As an architect building in nature constitutes a contradiction, as architecture enables immersive access to the landscape, while at the same time, natural landmarks are being slowly engulfed by tourists. The human presence in natural landscapes is an interplay of scales, a juxtaposition of archetypal shelters against the vast sceneries, as well as a negotiation between access to the landscape and environmental conservation. Exploring a variety of attitudes and formal strategies, the following takes a look at what could be learned from the experiences and design philosophies of several architects and practices that have perfected ways of addressing architecture in the landscape.
The relationship of man to nature and of architecture to the landscape is continuously renewed, and architecture built within the natural landscape represents a certain kind of poetic exploration, as well as a renewed perspective on the human scale. The current architecture in the landscape is the product of a specific view of the relationship between human beings and nature.
More than ever today, there is an awareness of the landscape as a precious heritage that architecture can and should enhance while protecting it to be passed on to future generations. The myriad of briefs and design proposals for objects in natural settings, be it cabins, observation towers, shelters that are a constant in the architectural news chicle reflect an ongoing preoccupation with a mindful creation of habitable places in the landscape.
Worldwide, the growing appetite for natural tourism raises some pressing practical issues concerning the managing of visitors. The pressure that tourism places on the environment underlines architecture’s role and responsibility in updating these sites while mitigating the destruction of the environment by promoting a sustainable approach to natural settings.
Designing for natural settings, emphasizing learning the landscape as a prerequisite for the architectural endeavour. It is important to search for the right balance in terms of materials, size, and shapes. Admittedly, this equilibrium relies on the sensibility of the architect, to match the substance of the landscape, with materials and construction techniques relating to the place, thus ensuring that the building ages well.
Some remote areas are becoming especially attractive to the ever-increasing desire of people to be part of something authentic. For the places already under pressure, it will be vital to provide facilities preventing further destruction.
The common ground of their architecture in natural settings seems to be the direct connection between the climate conditions of the place and the employed typology. Inserted within an almost a scalar landscape and informed by the Danish wood construction heritage, the project is meant to provide a platform for viewing the ice fjord, while also educating tourists about the area and climate change through its exhibitions.
This type of architecture discussed so far organizes human experience of the landscape, frames opportunities for interacting with nature, mediates and carefully superimposes smallness against the vastness. Such designs reconnect the practice to the essence of architecture, re-anchoring it in the realities of the environment.
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