Landscape and Architecture:

Hyperdesign Pedagogy and Poetics



Robert Hotten

Peter Diprose

copyright 1988- 1999




A Landscape is worth a thousand pictures. These may be in the form of interactive 3-dimensional and n-dimensional worlds, where the viewer can immerse and navigate at will, or video and film. The illusory built environment is spacially structured and functionally driven. Thus, only movement can bring alive the experience and the beauty of place, and looking at either structure or function alone results in a pale and asymetrical view.

In hyperspace Odysseus, like the historical trickster, the Situationist, and the contemporary hacker, is a figure who is both self-disciplined and insubordinate. (Novack 1998)

Palais du Louvre, QTVR



Hypertext was born in 1942. It is well time for a design response, in hyperspace, to develop the theory, inspire the imagination, and lead us out of the normative representational repertoir of the design professions. We can name this evolutionary hyperspace design instrument "hyperdesign". Hyperdesign, as hypertext is, before anything else, a visual form.





Good Looking

Today's instructional landscape must inevitably evolve or die, like biological species, since its environment is being radically altered by volatile visualization technologies. This ongoing displacement of fixed, monochromatic type by interactive, multidimensional graphics is a tumultuous process. In the realm of the artificial, as in nature, extinction occurs when there is no accommodation. Imaginative adaptation to the information superhighway, even the survival of reflective communication, means casting off vestigial biases automatically coupling printed words to introspective depth and pictures to dumbing down. (Stafford, 1997)


The Street as Figure

To become a true form, the street has to possess 'figural character.'

...Only when the street has just the right breadth can it establish itself as a visual object; with a vectorial field of its own, which actively resists the forces issuing from the buildings on either side. (Arnheim, 1984)




Umberto Eco, in Travels in Hyper-reality, comments, from a semiotic view, on symbols and symptoms.


Cogito interruptus is typical of those who see the world inhabited by symbols or symptoms. Like someone who, for example, points to the little box of matches, stares hard into your eyes, and says, "You see, there are seven...," then gives you a meaningful look, waiting for you to perceive the meaning concealed in that unmistakable sign; or like the inhabitant of a symbolic universe, where every object and every event translates into sign something hyper-Uranian that everyone already knows but wants only to see reconfirmed.

Cogito interruptus is also typical of those who see the world inhabited not by symbols or symptoms: indubitable signs of something that is neither here below nor up above, but that sooner or later will happen.

The reviewer's torment lies in the fact that when a person stares at him and says, "You see, there are seven matches," the reviewer is already helpless to explain to others the scope of the sign or the symptom; but then when the same person adds, "And consider also, if you want to dispel any doubt, that four swallows flew past today," then the reviewer is really lost. None of this means that cogito interruptus is not a great prophetic, poetic, psychological technique. Only that it is ineffable....

[Whether Apocalyptic or Parusiac] both, however, neglecting to articulate equations, for cogito interruptus demands that symbols and symptoms be flung by the handful, like confetti, and not lined up, bookeeper style, like little balls on a abacus.



Meanings are not merely the whisper of bats in the night; they cohere into flocks to sleep in the caverns of social thought and reemerge in thunderous flight to ignite a million imaginations together. (Walker, 1997)




What Happens as We Go?

What happens as we go to the museum?

...What happens to the world, the work, and to us as we go?

...What happens in the work of art is the work of art?

There exists a classicism, a formalism, and an interaction, each of which try to make this statement. The work, the world, the viewer, and the artist orbit like molecules around a thing.

...Yet what happens at the interstices, at the place where the pure form of anything is jostled by recollection, accident, or recognition and so slips into inscription i.e., beneath the virtual seat cushion where a jumble of spilled tokens, sesame seeds, abracadabra keys, and floating boxes of light transfigure us.




Tony Godfrey on American Art, comments:

...the nearly finished 1/4 mile or 2 furlong piece begun in 1981 (how many other museums have a room large enough to show this work?). This vast painting on aluminum, canvas, cloth, etc. with sculptural audio attachments is breathtakingly spectacular at first, but strangely uninvolving once one gets closer. It is technically inventive, yet facile. is all so clean. And what a retrospective like this shows is how inexorably dirty his early work was in comparison. Something odd happened to Rauschenberg in the mid sixties: everything he touched turned elegant.

...A work like Odalisk 1955/1958 we now know had very specific meanings for Rauschenberg-.

...For his own past?


Axioms Towards Newspace

10. Art is the roadbuilding habit (Zeno). It ruptures, then rebuilds, the edge of thought

9. Architecture is the art of the elaboration of inhabitable space, beyond mere accommodation, in the direction of excess over need.

8. Elegance is the achievement of maximal effect with minimal effort.

7. Both cyberspace and bodyspace are real and physical, and both are inextricably intertwined with the virtual.

6. Cyberspace is constituted by information technologies; bodyspace is augmented by information technologies.

5. Immersion is the transition from bodyspace to cyberspace.

4. Space and time are no longer separate, not even in an everyday sense: a spacetime vernacular has developed.

3. Hence, we must speak of a vernacular of augmented spacetime, of bodyspacetime and cyberspacetime.

2. Augmented spacetime encompasses the full continuum frombodyspacetime to cyberspacetime.

1. This new continuum is newspacetime, or newspace, for short, the space proper of transarchitectures.

00. Beauty is objective; meaning is subjective. Both are relational

000. Accidents will happen. (Novak 1998)



The urban machine is always productive. The city is not represented but a continuously remade interface. This an n-dimensional field of forces where buildings flow, traffic transmutes, and social dynamics are multilayered networks.


Land Art

Well conceived assemblages of images, infrastructural, layered and of open ended possibilities can drive designed syntheses of land art.


"What precisely can landscape architecture learn, and what has it learned, from the various land arts?

...First, land art was in part a move against being in thrall to museums and galleries.

...Second it is supposed to have shown landscape architecture how to use the materials of the earth.

...Third, land art... was always art, and its exponents and practitioners were always hailed as artists.

...Fourth, land art put the "meta" back on the front of "physical," which landscape seemed to have lost after about 1800. (Hunt 1997)



The need for beauty is fundamental to city life and if beauty does not occur naturally it must be created by design.

Hyperdesign invents possibilities and suits the inclusion of new topologies of the built environment: networks, agency, events, and subjectivity in image representation.

Hyperdesign also keeps dynamic the design process:

...from the inspiration or (apprehension), to sketch (representation), to model, vr, or built project (realisation). (Bacon, 1969)



Guggenheim Bilbao Museo

(Urban design, qtvr, zoom, link to what happens as we go?, rauschenberg, links to text)



(* denotes a core work)

Alexander, Christopher. 1998. The Nature of Order. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

*Appleton, Jay. 1996. The Experience of Landscape. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons

Beardsley, John. 1998. Earthworks and Beyond: Contemporary Art in the Landscape. New York: Abbeville Press.

Bordwell, David, and Thompson, Kristin. 1997. Film Art. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Boyer, Christine. 1997. Cybercities.


Deaf98. 1998. The Art of The Accident. Netherlands: NAI Publishers.

De Vallee, Sheila. 1996. Architecture for the Future. Paris: Terrail.

Eckbo, Garrett. 1998. People in a Landscape.

Fisher, M.F.K. 1990. The Art of Eating. New York: Macmillan.

*Gilbar, Steven, and Brower, David. 1998. Natural State: A Literary Anthology of California Nature Writing. Berkeley: University of California Press.


*Groth, Paul, and Bressi, Todd W. 1997. Understanding Ordinary Landscapes. Ann Arbor: Edwards Brothers, Inc.

*Harris, Steven, and Berke, Deborah. 1997. Architecture of the Everyday. New York: Princeton University Press.

*Heim, Michael. 1998. Virtual Realism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hillier, Bill. 1996. Space is the machine: A configurational theory of architecture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kaplan, Robert D. 1998. An Empire Wilderness : Travels into America's Future". New York: Random House.


Kostof, Spiro. 1999. The City Shaped.

Lawrence, Amy. 1997. The Films of Peter Greenaway. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Leszczynski, Nancy. 1999. Planting the Landscape.

Morgan, Conway Lloyd. 1998. Jean Nouvel: The Elements of Architecture. London: Thames and Hudson.

Moore, Charles, William J. Mitchell, and William Turnbull, Jr. 1993. The Poetics of Gardens. Cambridge: MIT Press.


Muirhead, Thomas 1998. Milan. Koln: Konemann

Museum of New Zealand. 1998. Dream Collectors: One Hundred Years of Art in New Zealand. Wellington: Te Papa Press.

Oehme, Wolfgang, and James van Sweden. 1998. Bold Romantic Gardens.

*Pawley, Martin. 1998. Terminal Architecture. Reaktion Books: London.

*Pottinger, Matthew, and Purinton Jamie. 1998. Landscape Narratives: Design Practices for Telling Stories. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Pregill, Philip and Nancy Volkman. 1999. Landscapes in History.


*Stafford, Barbara Maria. 1997. Good Looking: Essays on the Virtue of Images. Cambridge: The MIT Press.

Steenbergen, Clemens, and R. Wouter. 1996. Architecture and Landscape: The Design Experiment of the Great European Gardens and Landscapes. Bussum: Thoth Publishers.

Van Bruggen, Coosje. 1998. Guggenheim Museum Bilbao. New York: Guggenheim Museum Publications.

Walker, Peter. 1997. Minimalist Gardens. Washington: Spacemaker Press.

Ward, Alan. 1998. American Designed Landscapes: A Photographic Interpretation. Washington, D.C.: Spacemaker Press.


Weilacher, Udo. 1996. Between Landscape Architecture and Land Art. Basel: Birkhauser Verlag.


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Robert D. Hotten, MLA Architect