Art Merged with Landscape Architecture: The Use of Abstract Painting as Form and Process Generation for Landscape Design
Art and landscape architecture, whilst similar pursuits, are not always combined. This thesis builds upon the traditions of artists working with the landscape and landscape architects being inspired by art to create a new type of landscape architecture: one that seeks to merge art and landscape architecture, creating a new process of making, and as a result a new formal expression.
Art is “the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power” (Oxford Dictionary) whilst Landscape Architecture is “the art and practice of designing the outdoor environment, especially designing parks or gardens to harmonise with buildings and roads” (Oxford Dictionary). Both fields are creative, require planning, observing, contemplating, designing and debating, however, the starting point of landscape and art are divergent.
Landscape architects conventionally use movement of people, heritage or ecology to start the design process. This thesis explores the use of the act of painting and painterly expression as the starting point for a design. It is put forward, that modern painting is extremely valuable to the process of design and should be used to generate form for artistic expression in the public realm. Abstract paintings in particular, can serve as design informants lending shapes, forms and space. As an artist, I am uniquely placed to explore the connection between modern paintings and the process of designing a landscape.
The thesis uses the Artscape, located on the Cape Town Foreshore, as a case study site to test the process of form generation through art. This site is pertinent to the exercise as it was designed to be cultural hub of the city, housing the main performing arts but has a sanitised public realm with little link to the cultural activities housed within the precinct. The act of painting is clarified into action words repeated to create art that is contextually displaced from the site and then molded to suit the context. Techniques of painting, repainting, tracing modeling and molding are used to iteratively design and to unlock the artistic potential and create space.