The Outside in Design Culture: the New Heliomorphism

Charles Waldheim coined the term ‘landscape urbanism’ to describe the emergent discourse and practices of landscape in relation to design culture and contemporary urbanization. On these topics, he is author of Landscape as Urbanism: A General Theory (2016) and editor of The Landscape Urbanism Reader (2006). The school of Landscape Urbanism has provided designers with powerful concepts to understand and design for contemporary urban life, typified by dispersal, fragmentation and intrusive infrastructures: railways, harbors, industrial estates, airports, water treatment plants are the structuring elements for cities. In this sense, Landscape Urbanism contrasts the New Urbanism, which proposes an historicist design approach and stresses compact, walkable cities, upholding the distinction between residential, economic, ecologic and infrastructural zones. Waldheim proposes to go beyond these oppositions of ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ the city and think of urbanity in a more integral way. To do so, Landscape Urbanism draws strongly from the field of landscape, which is not so dependent from economic growth as is the field of architecture. Therefore, it offers answers for making more livable places out of both rapidly growing and shrinking cities.

In his recent research, titled the New Heliomorphism, Waldheim explores the relationship between solar performance, urban form, and design culture. The topic of solar orientation and urban form is both perennial and, once again, timely. The discourses and practices of ‘ecological urbanism’ have turned our focus to the terrestrial topics of hydrological connectivity and ecological function. Heliomorphism proposes to revise and extend the ecological urbanism agenda by returning to solar performance.

Charles Waldheim is a North American architect, urbanist, and educator. Waldheim’s research examines the relations between landscape, ecology, and contemporary urbanism. Waldheim is John E. Irving Professor at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design where he directs the School’s Office for Urbanization. This research unit develops, by means of design research, speculative and projective urban scenarios through sponsored projects across the world.

lecture series architecture, urbanism and design

With the theme OUTSIDE this lecture series focuses on the relationship between humans and their ecosystem - the ecosystem that defines the outside world of each piece of architecture. How can architecture reinforce this fragile and close interaction? How are architectural tools such as craftsmanship, materiality and typology applied to give meaning to outdoor spaces and to introduce spatial relationships between inside and outside? And in which way can the healing qualities of nature be brought into urban life?

lectures seated in STUK or at home with live webcast

Buy your tickets in advance! All lectures will be held corona safe: for those who want to go out: physically live in STUK but limited seats / for those who want to stay in: online with live streaming
For live webcast PRESALE ONLY (until the lecture day, 17:00)
S&A-members can obtain their ticket at the STUK reception or email ticket@stuk.be mentioning your S&A membership.



CURATORS Stefaan Evers & Marijn Van de Weijer | PARTNERS STUK, KU Leuven dep. architecture, KU Leuven Culture, Existenz | SUPPORT City of Leuven, the Government of Flanders | SPONSORING Febelcem, ASSA ABLOY Entrance Systems, Vandersanden Group, Media A+ Architecture in Belgium
Thu 4 Mar 2021 20:00


STUK Auditorium


€9 standard
STUK card
Culture card
free members S&A