Natural Landscape Informing and Aiding Architectural Design
TMK 02 - 12 - 2010

As we learn throughout our careers at Ball State; architecture and landscape architecture must work in unison to create a successful design. The principles of framing, views, literal representations, and flowing forms come to mind as conceptual connections between the two. Two examples reinforced the idea of natural landscape informing and aiding architectural design as we traveled through Egypt and the U.A.E... To the right: A sketch of the Madinat Jumeirah [market, restaurant, and hotel venue] shows a view of the Burj Al-Arab hotel framed by multiple aspects of the landscape architecture design. As I was walking around the boardwalk lagoon feature I stumbled upon this view that caught my eye. At the top of the frame, a row of palm trees creates a perspective view that frames and leads the eye to a view of the distant hotel. In the middle of the sketch, you see a massing of palm trees and tropical plants that create another horizontal framing element. Other features that "inform and aid" are the bridge and lagoon water surface. The bridge is another built architectural element that helps balance the contrast between built and landscape, while the water provides a reflective surface that gives an added texture to the feel of the space and the view. One could also argue, that [depending on construction dates], architecture may have informed landscape architecture through the placement of the lagoon water to reflect a view of the Burj Al-Arab hotel. Below: A more literal representation of landscape informing design exists in the Temple of Luxor, in Luxor, Egypt. Two main features emerge to tell the story of a natural landscape. The thumbnail sketch of the PYLON entrance shows the "V" shape form of the converging walls. This entrance is representative of the mountains to the east and west of the River Nile. This feature is important because the arched connection displays a representation of the sun disc and wings, an important symbol of life in the ancient Egyptian culture. The second feature is the detail in column capitals that are a literal representation of the Egyptian landscape. The column sketch on the left is an open PAPYRUS plan, and on the right; a closed LOTUS flower. These features are important because the network of columns in this temple [with these capitals atop] is representative of a garden to attract the ancient egyptian gods; to please them and ensure that the temple remains a holy place.

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