James Corner – London Olympic Park

“The rhythm of aesthetic and intellectual change in any field is not linear but pendulous.” – Richard Weller, from Between hermeneutics and datascapes: a critical appreciation of emergent landscape design theory and praxis through the writings of James Corner

Consistent with the quote above, Landscape Architecture is increasingly involving itself with issues of infrastructure and urban space.  Walking the line between design and planning, James Corner has placed himself near the center of this axis, the Landscape Urbanism movement, which holds that landscape rather than architecture is the more appropriate lens through which to organize a healthy city.

Against this natural, cyclical backdrop, we can understand James Corner’s theoretical work and practice as an inevitable reaction against modernity’s practical severing of “landscape” from “the city”.  The whole world seems to be considering this question now, as the congregation of people into mega-metropolises is the one of the defining trajectories of the human race.

Corner’s design firm, Field Operations, has focused primarily on large, high-profile spaces, perhaps most notably the High Line project in New York.   All of the firm’s projects try to bridge the gap between the subjective poetry of interpretation and the facts of planning, completely in line with Corner’s writings and ideas on Landscape Hermeneutics.

In this vein, Field Operations is currently taking on the post-games (south-end portion) London Olympic Park.  The park (opening in late July of this year), attempts to create accessible public space while incorporating major existing structures and linking together areas with curved paths, reminiscent of many of their other projects.

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Plan

Corner, James. “Techniques.” Quaderns June-July. 2004: 104. Print

Corner, James. “Terra Fluxus” The Landscape Urbanism Reader. Ed. Charles     Waldheim. Princeton Architectural Press: New York, 2006. 22-32. Print.


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