure and of the man’s control of natural ecologies. Evoking groundworks, they represent desirable ecosystems whilst they can also be seen as decorative artifacts artificially displaying nature. This underlines the binary thinking which separates humans from other forms of life, ultimately becoming a paradoxical act as proposed by T. Morton in Ecology without nature: rethinking environmental aesthetics (2007).

Current discussions about the idea of nature in architecture underline its fluctuation in theory and practice, providing new definitions as argued by David Gissen in Nature (2019).
This reveals some discrepancies in the use of nature in the design frame. On one hand, contemporary designers look at nature from post-anthropocentric perspectives, calling for the dismantling of the duality nature vs culture; on the other, they use nature as a remedy for the project in a persuasive way. As pointed out by Anne Whinston Spirn in her contribution for Nature and Ideology (1997), Frank Lloyd Wright defined nature as the physical manifestation of God; therefore, he used it as a model to reinforce the authority of his design choices. However, in the last decades of the twentieth century, science has often been cited to stress the supremacy of nature, overturning its traditional role. With I. McHargh Design with Nature (1969), the relationship between architecture and nature clearly changed.
Ecology not only entered design, but it became a driving element for many designers, replacing, in a way, nature itself. Humankind even reshaped the earth itself, playing with topographies, redefining the relationship between landscapes and technology, an example of this being C. Girot’s in his Robotic Landscape (2022).

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