A quick perusal of any design journal or blog will yield literally tens of variations of the word ‘landscape’. In the sophisticated Germanic tradition of taking two dissimilar words and slamming them together to make a new word , our design lexicon is now blessed with delights such as ‘city-scape’, ‘road-scape’, ‘wall-scape‘, ‘waterscape’, ‘winterscape‘, and the always curious ‘dross-scape‘. We also have rural such as peculiarities as ‘farm-scape’ and ‘porch-scape‘.
There is even an entire European journal named ‘scape, claiming to be “the new international magazine for landscape architecture, city planning, and urban design”.
Now, this seemed like a good idea back when MVRDV was writing about data-scapes and the emergence of 21st century hedonistic urban culture going global. If not brilliant- and those guys usually are brilliant- it was at least a clever way of communicating an idea. However, this word game has become nothing more than a parlor trick, a cheap marketing gimmick to sell an otherwise also-ran design idea.
We cannot admit this, of course. When writing for peers or presenting to clients, we must beam at them- gleefully and smugly- and bellow ‘I have conceived of this space as a series of certain space-scapes’, for we are all Dante, inventing our own language because the ones we know are simply too banal for our brilliant ideas.
Therefore, inspired by the recent birthday of the USA (and the clouds blanketing the northeastern US for the last two weeks) it is with much smugness that I want to talk about the greatest ‘scape of all- SKYSCAPES! As beautiful as trees and buildings can be, they don’t really compare to: