Flights of Imagination

Flights of Imagination: Aviation, Landscape, Design

Sonja Dümpelmann
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 352
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7zwcqs
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  • Book Info
    Flights of Imagination
    Book Description:

    In much the same way that views of the earth from the Apollo missions in the late 1960s and early 1970s led indirectly to the inauguration of Earth Day and the modern environmental movement, the dawn of aviation ushered in a radically new way for architects, landscape designers, urban planners, geographers, and archaeologists to look at cities and landscapes. As icons of modernity, airports facilitated the development of a global economy during the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, reshaping the way people thought about the world around them. Professionals of the built environment awoke to the possibilities offered by the airports themselves as sites of design and by the electrifying new aerial perspective on landscape.

    InFlights of Imagination,Sonja Dümpelmann follows the evolution of airports from their conceptualization as landscapes and cities to modern-day plans to turn decommissioned airports into public urban parks. The author discusses landscape design and planning activities that were motivated, legitimized, and facilitated by the aerial view. She also shows how viewing the earth from above redirected attention to bodily experience on the ground and illustrates how design professionals understood the aerial view as simultaneously abstract and experiential, detailed and contextual, harmful and essential. Along the way, Dümpelmann traces this multiple dialectic from the 1920s to the land-camouflage activities during World War II, and from the environmental and landscape planning initiatives of the 1960s through today.

    eISBN: 978-0-8139-3584-3
    Subjects: Architecture and Architectural History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-16)

    Flight, in particular powered flight, which first developed in the early twentieth century, has changed our perspectives on the world, has transformed our perceptions and imaginations of the world, and has changed the landscape itself and the ways we design and inhabit it. This book is about the new horizons that powered flight has provided to professionals designing and planning the built environment, including architects, landscape architects, and urban planners and designers. It deals with those moments during the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries when these professionals developed an aerial imagination and an epistemology based upon aerial vision, and when...

  5. One Plans in the Air THE EVOLUTION OF THE AIRPORT LANDSCAPE
    (pp. 17-74)

    Huffman Prairie, a meadow located about eight miles (12.87 kilometers) east of Dayton, Ohio, was the site of Wilbur and Orville Wright’s first powered flights in 1904 and 1905 (fig. 4). The flat, open terrain provided them with a suitable experimentation ground near their hometown after their first success at powered flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in 1903. The Wright brothers had moved in 1900 to Kitty Hawk, where steady winds to carry their craft and soft, sandy soils to cushion crashes had provided them with an ideal testing ground for their early experiments. As soon as technological progress...

  6. Two Air-Minded Visions THE AERIAL VIEW IN EARLY-TWENTIETH-CENTURY LANDSCAPE DESIGN AND URBAN PLANNING
    (pp. 75-118)

    When powered flight took off in the early twentieth century, design professionals discovered more than the new opportunities that the planning, design, and construction of airfields and airports offered them. The aerial view from the airplane captured on photographic film also provoked many excited responses and musings among designers and their critics. The aerial view sustained a new epistemology and new and existing ideas and theories, and it enabled new methodologies in design and planning practice.

    In 1929, the artist and Bauhaus professor László Moholy-Nagy argued that the “new vision” the airplane enabled from the air—the new space of...

  7. Three “Cultivating Beautiful Air Views” DESIGNING AND PLANNING WITH AND FOR THE AERIAL VIEW
    (pp. 119-152)

    In 1928, when commercial air transport was assuming a greater importance, the American landscape architect–turned–city planner John Nolen pointed toward the new jobs that aviation provided for architects. In addition to the design of airport buildings, the design and layout of buildings, open spaces, and cities as a whole would provide new work. According to Nolen, architects could be employed to create “beautiful air views” for the “air sight-seer,” a new type of pleasure-seeking individual for whom aerial sightseeing trips were offered at the airports of many major European cities. Like Nolen, the American writer H. I. Brock...

  8. Four Concealing the Land CREATING INVISIBLE LANDSCAPES OF WAR AND PEACE
    (pp. 153-208)

    In 1945, Lee Miller photographed the nineteenth-century garden of Linderhof Palace near Oberammergau in Bavaria (fig. 50). The black-and-white photograph shows garden statues and pavilions covered with camouflage netting in front of a background of mountains in the distance. Miller captured the seemingly deserted and silent palace grounds with their mystical veiled structures on a sunny day from the shade underneath a tree. Her photograph conveys a surreal and eerie atmosphere not only because of the light contrast and the viewpoint, which suggests what a soldier on reconnaissance might see as he stumbled out of the undergrowth from the woods...

  9. Five Conserving the Land THE AERIAL VIEW AND ENVIRONMENTAL PLANNING AND DESIGN
    (pp. 209-246)

    In 1955, the German-born architect-turned-writer Erwin Gutkind gave the introductory lecture at the international conference “Man’s Role in Changing the Face of the Earth” held at Princeton University. Sponsored by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research in New Jersey to initiate a discussion on the wise and sustained use of the landscape, the conference was organized by a small group of researchers from the sciences and humanities: the geographer Carl O. Sauer, the zoologist Marston Bates, and the historian Lewis Mumford. Gutkind’s lecture was entitled “Our World from the Air: Conflict and Adaptation.”

    That the Princeton conference was introduced with...

  10. Six From Airfields to Green Fields RECLAIMING AIRPORTS AS LANDSCAPES FOR URBAN ECOLOGY
    (pp. 247-284)

    Throughout their existence, but especially since they came to occupy such a dominant position in our mobile global world as sites for mass travel in the second half of the twentieth century, airports have inspired thought about landscapes and about the creation of new landscapes in fields as diverse as geography, wildlife biology, and art. An increasing awareness of the environmental impacts of aviation facilities and aircraft has encouraged the conceptualization of the airport as landscape, and as a component in the landscape mosaic. Wildlife biologists and ecologists have developed elaborate wildlife management schemes for airports and their surrounding areas.¹...

  11. Notes
    (pp. 285-306)
  12. Bibliography
    (pp. 307-328)
  13. Index
    (pp. 329-340)