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Special Issue "Eco-Didactic Art, Design, and Architecture in the Public Realm"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Tourism, Culture, and Heritage".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2021) | Viewed by 12639

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Carmela Cucuzzella
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Fine Arts, Concordia University, Montreal, QC, Canada
Interests: theory of environmental architecture; landscape and urban design; urban art and design; sustainable design; public spaces; public enlightenment; community knowledge exchange; design as social transformation
Prof. Dr. Jean-Pierre Chupin
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Architecture, University of Montreal, Montréal, QC H3C 3J7, Canada
Interests: theory of architecture and urban design; design thinking; architecture competitions and awards; analogical thinking; comparative qualitative analysis; mediations of excellence
Prof. Dr. Cynthia Hammond
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Art History, Concordia University
Interests: History and theory of architecture, landscape architecture, and the city; Urban and cultural landscapes and landscapes; Gender and space; Feminist and posthumanist theory; Research-creation and interdisciplinary practice; Community-engaged scholarship and creative work

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Ecological awareness can be traced back to the 1960s with the publication of Rachel Carson’s watershed work, Silent Spring, which drew public attention to the enormous environmental impact of pesticides and other pollutants on delicate ecosystems. Her work anticipated other key eco-political awakenings, such as the energy crisis of the early 1970s and the series of international environmental agreements politically defined at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, which constituted a significant shift in global awareness and action of ecological crisis. Artists were already on high alert by the early 1990s, responding to the environmental crisis through activist and educational stances. Today, the world is faced with multiple aspects and consequences of the climate crisis, but there has been a change in citizens’ relationships to more than thirty years of overwhelming environmental issues. Works of art, architecture, and design that reside in the public realm and contend with the environmental crisis have begun to occupy a new, discursive terrain as agents of public enlightenment. They adopt an educational stance choosing to address politics, culture, ethics, economics, business, or even provide solutions. These works, which might be called “eco-didactic”, do not simply demonstrate their concern about pressing ecological issues; rather, they are driven by an urgent need to explain, to teach and maybe even implicate viewers and visitors about the crisis as well as the consequences of inaction.

For this special issue of Sustainability, we invite essays that focus on environmentally-driven architecture, landscape design, and public art practices that have emerged over the last two decades (2000-2020). We are interested in practices that manifest a distinctively “didactic” environmental discourse, i.e. one that aims to educate and influence the public.   This special issue invites papers that present cases and contribute to the reflection of the following:

  1. How have art, architecture, and design come together in recent decades to express ecological and environmental concerns?
  2. How does this “eco-didactic turn” cross disciplines, specifically art, design and architecture?
  3. By what means do these eco-didactic installations establish public platforms for raising awareness?
  4. To what extent do these eco-didactic works in the public realm lead to public enlightenment?
  5. How do such creative practices contribute to the potential of public space as a political forum?
  6. Can these eco-didactic art, design, and architecture practices influence small businesses, corporations, governments, and policy?

Prof. Dr. Carmela Cucuzzella
Prof. Dr. Jean-Pierre Chupin
Prof. Dr. Cynthia Hammond
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • environmental architecture
  • public art
  • landscape design
  • environmental design
  • public awareness
  • civic action
  • didacticism
  • educational practices
  • didactic devices

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

Article
Phenomenological Transparency through Depth of “Inside/Outside” for a Sustainable Architectural Environment
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9046; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13169046 - 12 Aug 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 733
Abstract
The potential relationship between external and internal spaces in the architectural environment of the post-pandemic era is emerging as an essential issue. Since the early 20th century, the issue of transparency inside and outside architecture has been explored in various fields. This study [...] Read more.
The potential relationship between external and internal spaces in the architectural environment of the post-pandemic era is emerging as an essential issue. Since the early 20th century, the issue of transparency inside and outside architecture has been explored in various fields. This study is motivated by the lack of a leading theory about architectural transparency in the post-pandemic era. First, it revisits the notion of phenomenal transparency in Colin Rowe and Robert Slutzky’s influential text on “literal” and “phenomenal” transparency. Next, it investigates Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology for architectural transparency. Last, it scrutinizes practical possibilities using cases from Sejima and Nishizawa and Associates (SAANA). It finds that intertwining the cognition of natural environment and spatial experiential perceptions can create phenomenological architectural experiences. Sustainable architectural transparency may be accomplished when three factors (the visual perception of space, spatial experiential perceptions, and the cognition of natural environment) are incorporated. Further, depth functions as a medium for architectural transparency, intertwining between material and immaterial, literal and phenomenal, and visible and invisible. There is tremendous potential to conduct pilot studies based on this study, to re-evaluate architectural transparency with phenomenological ideas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eco-Didactic Art, Design, and Architecture in the Public Realm)
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Article
Three Types of Architectural Educational Strategies (AES) in Sustainable Buildings for Learning Environments in Canada
Sustainability 2021, 13(15), 8166; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13158166 - 21 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 637
Abstract
This article explores a trend provisionally called “eco-didacticism” observable for nearly 15 years in art, design and architecture. The corpus concentrates on learning centres as buildings meant to diffuse advanced knowledge in the field of sustainable architecture. We found evidence of additional educational [...] Read more.
This article explores a trend provisionally called “eco-didacticism” observable for nearly 15 years in art, design and architecture. The corpus concentrates on learning centres as buildings meant to diffuse advanced knowledge in the field of sustainable architecture. We found evidence of additional educational intentions to the pedagogical or scientific programs that these buildings have already been mandated to host and support. A variety of practices or devices have sometimes been added to the architecture, sometimes integrated, while others determine the overall structuring of these educational buildings. Seven cases of “learning centres” built in Canada between 2004 and 2018 have been screened through three epistemological filters distinguishing forms of “architectural didactics”: 1—a labeling often quantitative approach, 2—an experiential or practical approach, 3—a visually narrative or iconic approach. While outlining definitions of these Architectural Educational Strategies (AES), we offer initial explanations for their distinctive features. It appears that architects, designers and critics altogether operate on the belief that forms of architectural communication can operate as elements of a language that would be accessible to non-experts. Our conclusion indicates how future research could question the very possibility of giving lessons through formal language and aesthetic features. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eco-Didactic Art, Design, and Architecture in the Public Realm)
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Article
Sublime Experience for Sustainable Underground Space: Integration of the Artists’ Works in Chichu Art Museum
Sustainability 2021, 13(12), 6653; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13126653 - 10 Jun 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1453
Abstract
This paper investigates a vision of the underground environment associated with an aesthetic discipline. Its fundamental notion is sublimity, which was a phenomenon that involved a number of artworks engaged with changing the perception of the underground experience. This paper seeks to clarify [...] Read more.
This paper investigates a vision of the underground environment associated with an aesthetic discipline. Its fundamental notion is sublimity, which was a phenomenon that involved a number of artworks engaged with changing the perception of the underground experience. This paper seeks to clarify how the idea of the living environment underground has changed by examining the works of writers, painters, and architects who have drawn inspiration from the concept of imaginary underworlds. Through a case study of the Chichu Art Museum, a representative underground space in terms of a sustainable relationship between architectural spaces and nature that could be experienced as sublime, this paper considers how to integrate visitors to distribute their awareness of artists’ work. It also stimulates visitors’ perceptions of a more sustainable future through sublime experiences, offering a way to understand underground integration with artworks. Therefore, this paper contributes to the knowledge of the relationship between architecture and artwork by increasing the aesthetic value of the underground space and considering how art intervenes in architecture to create a sustainable didactic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eco-Didactic Art, Design, and Architecture in the Public Realm)
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Article
Glacier, Plaza, and Garden: Ecological Collaboration and Didacticism in Three Canadian Landscapes
Sustainability 2021, 13(10), 5729; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13105729 - 20 May 2021
Viewed by 715
Abstract
The emphasis in landscape studies on human agency and needs can obscure the complex relationships between non-human living things and their animate and inanimate contexts. Diverse authors have pointed out that this anthropocentric outlook is problematic, destructive, and neo-colonial. How might it be [...] Read more.
The emphasis in landscape studies on human agency and needs can obscure the complex relationships between non-human living things and their animate and inanimate contexts. Diverse authors have pointed out that this anthropocentric outlook is problematic, destructive, and neo-colonial. How might it be possible to approach a landscape, i.e., land itself, and all that lives on it, in a way that foregrounds the realities and risks of that site, without falling back on familiar humanistic and anthropocentric tropes? In this essay, I explore three recent artworks that each engage with a different landscape: Requiem for a Glacier by artist and composer Paul Walde (2013); the Urban Prairie designed by landscape architects Claude Cormier + Associés (2012); and The Boreal Poetry Garden by visual artist Marlene Creates (born 2005-). By analyzing these artists’ and designers’ creative strategies in relation to these landscapes, I delve into the question of ecological collaboration in each project, and explore the ways in which the non-human aspects of the landscape do, or do not, take centre stage. In so doing, this essay has a second aim: to explore the extent to which, in performing a didactic relationship with their sites, these three projects contribute to an activist and pedagogical ethos around climate change, habitat, and ecology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eco-Didactic Art, Design, and Architecture in the Public Realm)
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Article
Art in Urban Spaces
Sustainability 2021, 13(10), 5597; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13105597 - 17 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 828
Abstract
This study investigates the effect of art on promoting the meaning of the urban space. After considering the semantic dimension of the urban space and the mechanism of transferring the meanings of art through the views of experts, a model is presented for [...] Read more.
This study investigates the effect of art on promoting the meaning of the urban space. After considering the semantic dimension of the urban space and the mechanism of transferring the meanings of art through the views of experts, a model is presented for examining the art’s cooperation in promoting urban space meaning. In the first stage, the categories of space meanings influenced by art were extracted using the qualitative method of interpretative phenomenological analysis, and by examining 61 in-depth interviews in 6 urban spaces eligible for urban art in Tehran. In the second stage, these categories were surveyed in these spaces through 600 questionnaires after converting to the questionnaire items. Based on the results, “experience and perception capability”, “social participation”, and “relationship with context” were the main themes of the semantic relationships between art and urban space. Further, the lower scores related to the theme of “social participation” in the quantitative investigations indicate that this theme was weaker than the other themes in promoting the meaning of the urban space through the art in the selected urban spaces. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eco-Didactic Art, Design, and Architecture in the Public Realm)
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Article
Activating Data through Eco-Didactic Design in the Public Realm: Enabling Sustainable Development in Cities
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4577; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13084577 - 20 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1235
Abstract
This paper explores how design in the public realm can integrate city data to help disseminate the information embedded within it and provide urban opportunities for knowledge exchange. The hypothesis is that such art and design practices in public spaces, as places of [...] Read more.
This paper explores how design in the public realm can integrate city data to help disseminate the information embedded within it and provide urban opportunities for knowledge exchange. The hypothesis is that such art and design practices in public spaces, as places of knowledge exchange, may enable more sustainable communities and cities through the visualization of data. To achieve this, we developed a methodology to compare various design approaches for integrating three main elements in public-space design projects: city data, specific issues of sustainability, and varying methods for activating the data. To test this methodology, we applied it to a pedogeological project where students were required to render city data visible. We analyze the proposals presented by the young designers to understand their approaches to design, data, and education. We study how they “educate” and “dialogue” with the community about sustainable issues. Specifically, the research attempts to answer the following questions: (1) How can we use data in the design of public spaces as a means for sustainability knowledge exchange in the city? (2) How can community-based design contribute to innovative data collection and dissemination for advancing sustainability in the city? (3) What are the overlaps between the projects’ intended impacts and the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? Our findings suggest that there is a need for such creative practices, as they make information available to the community, using unconventional methods. Furthermore, more research is needed to better understand the short- and long-term outcomes of these works in the public realm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eco-Didactic Art, Design, and Architecture in the Public Realm)
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Article
Eco-Didactic Project for the Knowledge of a Community Museum
Sustainability 2021, 13(7), 3918; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13073918 - 01 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 753
Abstract
The aim of this work is to identify the educational competences and training of third-year students taking the degree in Primary Education at the University of Cordoba, in relation to the protection and conservation of community museums and from an eco-didactic and historical [...] Read more.
The aim of this work is to identify the educational competences and training of third-year students taking the degree in Primary Education at the University of Cordoba, in relation to the protection and conservation of community museums and from an eco-didactic and historical point of view. In this study, the collection of information was validated by means of a Likert-type questionnaire (1–5) with which we collected data from five academic years by handing it out to a sample (n = 332). Among the results obtained, we can emphasize both the degree of involvement and the opinions of the students with respect to valuing the cultural and natural heritage of their environment, as well as the didactic use of the ecomuseum in the area where it is placed. Finally, the conclusions highlight the perceptions of university students regarding the educational impact of ecomuseums as cultural and sustainability elements, in addition to their being an eco-didactic resource for teaching and implementing projects about historical heritage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eco-Didactic Art, Design, and Architecture in the Public Realm)
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Article
Making the Invisible Visible: Eco-Art and Design against the Anthropocene
Sustainability 2021, 13(7), 3747; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13073747 - 27 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1599
Abstract
This paper examines a series of art and design installations in the public realm that aim to raise awareness or activate change regarding pressing ecological issues. Such works tend to place environmental responsibility on the shoulders of the individual citizen, aiming to educate [...] Read more.
This paper examines a series of art and design installations in the public realm that aim to raise awareness or activate change regarding pressing ecological issues. Such works tend to place environmental responsibility on the shoulders of the individual citizen, aiming to educate but also to implicate them in the age of the Anthropocene. How and what these works aim to accomplish, are key to a better understanding the means of knowledge transfer and potential agents of change in the Anthropocene. We study three cases in this paper. These are examined through: (1) their potential to raise awareness or activate behavior change; (2) how well they are capable of making the catastrophic situations, which are invisible to most people, visible; and (3) how well they enable systemic change in the catastrophic situations. In the three cases studied, we find that they are successful in helping to raise awareness and even change individual behavior, they are successful in rendering the invisible visible, but they are incapable of engendering any systemic change of the catastrophic situations depicted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eco-Didactic Art, Design, and Architecture in the Public Realm)
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Article
Urban Public Space as a Didactic Platform: Raising Awareness of Climate Change through Experiencing Arts
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2915; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052915 - 08 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1239
Abstract
This paper investigates the meanings of urban public space, both as a didactic platform and as a way to spread awareness of climate change through art. What are the roles of public space? How do artworks intervene in urban public space? How can [...] Read more.
This paper investigates the meanings of urban public space, both as a didactic platform and as a way to spread awareness of climate change through art. What are the roles of public space? How do artworks intervene in urban public space? How can public art contribute to “sustainability” issues? I have argued that the intervention of art in urban public space offers effective ways of developing climate change art, which is understood to be an educator. Public space can be categorized into three different types: everyday, social, and symbolic spaces. These can be used as a platform for opening discussion and learning about the increased issues of the global crisis in contemporary society. I have drawn upon the representative case studies about climate change to explore how they intervene in urban public space and how they engage viewers to spread awareness, which is one of the fundamental aspects of this paper. It also stimulates viewers’ perceptions and awareness of a more sustainable future through phenomenological and emotional experiences. Thus, this paper contributes to the understanding and knowledge of the relationship between art and public space with respect to raising awareness about climate change and considering how art intervenes in urban public space to create an eco-didactic platform. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eco-Didactic Art, Design, and Architecture in the Public Realm)
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Article
Eyes on the Goal! Exploring Interactive Artistic Real-Time Energy Interfaces for Target-Specific Actions in the Built Environment
Sustainability 2021, 13(4), 1996; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13041996 - 12 Feb 2021
Viewed by 831
Abstract
Current research is focused on sensing and modeling occupant behavior to predict it and automate building controls. Another line of research recommends influencing the behavior of occupants through feedback mechanisms and engagement. Yet, most of the work has focused on pushing occupants to [...] Read more.
Current research is focused on sensing and modeling occupant behavior to predict it and automate building controls. Another line of research recommends influencing the behavior of occupants through feedback mechanisms and engagement. Yet, most of the work has focused on pushing occupants to reduce energy consumption over a long time and does not explore the potential to guide users to take specific actions promptly. The study examines a new interface mechanism that aims to solicit immediate and predefined actions from occupants. Building on seminal research in the field, the study uses art visualization to reinterpret social feedback. We test this approach in an immersive interaction space where participants react to artistic visuals to attain predefined settings for three indoor devices. In the 197 interactions recorded, participants’ overall actions conformed with the predefined goals. The participants were able to reach all or some of the targets in more than 80%, within an average of less than 30 seconds. We also see that complementing the visuals with textual hints improved the interaction in terms of engagement and accuracy. We conclude that ambient, abstract, and artistic real-time goal-driven feedback is effective in influencing immediate actions. We recommend that guiding occupants didactically has a strong potential for advancing building controls. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eco-Didactic Art, Design, and Architecture in the Public Realm)
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Article
Ecomannerism
Sustainability 2021, 13(3), 1307; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13031307 - 27 Jan 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 675
Abstract
Mannerism was the bridge between late Renaissance and the Baroque between 1520 and the 1600s. This movement was characterized by the destabilization of compositional elements through repetition and expressiveness, regardless of their function. This phase in history echoes a trend in contemporary architecture [...] Read more.
Mannerism was the bridge between late Renaissance and the Baroque between 1520 and the 1600s. This movement was characterized by the destabilization of compositional elements through repetition and expressiveness, regardless of their function. This phase in history echoes a trend in contemporary architecture based on the repetition of functionless elements that constitute a ‘green aesthetic’ in detriment of sustainable systems. Ecomannerism is a conceptual vehicle to identify and evaluate iconic contemporary projects that are positioned between ecologies of practice and ecologies of symbols, which are directly related to the sustainable performance of the built environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eco-Didactic Art, Design, and Architecture in the Public Realm)
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