The call stems from the importance of the brilliant work of Robert Venturi with the aim of re-projecting it in the current cultural debate, extending it to the scale of landscape and placing it in connection with representative issues. Landscape, meant as a cultural process and a mirror of the social identity of a place, always unveils its connatural relational structure with a greater clarity. The link between signs and meanings, the dialectic between nature and artifice, the relation between narration and ideation, are only sections of a totality of links that make up the relation landscape has with the environment and the territory, three areas that can be associated with the Vitruvian triad bringing "inevitably to complexity and contradiction". In this context, representation is an interpretative tool and a place for models. In the definition, selection, abstraction and innate evocation of design, landscape finds examples that highlight a picturesque narration implicitly a harbinger of reductivism, misunderstandings and trivializations. But the same representation sometimes hides, in its different levels of reading, a much richer interpretation only veiled to those who do not enter its path, new dimension that relates to the real juxtaposing further levels of complexity and contradiction, still reinforcing the logic of the "super-adjacency" for which "the most is not worth less" (more is not less). In this dynamism, the representative processes are nevertheless seen as central cultural tools and processes to understand our places and therefore to redesign their sustainability.
Noted the implications between medium and message, the volume sets itself the ambition to re-read the contemporary challenges already opened by the great theoretician in relation to the research experiences and the connected paths of innovation inherent in the wide scope of the design. From Italy, a place that gives rise to the great American master intuitions and suggestions, we want to revive those anticipated themes, to the "dimension and scale" that since then grew "adding difficulties" to the wealth already present in the architectural scale and much wider. The aim of the publication is to bring out the transdisciplinary synthesis of a necessarily interdisciplinary approach to the theme, aimed to create new models capable to represent the complexity of a contradictory reality and to redefine the centrality of human dimension. With these openings and coordinates, the call wants to collect the multiple experiences, developed in different geographical areas, which, in their specific disciplinary, come into connection with the role of representation. Studies can report on the places as well as on the interpretation defined by the drawing. Landscape research, which includes the local and the international scale, can concern the great paradigmatic themes in their complexity and contradictions but also minor themes aimed to narrate the inclusive character of landscape, vital also as “hybrid, compromised, distorted, ambiguous, boring, conventional, accommodating, redundant, rudimentary, inconsistent, misunderstanding.” Without ever forgetting "the Commitment to strive towards difficult unity", the complexity and contradiction of landscape wants to open up to very topical socio-cultural issues. Wide-ranging, which concerns, among other things, the issues inherent the identity expressed in landscape, the role of images and the value of perception in the world transformed by digital, the identification of identity elements, almost "transitional", of the landscape as cultural goods or, antithetically, the food. In general the balancing of relations between territory and environment and the landscape inherent in strategies, in the role of representation for the "super-adjacency" and the narration of our places as an essential strategy for the operational definition of common goods.
The authors, in presenting their research, have to find their contextualization according to the 10 points identified by Robert Venturi in the structure of his research, and 10 areas of representation identified.
I _ Drawing
II _ Survey
III _ Perception
IV _ Technique
V _ History
VI _ Image
VII _ Modelling
VIII _ Project
IX _ Codesign
X _ Strategy
1 - Complexity and Contradiction vs. Simplification or Picturesqueness in landscape
2 - Ambiguity
3 - Contradictory Levels: The Phenomenon of "Both-And" in landscape
4 - Contradictory Levels Continued: The Double-Functioning Element
5 - Accommodation and the Limitations of Order: The Conventional Element
6 - Contradiction Adapted
7 - Contradiction Juxtaposed
8 - The Inside and the Outside
9 - The obligation Toward the Difficult Whole
10 - Works
A not simple ̶A̶r̶c̶h̶i̶t̶e̶c̶t̶u̶r̶e̶ ̶ Landscape: A Gentle Manifesto: I like complexity and contradiction in ̶a̶r̶c̶h̶i̶t̶e̶c̶t̶u̶r̶e̶ ̶ landscape. I do not like the incoherence or arbitrariness of incompetent ̶a̶r̶c̶h̶i̶t̶e̶c̶t̶u̶r̶e̶ ̶ landscape nor the precious intricacies of picturesqueness or expressionism. Instead, I speak of a complex and contradictory architecture landscape based on the richness and ambiguity of modern experience, including that experience which is inherent in art. Everywhere, except in architecture landscape, complexity and contradiction are acknowledged, from Godel's proof of ultimate inconsistency in mathematics to T.S. Eliot's analysis of "difficult" poetry and Joseph Albers 'definition of the paradoxical quality of painting.
However, ̶a̶r̶c̶h̶i̶t̶e̶c̶t̶u̶r̶e̶ ̶landscape is necessarily complex and contradictory in its very inclusion of the traditional Vitruvian elements of commodity, firmness, and delight. Moreover, today the needs of program, structure, mechanical equipment and expression, even in a single ̶b̶u̶i̶l̶d̶i̶n̶g̶s̶ ̶ opera in simple contexts, are different and conflicting in ways that were unimaginable before. The increasing dimension and scale of architecture in urban and regional planning add to the difficulties. I welcome the problems and exploit the uncertainties. By embracing contradiction as well as complexity, I aim for vitality as well as validity.
Architects can no longer afford to be intimidated by the puritanically moral language of orthodox Modern architecture landscape. I like elements which are hybrid rather than ''pure," compromising rather than "clean," distorted rather than "straightforward," ambiguous rather than "articulated," perverse as well as impersonal, boring as well as "interesting," conventional rather than "designed," accommodating rather than excluding, redundant rather than simple, vestigial as well as innovating, inconsistent and equivocal rather than direct and clear. I am for messy vitality over obvious unity. I include the non sequitur and proclaim the duality.
I am for richness of meaning rather than clarity of meaning, for the implicit function as well as the explicit function. I prefer "both-and” to "either-or," black and white, and sometimes gray, to black or white. A valid ̶a̶r̶c̶h̶i̶t̶e̶c̶t̶u̶r̶e̶ landscape evokes many levels of meaning and combinations of focus: its space and its elements become readable and workable in several ways at once.
Nevertheless, an a̶r̶c̶h̶i̶t̶e̶c̶t̶u̶r̶e̶ landscape of complexity and contradiction has a special obligation toward the whole: its truth must be in its totality or its implications of totality. It must embody the difficult unity of inclusion rather than the easy unity of exclusion. «More is no less».
Robert Venturi, Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture (1977).