Enfilade

Conference Review: Does the Picturesque Have a Future?

Posted in conferences (summary), reviews by Editor on January 17, 2011

Recently added to caa.reviews:

Conference — Emerging Landscapes: Between Production and Representation (London: University of Westminster, 25-27 June 2010).

Reviewed by Samantha L. Martin-McAuliffe, School of Architecture, University College Dublin; posted 11 January 2011.

. . . When the conference had seemingly reached the point where an obituary for the Picturesque seemed inevitable, Jonathan Hill (The Bartlett, University College London) delivered his keynote address, “Weather Architecture,” in which he called for a redemption of the tradition. Through a considered reflection on John Soane’s house in Lincoln’s Inn Fields and J. M. W. Turner’s London studio, Hill explained how the Picturesque attended to important themes, such as mortality, history, and, notably, the environment. Because this tradition aligned with topics such as the seasons and the senses (and hence the weather), the places it qualified were never static, but always emerging and forever changing. From this stance, the Picturesque is seen not so much as a formal model for construction that is fixed to a particular historical period, but instead as a sensitivity toward the surrounding world and its manifold processes—time, temperature, narrative. Is it possible, therefore, to recast the role of the Picturesque within contemporary landscape studies? Can it help the invisible yet constantly present conditions of the environment rise into notice? . . .

For the full review, click here» (CAA membership required)