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Author(s): Pierre-Albert Perrillat-Charlaz, Evelyne Chalaye
Contributor: ENSA Saint-Etienne

Everything first starts outdoors

The Landscape Atlas is a shared educational experiment, started by a team of instructor-architects[1] in an “atelier hors les murs” (outdoor studio): l’Atelier Rural de l’Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Saint-Etienne (The Rural Studio at the French National School for Advanced Architectural Studies in Saint Etienne). It gives sensitive in situ approaches an essential role in the design process and asserts the experience of the walking landscapes as a resource for the contemporary spatial plan.

As a joint research project, the Atlas links the pedagogical specificities of the two project studios for the Licence and Masters degrees in the form of “collections” of images – maps, designs, drawings, etc.), and inventories of crossings and surveys conducted in the North Ardeche.

Walking: experiencing the landscape.

This re-learning of the land over three days, follows a protocol that sets aside a priori objective information to propose paths without “overview”, without maps or GPS; the method requires a bodily investment that engages the attention of all senses during the walks. It assumes the belief that the spatial plan implements the memory of our lived experiences above any objectified and standardised knowledge.

Reproduction: the Atlas as method

Inventing and producing maps in all forms, sometimes enigmatic, proposing sensitive reproductions of fragmented worlds, the Atlas is a report of Image-Memories[2] of immersions in “environments”: A shared imagination. A primarily visual configuration , it invites the construction of possible spatial relations between landscape and design. A tool for plural and sometimes unexpected readings, it proposes renewed connections and analogies based on graphic or photographic elements and thus belongs to a construction that assembles and disassembles possible interpretations, appropriations, and transformations of landscapes.

[1]        Instructor architects and landscape architects: Philippe Ayad, Evelyne Chalaye, Jérôme Glairoux, Aude Mermier, Séverin Perreaut, Pierre-Albert Perrillat-Charlaz, Véronique Roger, Anne Sottil, Jérémie Taite, Antoine Vialle, Ludivine Victoire

[2]        L’atlas Mnémosyne (The Mnemosyne Atlas) by Aby Warburg created between 1924 and 1929, a major art history work, was initially a project to make the legacies of antiquity visible in western culture through a format of images without text. “A visual form of knowledge or a knowledgeable form of sight”. See G; Didi-Hubermann, 2011, Atlas ou le gai savoir inquiet (Atlas or the bright troubled knowledge) – l’œil de l’histoire (The Eye of History)

Function : Ardèche Landscapes' Atlas