AARCA is a research based and artistically driven project run by landscape architect Stefan Darlan Boris addressing the challenges and potentials confronting landscape architecture and urban planning due to the entanglement of urbanisation and anthropogenic processes.
Natural scientists think of our contemporary age as a new geological epoch. The Holocene has given way to the ’Anthropocene’. Human activities have significant impact on the transformations of our planet, its ecosystems and geology.
The Anthropocene is an urban age. More than 50% of the population of the Earth today lives in cities. The percentage is expected to increase in the coming decades. In short: the future of humanity most probably will be fundamentally marked by both urbanization and the human impact on the planet Earth.
AARCA – a territory of urbanisation
As a physical platform of enquiry the project utilizes the Aarhus Bay Watershed as an area of interest with a strong focus on the Aarhus River Catchment Area (AARCA) as a specific territory of urbanisation. The Aarhus River itself is 40 km in length and the catchment area is 354 km2. Apart from being the reason why Aarhus, the second largest city in Denmark, is located where it is, along the East Jutland coastline, Aros, the original name of the city, literally meaning ‘at the mouth of the river’, AARCA is also the territory in which the Aarhus School of Architecture (AAA) is situated.
Aarhus Landscape Laboratory
Aarhus Landscape Laboratory functions as a concrete landscape laboratory within the territory of AARCA. The landscape laboratory consists of more than 20 hectares of urban-industrial woodland placed on a former waste deposit, Eskelund, centrally located along the Aarhus River less than a kilometre from the city centre making it an important future destination for the city’s growing population.
The main intention with the landscape laboratory is to use it as a cross-disciplinary platform for research and education, aiming to rethink and experiment in 1:1 how to develop and communicate new types of urban nature and attractive biodiversity. During the development process, the landscape laboratory is meant to raise awareness of the fact that urban nature can be wild and untamed, and at the same time deeply sensual, aesthetic and beautiful. This in turn shall qualify Eskelund as a future green gate between Aarhus’ densely built-up inner city and its more loosely inhabited surrounding landscapes.
The project makes use of a set of specific field operations (walking, cartography, landscape photography and film) as a way of making the anthropogenic processes and otherwise ephemeral conditions of the territory visible with an aim to use these as a platform upon which to discuss the future possibilities of the territory.
Currently being developed is a on-going series of ‘Profile Diagrams’ on various locations on Eskelund focusing on the relationship between natural and artificial topography, construction, plant species and spatial structure through the use of drawing, photography and film.
The AARCA Protocols
The project will unfold in a series of research catalogues described under one as the AARCA Protocols.