Life forms. Learning from Corner

Christina Kvisthøj


The article invites the reader on a short guided
tour through the ecological universe of the
landscape architect James Corner. The text
offers a close reading and interpretation of
Corners written work along with examples of his
practice. It pursues the question of how a concept
of landscape may become a tool in a
design process, which Corner termes finding as
finding. The predominant way to understand the
tools at play in this process is to understand
Corners concept of ecology. The concept extentends
beyond the biological and holistic towards
a metaphorical understanding which covers a
diverse set of tools for architectural practice. I
use Corners own yet unspecified concept of the
field frame as an accumulating container for the
extensive idea of the life form. The life form in
Corners perspective serves as a metaphor for
the pictorial medium called the operational field
is the pivot point of the field frame. It is the one
metaphorical life form, which incorporates and
materialises the idea of the landscape, the
architect and the working process as life forms.
Corner sees it as a concrete and crucial tool in
the design process. His montages in Taking
Measures Across the American Landscape
along with the competition entry for The High
Line by his office Field Operations indicates
how the field frame may be uses in operation. In
the article The Field frame serve as a tool by
which to investigate Field Operations project for
The High Line in New York and shows how the
field frame might serve as a tool in the process
of finding and founding .

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