Thomas Sieverts and Lars Lerup: Lacunas - The Middle Landscape
Monday, 23 January 2012

Video by: Moritz Dirks (MDX-Film)

Routinely dismissed as mere sprawl, the middle landscape is the black hole of recent urbanism, absorbing human energy and resources but seldom revealing the principles of its operation. Besides the recent affirmation for the dense city under the auspice of sustainability, the reality confronts us with a rather complex conurbation and a weak set of planning instruments. Triggered by Lars Lerup's most recent publication, One Million Acres & No Zoning, the New Dialogues series brings together two key investigators on the subject of the middle landscape, Thomas Sieverts and Lars Lerup, to reexamine our understanding of unregulated cities—their huge potential and difficult problems for the 21st century.

Lars Lerup Albert K. and Harry K. Smith Professor and former dean at Rice University School of Architecture. Lerup holds degrees in engineering, architecture and urban design - he is a Doctor of Technology, honoris causa, at Lunds Tekniska Hogskola, Sweden. Lerup has lectured and exhibited around the world and published several books and some fifty essays of international recognition, among them Das Unfertige bauen (1986) and After the City (1999). His design work includes projects for new towns, housing and furniture. He was named Swedish-American Citizen of the Year in 2004 for his lifelong contributions to architectural education and practice.

Thomas Sieverts studied architecture and urban design in Stuttgart, Liverpool and Berlin. In 1965 he formed the "Freie Planungsgruppe Berlin" and lectured Urban Design at the Hochschule der bildenden Künste (Berlin) between 1967 and 1970. He was guest professor in the Urban Design Program at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. From 1971 to 1999 he was Professor of Urban Design at the Technical University Darmstadt while he collaborated with the School of Town Planning, University of Nottingham, from 1984 to 1989. Sieverts is currently a partner in S.K.A.T., Architekten und Stadtplaner, which began in 2000. Sieverts holds a Doctoral degree, honoris causa, of Technical University Berlin. Among other publications, he is the author of Zwischenstadt (1997) and Cities without Cities (2000).

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Wolfgang Schäffner (Cultural Theorist, Humboldt University) & Gunnar Hartmann (Architect, Dessau Institute of Architecture)

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