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Pablo Pérez-Ramos

Time’s Arrow, Time’s Cycle: Evolution and Thermodynamics in Landscape Architecture

Series: AA Landscape Urbanism History & Theory Seminar
Date: Friday 15 November 2019
Time: 17:00
Venue: 33 First Floor Front
Running time: 0 mins

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.

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The Architectural Association receives Taught Degree Awarding Powers by the Lords of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council.

The Architectural Association (AA), the oldest independent school of architecture in the United Kingdom, is pleased to announce that it has been granted the power to award its own degrees. As of 1 October 2019, the AA has the right to establish new academic programmes and degree awards and is working to create some of the world’s most pioneering courses in architecture to shape and build the future.

Taught Degree Awarding Powers (TDAP) give UK higher education institutions the right to award bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Prospective students worldwide can apply to the AA Foundation Course (Foundation Diploma), Experimental Programme BA(Hons), Diploma Programme (MArch), and nine taught postgraduate programmes encompassing History and Critical Thinking in Architecture (MA), Projective Cities (Taught MPhil) and Sustainable Environmental Design (MSc/MArch), amongst others.

AA Director, Eva Franch said, ‘since our founding in 1847 we have never ceased to create new horizons, institutionally and academically. This is a significant milestone for the AA and demonstrates how we have grown and progressed as an institution that has always valued independence. Receiving TDAP marks a new era for our institution; these are exciting times for the AA. The process has required considerable work from all members of staff and students. I would like to take this opportunity to credit them for this major achievement’.

President of the AA Council, Victoria Thornton added, ‘the TDAP process has recognised our strong governance, academic standards, scholarship and teaching as well as the environment supporting the delivery of taught higher education programmes’.

The School’s application for Taught Degree Awarding Powers was supported by the Architects Registration Board, the Royal Institute of British Architects and The Open University.