With the Cycle of Dialogues on Landscape Architecture, Projected Landscapes, the Masters of Landscape Architecture UC (MAPA) celebrates its 10th anniversary. In the third session, held on June 15, the Harris-Illanes office described its practical experience in projects, planning, and landscape construction, encompassing forestations in degraded areas (Cerro Renca, RM), landscape plans for new urban areas (Chicureo, Pudahuel), and a variety of minor projects such as the design of public and private green areas. This exercise is about the definition of a self-sustaining project vs a sustainable project in the area of landscape architecture, distinguishing the semantic differences and their diverse interpretations.
In the third session of talks organized by the Masters Program in Landscape Architecture at the Catholic University of Chile, the office led by architects Andrew Harris and Claudia Illanes had the opportunity to present their work. Claudia and Andrew presented their independent professional work following their academic and work experience in Europe. They discussed topics relevant to our discipline, such as operating from the logics of place based on the landscape program and in a context full of limitations and restrictions, as is the Chilean reality. This exercise is about the definition of a self-sustaining project vs a sustainable project in the area of landscape architecture, distinguishing the semantic differences and diverse interpretations of these.
The talk was divided into three segments. They first spoke about their academic and work expereince at the CRPP Barcelona (Centre de Recerca i Projectes de Paisatge (Center for Research and Landscape Projects)) at the School of Architecture of Barcelona, Polytechnic University of Catalonia. They noted that their approach to the study of landscape was marked by reflection from the use of digital media, essential for characterizing the landscape. This type of analysis reveals the relevance of the landscape mosaic as a structure of relationships that can be clearly seen by these means of representation. The analysis often shows relationships that at first glance have no value, until cartographic work helps to determine what the necessary operations should be on the landscape so as not to work against the already formed structures.
After their arrival in Chile, they were in charge of large-scale projects. Based on that experience, they helped us reflect on the principles of large-scale projects and the little value they assign to the landscape. It is hard to see an investment opportunity that can be profitable or attractive at the same time as they are constructing new experiences associated with forms of the terrain not commonly assigned a value. In other words, it is difficult to visualize the potential of both a wetland and a productive site. On the other hand, in this scale of intervention, they insisted on the importance of establishing strategies in accordance with the preexisting condition of the place, in terms of vegetation, topography, materials of the area, among others, which also imply being honest about the few resources that, many times, are available. In other words, the invitation is to operate with the tools that the place offers and allows. The program is addressed from the message contained in the landscape, by not only looking at the site but also associating what is conventionally understood as citizen participation, which requires working from the actions of the users of the space. The result is a proposal of use loaded with meaning, related to experiences and atmospheres. It is a program that is built but difficult to show explicitly in the drawings of the proposal. There are moments, like being under a certain shadow, or sensing certain smells, textures, and water, with the latter being the most relevant within their projects.
Finally, they highlight that much of their work will have an impact on society when new generations discover what is really behind their operations: a landscape for children and their playful way of discovering is the creation of tactile scenarios.
Andrew Harris Diez / Landscape Architect / email@example.com Santiago de Chile, 1969. Architect, Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (1994). Harris holds a Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture, Polytechnic University of Catalonia (2000), DEA and is a Doctoral Candidate, Department of Projects of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (2000). He is a Partner at Harris Illanes Arquitectos Ltda and A + Constructora, an office dedicated to projects, planning and landscape construction, forming an interdisciplinary team with partners in the area of agricultural engineering. From 2002 to 2005 he worked as landscape architect and researcher at CRPP Barcelona, at the School of Architecture of Barcelona, Polytechnic University of Catalonia. Professor of Landscape Architecture at the Faculty of Architecture and Design of the Diego Portales University (2008-2017). Professor of Landscape Architecture at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (2016).
Claudia Illanes Barrera / Landscape Architect / firstname.lastname@example.org Santiago de Chile, 1966. Architect, Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, 1993. She holds a Master’s Degree in Landscape Architecture, Polytechnic University of Catalonia, 2001, DEA and is a Doctoral Candidate in the Department of Urban Planning of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (2000). She has been a partner since 2006 of Harris Illanes Arquitectos and A + Constructora, performing tasks of planning and landscape design at different scales, forming an interdisciplinary team with partners in the area of agricultural engineering. From 2002 to 2005 she worked as a landscape architect and researcher at CRPP Barcelona, at the School of Architecture of Barcelona, Polytechnic University of Catalonia. Professor in the Master of Landscape Architecture (UPC) (2003-2005). Professor in Landscape Titling, Workshop in Projects, Landscape, and Infrastructure, ETSAB, UPC. Professor at Diego Portales University, 2006, 2007-2010. Professor of Landscape Architecture at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile (2011-2017).
Richard Asto Altamirano. Architect Perú. Founder of ANDES Arquitectura + Urbanismo + Paisaje Extension Coordinator and student in the Master’s Program in Landscape Architecture at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, 2018.