BEAUTY MEMORY ENTROPY
- KEYNOTE -
DR. ELLEN BRAAE
Half a century of de-industrialisation have forced upon us a more or less voluntarily renewed interest in ruins. Ruins have played many roles in Western culture, yet, these industrial ruins have a scale, distribution and character that challenges well-established categories, like urbanity, nature, beauty and at large our ideas of progress. From the perspective of architectural and landscape architectural practices, their potential reintegration in the urban fabric also pose epistemological challenges. They are far more than just another building type. Since the WWII, Europe has built more square-meters than in all the preceding periods combined. Also considering the stagnant population means that future urbanization processes must take place within the already built environment. Transformation will replace green field development and much of this will happen within former industrial areas. Unless we choose to work from scratch removing everything on site – whither one might ask – the challenge is to work with the ‘as found’, to dig into what is already there, and to develop strategies for this new kind of life-world ‘post-production’.
Ellen Braae is Professor of Landscape Architecture Theory and Method at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Ellen is trained as an architect and landscape architect from the Aarhus School of Architecture, where she also got her PhD. Ellen has several years of award winning practice experience, including her own office. Before joining the University of Copenhagen in 2009, she held a position as Associate Professor at the Aarhus School of Architecture and prior to that as Associate Professor at Aalborg University.
Ellen’s research basically aims at improving the quality of open spaces and in wider terms of the urban landscapes. It includes questions related to the preservation and transformation of the postindustrial urban landscape. I.e. theory and practice of cultural heritage in general and landscape-related heritage in particular, ecology and aesthetics, landscape architecture theories and methods, atmosphere, spatial theory, design theory and landscape based urban development. She is the author of the book Beauty Redeemed. Recycling Post-Industrial Landscapes (Birkhäuser 2015) and has co-edited several journal issues and academic collected volumes. She currently researches on Transecting, developing large scale site-sensitive mapping methods following in the footsteps of Alexander von Humboldt. She also researches on ‘welfare landscapes’, and has recently received a large grant for a collective research project entitled Reconfiguring Welfare Landscapes [http://ign.ku.dk/english/research/landscape-architecture-planning/landscape-architecture-urbanism/research-project-1/]
Besides being professor in landscape architecture theory and method Ellen is heading the Research group for Landscape Architecture and -Urbanism. The group consists of appr. 20 people and is currently working with design methods, cultural heritage, temporary urbanism targeted at three research areas: Landscape transformation, heritage and welfare; Design research, design pedagogics and Aesthetics; and Post-Nature Design. [http://ign.ku.dk/english/research/landscape-architecture-planning/landscape-architecture-urbanism/]. She teaches the MSc courses Urbanism Studio and Theories and Methods in Landscapes Architecture, supervises MSc and PhD students and annually offer an international PhD-course.
Outside academia Ellen works as a jury member in national and international architecture competitions often focusing on urban development/transformation having landscape and urban open spaces playing an important role. And she occasionally edits and publishes book, mostly within the framework of Ikaros Press.