1. Please simply talk with us about the principles you comply with in landscape design.
First I will have to point out, in order to be better understood, what I believe to be the landscape by the following: ‘Landscape is ESSENTIALLY EVERYTHING.’
On the same way as Beuys or Filou in art? Without doubt. We are not depositary of territory or of any act of creation, thus each of us acts, builds, and evolves within these landscapes.
Also, I can speak of ‘externalization’, ‘outsourcing’, all referring to the distant of which the details becoming the driving force of this kind of project: Where are we in Kazakhstan? Who are the people that are to be the humus of this land and its future inhabitants?
Externalization, I’m not willing to make the physical limit of the project, because although the limit exists in fact, it doesn’t make sense in the absolute. The site is crossed by wind and flora besides people, which we have no way to control.
2. What kind of function do you expect the landscape perform in this grand and complex project G4 City?
In that project, what the Korean urbanists (Mr Park Chang-kwon And Jina Park) understood very well during our discussions was that the landscape plan cannot be summed up to offer a ‘Nature’ to an urbanite, nor to develop the leisure parks of an industrial society.
I wanted to develop this excrescence of the project (initial area of 4 km wide spread on over 20 km out of 60 km), integrate all the factors of the region into the formation of multiple micro-landscapes, impregnate, like a blotter, this broadband urban area of vivifying inhabited surroundings.
3. The project covers a large area, so that many aspects must be involved) in it. What we want to know is that will you introduce any new technique or material into the landscape design?
If there is a technique which I hope that this kind of project can be the emblem, that is the ‘social’ vision of the project of landscape project.
It is not with a new design that we develop such a grand project, but always by reducing the distance between the reasons why this project exists: humanness and the answers of the program developed by the landscape architect and planner.
The standard elements of the program of any new town are present and executed: golf courses, parks, arteries in timber, and other gimmicks that people can expect. However, this project gives an innovative character in its ability that integrates the off-site into the project.
One thing seemed evident to me was: what is 4 km wide in comparison with the extensive surrounding?… You live in this huge new district of town, on Saturday you take your bike and leave to air yourself…. you are very quickly this 4 km away, and what do you discover? A situation that Kazakhstan authorities like to remedy, that is an urban breakaway, a disinheritance of agricultural structures… you come back to your new rich apartment and the parks or the golf courses and shopping-mall can’t be helped… from then in your eyes, you live in a ‘No man’s land’.
It is in this sense that this project can become a truly exponential generator.
Wood Production: in order to identify the new towns, offer an identifying ‘jewellery box’, absorb the aural nuisance from the airport, and lay out a source of sustainable production.
Stream Wood Transportation: develop this mode of mass-transportation in order to reactivate the stream (trucks and leisure) and not to encumber the other transport routes.
Built in Wood: the part in contact with the stream, the factory city becomes a center for treatment of premium materials coming from the Lake Kapchagay.
Laboratory Agriculture Fields: Kazakh steppes weaken by Russian hyper-productivity of years. But the treatments are complex and they require the study that the simple plantations on the land cannot be resolved without engendering new ecological and financial disaster to local farmers.
Bio-technological Landscape: propose an experimental and living agriculture of the new productions, which fertilizes the Kazakh land. In direct contact with urban spaces and overlapping with the existing agricultural structures. And the new residents feel the beauty of the back country and the local people, the integral part to the process of modernization of the country.
Pastures & Agriculture Extension: parks and gardens are to be developed against the same elements as the agrarian structures enveloping the new town. Because the one of the most important elements of the landscape is not only its decorative character but that it produces what feeds us every day.
This Interview was published in International New Landscape Magazine- Shanghai-2008 and very relevant to the theme here.