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Names of First batch of Franklin Scholars
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Project Manager Alain Eid Brings His Energy and Success to AUB
Staff Profile: Eleanor Aboussouan
An Urgent Call for Environmental Action
Lebanon's Oil Spill Revisited - 14 Months Later
AUB Hosts Meeting for Reconstruction of the South
Peruvian Diplomat Lectures at AUB
Political Science Lecture Examines Nonviolent Resistance
Iraqi Sociologist Speaks at Sociology Cafe
Learning to Teach: Mellon Summer Seminar 2007
School of Nursing Hosts Lecture on Ethics in Medicine
Volunteers at CCCL Learn about Patient Care
Physician Lectures on the Global Epidemic of Obesity
Award-winning Designer Lectures at AUB
German Architect Lectures on Contemporary Approaches to Landscape Design
JTP Equips Journalists with Survival and Management Skills
Human Rights Week Underscores Humanitarian Concerns
Recently Published
In Memoriam
Laila Baroody Awarded for Outstanding Service
Comic Posters Exhibited
Kulturzentrum Presents Opera Program in Assembly Hall
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AUB Music Club Sells Out
November 2007 Vol. 9 No. 2

German Architect Lectures on Contemporary Approaches to Landscape Design

Maria Ippolita Nicotera

German landscape architect Maria Ippolita Nicotera gave a lecture on October 23, entitled "Potentials of Landscape," in which she tackled contemporary approaches to landscape architecture in Europe. Critical of Lebanon's unsustainable urban space landscapes, Nicotera outlined three thematic landscape design principles that offer a vista of potential for the sustained development of contemporary approaches to European landscape architecture, especially in countries like Italy and Germany.

According to Nicotera, any given open-air space landscaping project should be designed with the ultimate aim of "integrating the final rendition of the space with the overall identity of the cultural milieu that enshrouds it." In other words, it is essential to convey a clear understanding of each landscaped area in its finalized presentation, by triggering in the mind of the viewer what she described as "cognitive links to the original history and usage of urban space or spaces." Nicotera described two seminal landscaping projects exemplifying this principle and the arduous task of designing them: an Auschwitz landscape memorial space to the notorious concentration camp's genocide victims; and producing a digital recreation of the now all-but-disappeared landscape landmarks of the equally infamous former Berlin wall that stretched one hundred and fifty-five kilometers.

Long-term sustainability in landscape projects must be an overriding concern, Nicotera argued, given its impact on the wellbeing of a country's generations to come. This stresses the need for innovative landscape designs that allow the viewer to travel vicariously across the distinct geographical and cultural contexts certain designs are meant to reproduce. Nicotera illustrated the principle by giving the example of the Metis Italian Garden her office designed as a recreation park in Canada. To provide a flavor of Italy, Italian football playgrounds were landscaped as grass-covered recreational spaces in the Canadian park, complete with a grass-covered, hole-puckered wall in whose tiny, circular spaces mineral water bottles quenched the thirst of passers-by.

Nicotera's lecture was the first hosted by the Department of Landscape Design and Ecosystem Management this year and was held at the Agriculture Lecture Hall on AUB's lower campus. Nicotera, who currently teaches landscape architecture at the University of Bremen in Germany, studied architecture in Rome and in 2000 founded the now-renowned German office of architecture, "," together with fellow architects Paola Cannavs and Francesca Venier. She explained that the office mainly seeks to develop her research on landscape architecture through collaborative efforts with colleagues to explore the role landscape architecture plays in the transformation of both urban environments and the landscape architectural projects that aim to preserve and reproduce "the identity" of those environments.

Nicotera's studio has received international recognition, having swept up prizes in many competitions inside and outside Europe and successfully completed a significant number of critically acclaimed projects in world capitals of landscape architecture. By showing her work in collective exhibitions, publishing her projects in international journals, holding lectures, and participating in international symposia and workshops, Nicotera hopes to continue her active contribution to the ongoing cultural debate on contemporary landscape architecture.