1. Still Life With Flowers, Jan Van Huysum (1723)
2. Untitled XVIII, Andreas Gursky (2015)
3. Paperwork and the Will of Capital, Taryn Simon
4. Levoplant Interior, Phalaenopsis orchids and Cordyline australis growers, The Netherlands
5. Yiwu Commodity City, photograph by John Seymour (2015)
6. Salzburg, 1977, Luigi Ghirri (1977)
7. Visible Distance / Second Sight, Jennifer Bolande (2017)
8. Morning Cleaning, Mies van der Rohe Foundation, Barcelona, 1999, Jeff Wall (1999)
9. Home, Lars Tunbjörk (2002)
10. Arteconomy House, 51n4e (2016)
11. Ile Rousse, 1976, Luigi Ghirri (1976)
12. Super L, 150 Housing Units, Bruther (2013)
13. Superior Court, Bas Princen (2005)
14. Frame(s), DOGMA (2011)
15. Terrassenhaus, Berlin, Brandlhuber + Emde, Burlon + Muck Petzet (2018)
16. Garden Pavilion, Basel, Christ + Gantenbein (2016)
17. Nantes School of Architecture, Lacaton + Vassal (2009)
18. Maze, Leopold Banchini + Daniel Zamarbide (2016)

Improbable Bouquet


Daniel Jacobs


“Masses of flowers—a visual spectacle—especially concentrated in the front lines. Can be used to set up barricades, to present to Hell’s Angels, police, politicians, press and spectators whenever needed or at the parade’s end. Masses of marchers can be asked to bring their own flowers. Front lines should be organized and provided with flowers in advance.”[1]

Architecture arranges surfaces, spaces, thresholds, materials, and images to mediate between “humans” and “natures,” often ignoring the messy overlap, slippage, and seepage occurring between these oppositional zones. The architectural image can challenge (or absorb) these binary accounts between built environment and nature. What can flowers (following Roland Barthes) say about our perception of space, or even political action? What material orthodoxies can be overturned to reveal new relationships between an ecosystem and a tectonic system? What can the artificial—the plastic flowers and orchestrated landscapes—teach us about our own desires for “nature”? Should we promote and succumb to these desires, or reject them? How do we commodify living specimens, and what role does architecture play in this act of commodification? What if we just looked at architecture through the woods? The provocation of these images seeks to situate a new set of hybrid possibilities for architecture and ecology. Images are sensorial, technical, persuasive, active, etc. Images can help reconstitute our relationship to an ecosystem and environment, reframe our world view. Images themselves are difficult commodities—Is this rendering real? Who paid for it? Are those plants plastic? Who labors to produce that landscape?—how do we navigate these images? How do we loosen the interfaces between our bodies, architecture, and these ecological systems: allowing infiltration and exfiltration, simultinaity and mutual  support? Can architecture be an arbiter, a mediator, in these hybrid futures we continuously tout as necessary for planetary survival? What are the consequences of images to communicate these new ways of being in both nature and architecture?
[1] First method in list of protest tactics from Allen Ginsberg’s, “Demonstration or Spectacle as Example, as Communication; or, How to Make a March/Spectacle” (1965).