Dirt as fertile medium and metaphor in cities, landscapes, process, and design: dirty attitudes in essays, interviews, and projects.
Dirt presents a selection of works that share dirty attitudes: essays, interviews, excavations, and projects that view dirt not as filth but as a medium, a metaphor, a material, a process, a design tool, a narrative, a system. Rooted in the landscape architect's perspective, Dirt views dirt not as repulsive but endlessly giving, fertile, adaptive, and able to accommodate difference while maintaining cohesion. This dirty perspective sheds light on social connections, working processes, imaginative ideas, physical substrates, and urban networks. Dirt is a matrix; as a book, it organizes contributions from architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning and design, historic preservation, fine arts, and art history.
The chapters predict and report on city waterfronts revamped by climate change, the reinvention of suburbia, and cityscapes of ruins; dish the dirt with yet-to-be proven facts; make such unexpected linkages as ornament to weed growth and cell networks to zip-ties; examine the work of innovative thinkers who have imagined or created, among other things, a replica of Robert Smithson's famous earthwork Spiral Jetty in "table-top scale," live models of the Arctic ice caps, and an inhabitable "green roof"; and describe an ecological landscape urbanism that incorporates the natural sciences in its processes.
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Megan Born is a landscape and architectural designer at James Corner Field Operations in New York. Helene Furján, Director and founding editor of viaBooks, is Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design and author of Glorious Visions: John Soane's Spectacular Theater. Lily Jencks runs the landscape and architectural design office LJA+Land in London.
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