Everything you always wanted to know about plants

Everything you always wanted to know about plants*
* but were afraid to ask
20–24 March 2017

Giuseppe Penone, working on Cedro di Versailles, 2000

The ruin has re-emerged with remarkable force recently. Perhaps in response to a fragile ecology or a fragile economy where growth needed to be matched by decay. In either case it underlines the urgency of reintegrating architecture into the environment where nature and architecture can grow as one human culture. And with the emergence of landscape as central to architectural culture, the garden becomes the world, but quickly we realise how little we know of botanical space.

Do you know a hardy perennial from an evergreen? Have you ever added sketchy greenery to an architectural drawing knowing full well how little it actually means? Despite our ever-expanding field of contemporary architectural knowledge, we know so much less about basic botany than pre-modern architects. Exactly at a time when we should know more. To conclude our series of seminar weeks on landscape, we shall go back to basics; to learn about plants. In a series of lectures, visits and hands-on practical exercises we shall plant the seeds of horticultural knowledge. What is a plant? How are plants categorised and how do they live in the wild and survive in our constructed landscapes? Architectural culture grows from cultivating knowledge of the whole environment.

Zurich, 20–24 March 2017
max. 250CHF min. 12; max 21 students