Simulating Landscapes with Point Cloud Models

Thinking with topological tools brings landscape to the fore and highlights how it is the base for all improvements made in terms of the built environment,. Adapting to the new tools and learning to use them and manipulate digital terrain models brings landscape architects into the world of engineering and is a real design tool as illustrated here by Girot

The Dirt

fig1_biennials-ch-postcard2-gotthard-ethz Postcard from “Gotthard Landscape: The Unexpected View,” 2014 Architecture Biennale, Venice, showing a multi-layered perspective / Department of Architecture, ETH Zurich

We need to find a word that brings us back to common ground. In a lecture at Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Christope Girot, professor and chair of landscape architecture in the architecture department at the ETH (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) in Zürich, Switzerland, suggests that “topology” may be the word, for it speaks to the logic and intelligence of a landscape. Girot acknowledges his unique way of viewing: “I believe in the landscape as a body.” He means this in a very literal sense, emphasizing landscape’s physical qualities.

One of the first slides Girot flashes before the audience shows topology’s etymological roots: Topos (place) and logos (reason). Topology, he claims, is about sensing and conceiving landscape. Rather abstractly, topology, then, can define a way in which…

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