November 6, 2020

Dorothée Imbert on Michel Desvigne's Territorial Attitude

Knowlton School Director Dorothée Imbert is the author of "A territorial attitude," an essay which appears in Transforming Landscapes: Michel Desvigne Paysagiste.

Knowlton School Director Dorothée Imbert is the author of "A territorial attitude," an essay which appears in Transforming Landscapes: Michel Desvigne Paysagiste. The essay contextualizes Desvigne's "landscape attitude" by teasing out themes and historical resonances across the reading and shaping of landscapes, and establishing connections with the disciplines of urbanism and geography. Edited by Françoise Fromonot, the book documents ten of Desvigne’s major public projects from France, the United States, Spain and Qatar.

Desvigne's projects have a strong strategic and conceptual component. Urban infrastructure projects play a major role, and emphasize the urban planning and design expertise evident in his landscape architecture. Projects highlighted in the book include Port-Marianne (Montpellier, France), Bulevar Del Ferrocarril (Burgos, Spain), Novartis Campus (New Jersey, United States), and Detroit East Riverfront (Michigan, United States), and Doha Coastline (Qatar).

These projects highlight those in which he is responsible not only for the landscape architecture, but for coordination of the entire project. In presenting these public projects, the book asks: How can such highly complex projects be realized? What does the intellectual thought process look like? What specific problems arise in their realization?

In addition to Imbert's essay, Transforming Landscapes includes a photo essay "Paris-Saclay, the edge of the campus" by Patrick Faigenbaum, the essay "An idea in landscape" by Giles A. Tiberghien, and an introductory essay "Landscape design as urban design?" by Françoise Fromonot. The majority of the book follows Desvigne as he details the intentions, strategies and professional culture of his territorial scale operations. 

Michel Desvigne is one of the most renowned French landscape architects in the world. Based in Paris, he has held guest professorships at the Architectural Association in London and Harvard University. Among Desvigne’s most renowned awards are 2014 European Prize for Urban Public Space for his restoration project of the Old-Port of Marseille, and 2011 France's Grand Prize for Urbanism for his continual contribution to and reflection upon the city and larger territory.

Transforming Landscapes: Michel Desvigne Paysagiste is available at De Gruyter and Amazon.