Newest trend of landscape architecture – urban jungle

Every architectural movement has some ideological base. Although we cannot talk about one specific movement during 21 century, there are some common aspects and trends in modern architecture as well. Nowadays in city and landscape architecture very popular concept is urban jungle or miniature urban parks. Here is an explanation of what they are and why are they so meaningful in modern city and landscape architectures. And ir you don’t have enaugh money then you can always take out a loan or as they call them ir Georgia “onlain sesxebi“.

Those are small green areas in fully urban environment. For example, those can be small parks or gardens on the building roof tops or very small green areas in the middle of the city. There are many variations how to include some trees, grass, flowers and other plants into urban environment, but it is not only about aesthetics and creative ideas of making cities more beautiful.

The idea of it is to fight against the pollution and extinction of many plants. It is believed that the whole idea of it was created by the landscape architect James Corner. He created first urban jungle work on New York’s High Line. After that cities across the globe started to adapt this idea. While some municipalities follow the High Line’s blueprint of re-purposing abandoned rail lines, many others are just planting trees and pathways all around the cities.

So these small green areas are reflection of humans way of thinking. As we all know, one of the major concerns nowadays are of the huge amount of pollution. Cities are becoming bigger and green areas are slowly dispersing. Urban jungle is almost like a form of protest against urbanization. Of course, it also has some practical meaning as well – it brings some life into urban environment and produces some fresh air.

Although those parks are just small green areas into whole urban architecture, they are created by landscape architects, not traditional urban architects. It take some knowledge in gardening and horticulture to create something like that. Actually, creation of urban parks is very common task for landscape architects, although it is really not easy. Not all of the plants are willing to grow into such polluted environment. Landscape architects must find appropriate plants that are not self-rigorous. These plants must grow into polluted area and small soil layer. Beside all of that, the urban junge must look great together and fit in.

Just like renaissance architectural movement was a reflection of changes in humans way of thinking and thirst for freedom and discoveries, urban jungle is reflection of humans desire to live green and healthy. Although it is not one mutual concept that is uses in each and every architectural project, it is a very popular trend that is widely used. It is a mix of urban and landscape architecture that might be one of the aspects that describes architecture of our time.

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Why architecture matters?

Architecture just like fine arts is considered as something that performs only decorative functions. It is important for beauty and esthetics, but does it really matters for us? Would we be able to live without architecture and how would that change the quality of our lives?

Beauty and esthetics is not a necessity. If we look at Maslow’s pyramid, we can clearly see that it is on the very top and things on the top are those we don’t really need for normal existence. So the short answer would be – no, architecture doesn’t matter to the whole society together. But if it’s so, why do we still invest so much money to make our houses, parks and whole cities beautiful?

First of all, we must understand that architecture is not really only about beauty. Architects’ job also includes projecting the resources used for buildings or other objects. Every building must have a form, color and other aspects. Even if it is very simple, still it is some kind of design and there must be someone who creates it. That means we need architects and architecture just to have any kind of buildings at all. The same refers to landscape architecture. It still needs some planning, even if it’s very simple.

Another question is about the specific, complicated designs. As we all know, we doesn’t use architects only for basic creation of buildings or other objects. Some people even pay thousands of euros only for the design itself. So is this kind of architecture also needed and does it matters?

Actually, it does. Of course it is not the basic necessity of humans’ life, but it does matter in a very high level. First of all it is a part of culture. Nowadays we admire architectural objects from the previous centuries. The architecture can tell a lot about each period of history, because the overall ideology is reflected in architecture. It is the way humans express their thoughts and feelings. Without architecture, maybe we would miss important aspects of humans’ history.

Architecture, just like fine arts, also is needed for making everyday life more interesting. That might seem meaningless, but then why people go to other countries or even other parts of the world to admire some well designed buildings or other objects? That is because nowadays people really need something to admire. We need to see beautiful things otherwise our lives are empty and meaningless.

Also we must mention that architects are inventors of many things. Architects’ task is not only to make things beautiful, but also practical. That is why architects come up with some new creative ideas. In the future architects have designed windows, furniture, doors and other thing that now we see as self evident. Also nowadays they come up with all kind of innovations to make our living easier.

At the end we can definitely ensure that architecture matters for all of us. Today’s society wouldn’t be so developed without architects and also nowadays architects are doing important, meaningful work. Maybe we could live without architecture, but the life quality would be lot lower than it is right now.


Modern architectural miracles

We all admire the huge and luxurious castles and churches from the medieval times or ancient architectural wonders, but only few people are aware of masterpieces of modern architecture. World is full of amazing and unique ideas that is created by greatest architects of our time. Here is a list of the most incredible modern architectural miracles.

The first one is Cobra Tower in Kuwait. This concept is created by architect firm CDI Gulf International. The Tower is rotating, so it gives spiral effect. This project was started in 2008 and everyone was amazed of it. However, this tower is also being criticized a lot, because of lack of functionality. People doubt this project a lot, because it is created only to look good, not to actually be used as a building. Despite all of that, design is wonderful and unique.

Museum of Performance and Design in San Francisco is another great admirable design. This design of it was inspired form plain paper that is partly folded. It seems very simple, but putting this motive into architecture is just genius. Beside the original construction itself, this building also is equipped with projectors that makes it really unique. It creates illusion of changing the color and even allows to project realistic pictures on it.

Orbis apartments in Melbourne is one of the most iconic residential building in the world. It is so special because of its unique form. It looks almost unreal, because its design is inspired of surrealist painting. Facade of this building is malformed, but it looks really good. However, also this building is being criticized because of safety problems and functionality problems.

Cadaques and Dali house in Catalonia is also architecturally interesting project, just like the artist itself. Although the building itself is quite casual, it is supplemented with very unique element – huge white egg on top of the roof. It is not architecturally complicated design. It is very simple, but people loves it. Many tourists visits this pace just to look at this huge egg.

The last one in this list is Integral Iluminación Commercial Building in Guayaquil. It is transparent building created as a figure with with many facets. Also it is supplemented with interesting illuminations. It looks especially beautiful at nights, but the design is very complicated and specialized that it is also worth too see it at daytime.

These are just few of the incredible architectural masterpieces created within this century that shows the infinite creativity of modern humans mind. That means there are still some architectural wonders created. Even more, nowadays, thanks to modern building technologies, it is possible to make every designers dream come true. Huge castles and churches that we consider as irreplaceable as cultural heritage are not the only buildings that diverse to be admired.


Architectural trends that will represent this decade

Architecture is changing within times. As we all know different architectural styles represent different periods in history. The same is happening now – there are some architectural trends that are widely used and later people will recognize this period of time by the buildings and other objects created with these methods. Here is a list of some architectural trends that will represent our time.

Timber buildings are one of the most characterizing objects of 2015 and 2016. Of course, those are not simple one floor buildings which were designed many years ago. It is a trend that provides very high quality, strong constructions and even sustainability. Thanks to new innovations and techniques it is possible to make wooden buildings that are as strong as steel or concrete. They look very elegant. All kind of wooden concoctions can be made so they are different from each other, but still the timber represents the houses of this time.

Next trend is handmade bricks. Again, it is not going back in time. Architects have come up with new technologies how to make bricks so they wouldn’t look like simple manufactured bricks, but at the same time in high quality. Nowadays lots of architects are using these kinds of bricks in their projects so probably we will see lot of handmade brick buildings within next few years.

Next trend is cubic forms. This is not the newest trend, because cubic forms are now being used for several years, but they are still very popular. Especially bigger buildings are being shaped like many cubes put together. This is so popular because it is practical. It is easy for architects to use symmetric forms in their projects, but at the same time they look good and elegant. This will defiantly be something that represents our decade.

Linked towers and skyscrapers are now becoming quite popular. What is interesting, that many architects came up with this idea almost at the same time. There were several projects made in different countries that included connections between two relatively high buildings. Now there actually are many linked buildings and it has become almost like iconic for this time.

Then there also are plants integrated into urban architecture. That is very common for this time. There are gardens on the building roofs, plants on the balconies, living walls and other methods how to make urban architecture greener. This is a huge trend firstly because the sustainable principles are becoming very actual and also it looks very good and more and more people are willing to make the environment as green as possible.

And something very new and trendy is invisible architecture. Now there are only few architectural objects made with this method, but people love it so much, that there will defiantly be some more. The invisibility illusion is achieved with a high-tech LED facade system. That is something really impressive. Although it is still futuristic, that might become of trend within next few years.

There are also other things that highly represent today’s architecture, but all together today’s architecture is simple, practical and most important, sustainable. As it is so actual to think of environment nowadays, architecture is adjusted to sustainable principles.


What is landscape architecture?

If you think you have never seen an example of landscape architecture, you’re wrong. We see many examples of landscape architecture every day. Actually there are no elements in this world that wouldn’t be a part of landscape. Everything that we see around us is put in that exact order in some way. Sometimes this order is aesthetical and practical, but sometimes it’s not. Landscape architecture is the combination of processes that helps us to create landscapes that we like and need instead of unpleasant ones.

By the definition, the landscape architecture is the creation of the design in different type of outdoor areas, with purpose to achieve practical, social-behavioral, environmental or aesthetic outcomes. For example, it can be a creation of Public Park, design of residential estates, creation of street infrastructure, arranging of large wildlife areas, reconstruction of abandoned areas etc. So you can see that landscape architecture is very wide and complex field that includes knowledge of biology, horticulture, soil sciences, art, design, architecture, geography, ecology, psychology etc. That means a good landscape architect is aware of that and has skills and knowledge to work with any kind of projects.

Landscape architects have to work with outdoor areas according to some specific circumstances, such as, the size of workspace, the type of area (urban, suburban, rural etc.), the amount and type of recourse etc. The work of landscape architect includes the investigation of the area, the evaluation of ecological, social and biological aspects, project making of the desired and possible outcome and creation of the new landscape.
Exactly the investigation and projection phases are most important in landscape architecture. The hardest task is to put together all the technical aspects and creative desires. Usually there is contractor to each project who has his own vision, but in lot of cases it is not possible to realize that. The landscape architect must take all the technical aspects into consideration to realize this vision at least partly or to create something new that contractor will like. If the project is successful, all the further work is all practical and relatively easy.

To make it all clearer, let’s look at typical example. Very common task for landscape architect is to create a park or decorative garden. First he has to check all the technical aspects for example what kind of soil is there, so he would know what plants and trees will grow there. Also weather and climate must be taken into a consideration so these plants would keep growing after planting. If there is a need or desire for some artistic decorations, then also the aspects of their maintenance must be evaluated. So you see there is a wide range of aspects that must be taken into a consideration in each case. When it is clear what kind of resources it is possible to use, landscape architect can finally start to make a design and think of creative ways how to make the park or garden look aesthetical. If project is accurate and thought out until every detail, everything will look exactly as in sketches and will last for a long time.


Examples of successful landscape architecture

We can see landscape architecture all around us, but there are some very unique and successful works made by the best landscape architects. Those are very creative and at the same time technically correct artworks that look really incredible and at the same time they show the diversity of landscape architecture.

Let’s start with very famous work – The garden of Louis XIV in Versailles, France. It is one of the most popular gardens in the whole world. It was created for king of France Louis XIV. The architect who designed it was Andre Le Notre. It is typical work of landscape architect – huge garden with symmetrical sand paths that goes through perfectly shaped and decorated lawn and cropped bushes and trees. Of course, this one is very extensive work that has also historical value and it shouldn’t be called typical.

Next one is Columbus Circle. It is named after famous explorer Christopher Columbus. Actually it a simple traffic circle located in Manhattan, USA. It is special because of two reasons – it is located exactly in the center of the New York, or at least all the measurements are made by it and it has very interesting architecture. The designer of it is William Eno, who is not even an architect. He is a businessman who pioneered many early innovations in road safety and traffic control. However, this project has won many awards. This circle is decorated with many fountains, trees, sculptures and monument right at the middle. This composition together makes the feeling that it’s a centre of the whole universe.

Then we should mention the National Arboretum in Canberra, Australia, made by Taylor Cullity Lethlean and his partners. It is a collection of endangered tree species. These trees come from all over the world, so it is also technically very complicated work. This project has not only aesthetical value, but also environmental. It brings attention to such problems as loss of biodiversity and sustainability. It is possible to visit this arboretum and admire all the tree species that are almost extinct. This project has won many awards not only for architecture itself, but also for the care of environment.

Next one in this list is Zen Garden in Kyoto, Japan. This garden is designed by Chisao Shigemori. Those who are familiar with landscape architecture might have heard this surname before, because also his grandfather Meri Shigemori was very famous landscape architect. Chisao Shigemori has many successful projects, but this is the most unique one. It is typical Japanese rock garden with small miniature tees, small rivers, rocks and sends, but it is has some untypical forms and elements in it. It is symmetric and harmonic.

The last one is park in New York, USA, created by Diller Scofido Renfro. It is a small park in the city that contains of simple grass and trees, but the uniqueness of it hides in the idea. In this project the main idea is to bring little vegetation in the big city of New York. That is exactly what it does.

Those are only some randomly picked examples, but there are so many good projects of the landscape architecture. In some the main aspect is the idea, in some the aesthetical value and in some the technical performance, but these projects really makes the everyday life a little bit more beautiful.


Architectural movements throughout history

Probably anyone has noticed that buildings that come from different centuries resemble each other a lot. That is because architectural movements have changed many times before. These movements are not just simple way of planning the look of buildings, but it is a reflection to humans and whole society’s way of thinking. Let’s see how and why these movements have changed throughout history.

The first magnificent architectural movement was classicism. As this was the time of ancient philosophies, this architectural style represents these new ideas. The most distinctive characteristics of classicism include use of mathematical theories to make very harmonious and eye catching structures. Architecture of buildings was very simple, but at the same time very perfectly designed. This architectural style was mostly used by Romans and Greeks, but the methods and design of building in both civilizations was slightly different. Romans were more innovative, but Greeks remained the well known values.

The next movement was Gothicism. This architectural style was a result of architect’s luck of possibilities. They were frustrated, because it was impossible to build something more functional with the existing methods. They came up with some great ideas that made it possible to emphasize the verticality and light. Gothic buildings were a lot more functional, so this movement continued more than 400 years.

After Gothicism, Renaissance came. Although the Gothic buildings were lot more functional, architects wanted to go back to the classicism. Renaissance is not just architectural movement. It influenced many scopes, because people wanted to end the darkness of medieval times and go back to ancient times they considered to be better. Actually the concept of Renaissance architecture was similar to Gothicism, but with some magnificent elements from Classicism, such as pilasters, arches, domes and columns.

Then the Baroque came. This architectural style was influenced by Roman Catholic Church. It was considered that every building must contain religious themes. The most pronounced characteristic of this style was usage of curves and shell motives. Architecture wasn’t so similar and perfect anymore. Actually Baroque was a combination of many other architecture styles.

After Baroque the architectural movements changed very often. The old styles came back and mixed with something new, but the next meaningful movement was International style. It is the first stage of modern architecture. The main ideology of this movement was to make the whole society more transparent and open. They tried to make building more industrialized so the art turned into industry. This architectural style was something completely new. There were new methods used and also the look of buildings was incredibly different.

Later some new innovative architectural styles emerged for example brutalism. The purpose of them was to create something controversial. Architects wanted to make something completely new and that was challenging task, because it was almost impossible to think of something that hasn’t seen before. That’s why new movements are very interesting and even bizarre.