What are “Intermediate Landscapes”?

Ross Racine's Digital Suburbia, ©Ross Racine

As a new program dedicated to this intricate field of design, our program aims to address the urgent demands on our planet’s urban condition with a holistic approach; one that does not compete with or alienate other schools of thought, but rather, works with them to generate the most effective solutions. That is why our approach encompasses practices from urban design to landscape architecture, working at a scale between neighborhood and region. But what do we mean exactly when we talk about Regenerating Intermediate Landscapes?

In the following text, our program directors Carmen Mendoza and Pere Vall outline the main points, or mission statement, if you will, of the program, giving our readers a clearer notion of what intermediate landscapes are, and how and why we must regenerate them in order to achieve sustainable urban habitats.

Beijing's changing urban landscapes, ©Li Han/Atelier 11

In our contemporary work of unlimited development and global technology, there seem to be two strong and apparently contradictory demands.

On the one hand, we need to think of the city from a regional scope. The efficient growth of infrastructural networks requires us to tackle the design of the city-region through strategies at a bigger scale.

On the other hand, we must be attentive to that which is local and particular of a place. Uniqueness is in high demand in the global market and it is broadly accepted that sustainable development requires the support of local communities.

Global technical efficiency and local identity converge when building the contemporary landscape. Therefore, we believe that the current challenge for Architects, and those who are involved in building livable environments, consists in the integrated design of regions and communities as part of a joint process.


From this perspective, the denomination of “Intermediate landscapes” shifts us to new physical and social compacts which no longer respond to pre-established limits and emerge to address very diverse objectives, such as:
preserving cultural landscapes, regenerating informal settlements, retrofitting sprawl, designing waterfronts or transforming highways into civic axes.

This new scenario requires alternative intervention tools, but overall asks for a new professional profile capable of encompassing, with a strategic view, design at the community and regional scale.

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Our masters program starts October 2012. To find out more about the program and how to apply, head over to our homepage and browse through our main menu. We look forward to seeing you in class!

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  1. […] on the intricate field of intermediate landscapes, the course focuses on the regeneration of urban sprawl, informal settlements and the preservation […]



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