ARQUITECTURA AGRONOMIA is a firm that develops Landscape Architecture projects around the world by reading and exploring the unrecognized potential of places and translating that knowledge into proposals.
We recognize the importance of understanding the behavior of living systems, and the position the biophysical world has in the human environment.
We are an independent practice, but we strongly believe in collaborating with other disciplinary groups because we understand the challenge and the complexity of building a better human ecosystem. This challenge can only be faced with a spirit of cooperation and from multiple lenses and perspectives.
We aim to listen, translate and make visible the attributes of the living materials so they can inform our design strategies and architectural proposals. We work along a spectrum: from the small scale of a garden, very often a place of exploration, to the greater scale of the land.
The primary motivation of our work is the search to uncover potential beauty that exists outside ourselves from the deep understanding of ecosystems that are too often disregarded. As a result of this exploration we expect to affect our fellow citizens with a new aesthetic: ethical and physical. People who interact
with our design projects have to become curious about the living materials and inspired to establish a new relationship with them based on respect, enjoyment, emotion, interaction and strong feelings due to the novel beauty they are discovering.
Our theoretical approach is responding to the challenges of the twenty-first century with a clear ethical position: honesty and generosity toward others. There is an important gap to be explored between the short‐term challenges that humanity faces and a long-term vision of the same questions. All the living elements have a place in our design proposals.
Our methodology has been inspired by the re-interpretation of “landscape thinking“ and by the need to overcome modernity. Landscape thinking is the universal response that links us humans (all of us) to our sense of place, a sense defined principally by climate and geologic features which have influenced the shape of the human environment, and human culture, for millennia.
We have evolved our way of designing, by looking through the lens of abundance (gift) or scarcity (product of labour) 1. This open‐ended and broad understanding of place is a tool that allows us to better translate the opportunities and to clearly display the options before deciding what is best for each site or situation. We work closely with our clients in the final process of decision making and we share the conversation and the iterations orchestrated by the rule-based system we set up.
We are familiar with the language and behavior of water, vegetation, soils, tree architecture, and plant life cycles. Simultaneously, we have expertise in identifying the parameters that will intervene in rule‐based systems involving infrastructures, management, urban metabolism, temporality and seasonality among others.
The exploration of a new design logic that engenders better understanding of systems, cycles and natural processes has been our goal and has shaped our professional trajectory from the beginning. We have been inspired in part by our background in the field of agriculture and architecture but also by the mentorship of our colleague, the French landscape architect Jacques Simon. This mentorship with its strong exchange of knowledge and ideas, as well as a shared understanding of the field through common empirical experience, has deeply enriched our professional philosophy and careers.
We continue the legacy of mentorship by devoting part of our time to Academia responding to the importance of transmitting knowledge, from generation to generation. We extend this transmission by incorporating the need for curiosity, the tools for experimentation and the role of uncertainty, which is integral to the very core of landscape architecture. To understand our place and our actual capacity to act upon systems in this complex relationship with the environment is critical to our academic vision.
From our position in the Landscape and Architecture Departments at the University of Virginia we always maintain a critical vision of contemporary projects, and we feel an obligation to produce even better landscape architects than we are ourselves. In this way we entrust future generations with creating a better man-made environment. Knowledge and experience cannot be lost and therefore, we assume this responsibility.
In our professional journey we are always seeking colleagues who integrate science with the humanities. We are in continuous motion, and we integrate in our proposals the values of the Mediterranean culture: generosity, fraternity, diversity, integration, beauty, passion, optimism, happiness, equality, imagination, amusement, uncertainty, seduction, intensity, utopia, love and originality.
All of our work and research is based on risk, learning from failure, freedom and independence, rigor, and creativity, which bring optimism and joy to our work.
Teresa Galí-Izard and Jordi Nebot
1 BERQUE, A. (2013). Thinking trough landscape. Abingdon: Earthscan from Routledge Ed.