Terra Nova – DMZ: No Place To Hide

Monday, March 21, 2011 15:47

Posted by Corrado Curti | This post is the second entry on No Place to Hide: an online map of potential places

Title: Terra Nova – DMZ
Place: North-South Korea Border, 38°36′48″N 128°22′0″E
Type: Project

Architect: Lebbeus Woods
Date: 1988

Description: The Terra Nova project was commissioned in 1988 by Kyong Park, at the time Director and Curator of the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York, for the Project DMZ exhibition, described as:
“an extensive […] project aimed at addressing from an architectural standpoint the effects of conflict by proposing alternative spatial strategies in relation to the Korean Demilitarized Zone. Taking the DMZ as an exemplification of political, military and economic polarization, the project called for the use of design strategies rather than military force to initiate paths toward reunification of the Korean peninsula and its people. […]. Participants included Nam June Paik, Paul Virilio and Avant Travaux Studio” (2).

Image source (3)

The proposal by Lebbeus Woods directly addresses the effects of a permanent state of war not only on human and social structures but also on the territory and its ecologies. The project is a mega-structure, one of those spatial systems called by Woods Building Lanscapes, whose aim is to foster interaction between human and natural terriories: “a ‘second nature,’ a terra nova, that engages the human and the natural in ways that are primarily spatial. The ultimate aim was to maintain the distinct characteristics of each, without sentimentalizing either, and to foster a ‘third,’ which is a new, ecological utopia.”

Not surprisingly the idea of utopia that stands behind Lebbeus Woods project is both provocative and deeply
rooted into a thermodynamic reading of the existence: “The utopian condition is one of conflict, achieving a dynamic balance of opposing ideas, actions, forces, through continuous struggle to assert differences of every kind. This idea is based on the belief that the ultimate state of harmony is death. For living things and systems, harmony means the resolution of conflicts and the achievement of a final, ‘peaceful,’ state.” (3)

Bibliography: Lebbeus Woods, A+U: Lebbeus Woods Terra Nova, Gingko Pr Inc., December 1990
Lebbeus Woods, Terra Nova, in Peter Noever, Architecture in Transition, Prestel Verlag, 1992
Web: www.lebbeuswoods.net (3)
lebbeuswoods.wordpress.com/2010/09/13/building-landscapes (1)
www.storefrontnews.org/exhibitions_events/exhibitions?e=337 (2)

Images: DMZ – Terra Nova, source (1), except image 1, source (3):

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