The machinist landscape: Land Art Generator Initiative (Competition)

Greg Keeffe, Mike Dring

    Research output: Non-textual formDesign

    291 Downloads (Pure)


    ‘By drawing a diagram, a ground plan of a house, a street plan to the location of a site, or a topographic map, one draws a “logical two dimensional picture”. A “logical picture” differs from a natural or realistic picture in that it rarely looks like the thing it stands for.’
    A Provisional Theory of Non-Sites, Robert Smithson (1968)

    Between design and ground there are variances, deviations and gaps. These exist as physical interstices between what is conceptualised and what is realised; and they reveal moments in the design process that resist the reconciliation of people and their environment (McHarg 1963). The Machinist Landscape interrogates the significance of these variances through the contrasting processes of coppice and photovoltaic energy. It builds on the potential of these gaps, and in doing so proposes that these spaces of variance can reveal the complexity of relationships between consumption and remediation, design and nature.
    Fresh Kills Park, and in particular the draft master plan (2006), offers a framework to explore this artificial construct. Central to the Machinist Landscape is the analysis of the landfill gas collection system, planned on a notional 200ft grid. Variations are revealed between this diagrammatic grid measure and that which has been constructed on the site. These variances between the abstract and the real offer the Machinist Landscape a powerful space of enquiry. Are these gaps a result of unexpected conditions below ground, topographic nuances or natural phenomena? Does this space of difference, between what is planned and what is constructed, have the potential to redefine the dynamic processes and relations with the land?
    The Machinist Landscape is structured through this space of variance with an ‘entropic grid’, the under-storey of which hosts a carefully managed system of short-rotation coppice (SRC). The coppice, a medieval practice related to energy, product, and space, operates on theoretical and programmatic levels. It is planted along a structure of linear bunds, stabilized through coppice pole retaining structures and enriched with nutrients from coppice produced bio-char. Above the coppice is built an upper-storey of photovoltaic (PV); its structures fabricated from the coppiced timber and the PV produced with graphene from coppice charcoal processes.
    Original languageEnglish
    Media of outputOnline
    Size4 xa1
    Publication statusPublished - 22 Sept 2012


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