Time’s Arrow, Time’s Cycle: Evolution and Thermodynamics in Landscape Architecture
Date: Friday 15 November 2019
Venue: 33 First Floor Front
Equilibrium is often defined as the state of a system where no further change is likely to occur. This idea originates in thermodynamics, the branch of physics that rose in the mid nineteenth century to study energy and its capacity to do work, and for which a system is in equilibrium when the energy originally available has been already dissipated or has exerted all its potential to do work. Landscape systems, however, are never in equilibrium, for they are open systems, therefore permeable to energy inputs that come from sources external to them. Not only that, all landscape systems contain life, very specific forms of material organization that continuously exchange energy with their environment in order to perpetuate their structure, and/or to generate, in an evolutionary process, new structures that are similar to them.
Borrowing ideas from evolution and thermodynamics, “Time’s Arrow, Time’s Cycle,” will emphasize the idea that every work of landscape architecture demands and constitutes in itself an input of energy, and that, therefore, every work of landscape architecture implies a change in the existing order of a portion of the land. It will bring the accent to the temporal dimensions of landscape and of landscape architecture, to the idea that through the interaction of the multitude of forces exerted by the different agents that compose the environment, the environment as a whole is always far from equilibrium, is always in a continuous state oftransformation that sometimes we are not completely aware of.
Pablo Pérez-Ramos is Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD). He holds Doctor of Design and Master in Landscape Architecture degrees from the GSD, and is a licensed architect from the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid (ETSAM). His research focuses on the formal associations between landscape architecture and ecology, and looks into the origins of contemporary ecological views in landscape architecture through an examination of the central debates in the development of ecological theory.
All lectures are open to members of the public, staff and students unless otherwise stated.