Norma Space

AgriterritoriesMilica Topalović

What is the future of the manifold landscapes and territories across the world, entangled with contemporary cities through water and food flows, labour movements and other linkages? How is human and non-human life in these environments affected by cities and by urbanisation? Architectural discourses remain largely focused on buildings and on cities, while these extended territories are equally exposed to rapid and far-reaching transformations with massive social and environmental implications. How can architects respond to these urgent changes? Can architecture become ecological, and go beyond-the-human and beyond-the-built, to engage with the environment as a whole?

In recent years, a crucial theme remaining in the blind field of architecture is agriculture. With nearly half of the total land area on the planet currently dedicated to some form of agricultural production, agricultural landscapes might be the most urgent field of action to address the problematic of sustainability. Many types of agricultural practices have been linked to increasing risks for climate change, exhaustion of water and natural resources, depletion of soil fertility, as well as disadvantaging local population, and affecting quality of life. An awareness of the consequences of industrialisation of agriculture, including its addiction to fertilisers, pesticides and fossil fuels, has been growing. These issues stand at the core of the climate and biodiversity crises, and they call for new approaches in architecture too.

The last series of Landscape Exchange is will open up a discussion on urban transformation of contemporary agriterritories, including the city’s hinterlands and “rural” countrysides. Our guest is Milica Topalović, an architect, researcher and Associate Professor of Architecture and Territorial Planning at the ETH Zurich Department of Architecture. Milica will speak about the methods and themes of her territorial investigations and projects on countrysides of Singapore, Nile Valley, and Switzerland.