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Opening images of an essay adapted for Future Architecture platform, originally written for The Funambulist (Issue 18: Cartography and Power, 2018) at the invitation of editor-in-chief Léopold Lambert.

The Tsunami Stones of Japan:
An incomplete atlas of transgressions and regressions
featured in Future Architecture

Landscapes are never given, they are made.”
— Jane Wolff [1]

An excerpt from The Tsunami Stones of Japan as featured in Future Architecture Journal:

In the early history of landscape architecture in North America Frederick Law Olmsted and some of his contemporaries worked as designers and, crucially, as advocates for public literacy, awareness, and ultimately the protection of landscapes that they considered essential to the overall well-being of the public sphere. In so doing, they expanded the field of possibilities for landscape architecture. This movement not only extended the influence of landscape architecture beyond the boundaries of the site, but it empowered a profession in its early stages to consider its agency at scales beyond the site, endowing it with the responsibility to consider the forces that shape landscape outside of design, including politics, economy, and material processes.

The landscapes of moving shorelines, defined as the are by the ebb and flow of coastal transgressions and regressions, pose many unique problems to disciplines ranging from geology to landscape architecture, and also affect the safety of those who live alongside them. An Incomplete Atlas of Stones is a project that investigates a type of stone set into a coastal landscape, the “tsunami stones” of Japan, in order to carry those aims forward, in order to think collectively about how we design and conduct research, in order to develop a greater fluency about the relations involved in making landscapes.

Text adapted from a longer essay first commissioned by and published in The Funambulist, issue no. 18, “Cartography & Power”, 2018 and a public lecture delivered at the AA in London, February 2018. 

Please consider subscribing to and supporting The Funambulist, a digital and printed magazine examining the politics of space and bodies. Created and edited by Léopold Lambert and in part supported by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in Fine Arts. To read, order, or subscribe, please visit The Funambulist site directly.

This research was partially funded by the Peter Prangnell Research Travel Grant from the Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design at the University of Toronto.

To read the entire essay, please visit the Future Architecture platform.

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Cover and back matter, The Funambulist, Issue 18: Cartography & Power, July-August 2018.