Looking for an Environmental Ethics, by Rodrigo de la O

The most important consequence that in a few decades we have significantly expanded space-time scale of human impacts is that it has changed our perception of environmental problems and how to tackle them. Our interests have been moved through a spatial growing scale of populations, communities, ecosystems, watersheds, oceans and continents, to the planetary level.

In this context, influenced by an increasing environmental sensitivity, society needs a new aesthetic that can be connected to renewed relationships between human and its environment. Art, philosophy, architecture, or landscapes, in connection with the most advanced science (mostly ecology, information and physic) explore new territories with the aim of providing a theoretical basis for environmental aesthetics yet to be defined.

In the second half of the twentieth century, with tempered technology sufficiently advanced, the architecture critic Reyner Banham began using the term environmental aesthetics, which was assumed from the English scientist Ralph Hopkinson. The concept was coined to refer to a total design that would provide the set of all the sensations perceived as the human response to the building, i.e. a comprehensive and ab initio design, to avoid further corrections desperate late applied.

This paper wants to delve into the 60′ and 70′ techno-utopian projects through its connections with contemporary philosophy of nature, allowing track some characteristics of environmental aesthetic. These projects are usually characterized by experimentation with the landscape, considering the Earth as the planetary garden, for example the Buckminster Fuller´s ‘Spaceship Earth’, Yves Klein´s ‘return to a Technical Eden’ , Öyvin Fahlstöm ‘Garden (A World Model)’ or Peter Cook’s ‘Prepared Landscape’.

Rodrigo de la O, Esculea Tecnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid, ES


Harvard Citation Guide: de la O, R. (2012) Looking for an Environmental Ethics, International Society for the Philosophy of Architecture, [blog] 20 May 2012, Available at: https://isparchitecture.wordpress.com. [Accessed: 01 June 2012].

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