Reading Analysis 2
The presented literature is about Erik Gunnar Asplund and his contribution to the modern landscape; transition from Nordic classicism to modernism. The information provided explores Asplund’s ideological impulses of his architecture and landscape designs as evident in his design for the Stockholm public library and the Woodland cemetery. His initial interest in landscape design was evident when he designed the plan for the construction of the woodland cemetery alongside Sigurd Lewerentz. In this design, the two architects chose to enhance the attributes of the site, in what was later explained as an attempt to evoke associations of death and rebirth in a landscape spiritual dimension. Apsplund’s first public building commissioning was the European secondary school in which he demonstrated his apparent primacy of landscape over building volumes.
Asplund continued with his ambition to establish psychological connections to landscape through fragmentation of architectural sequence through his unrealized proposal of Stockholm royal chancellery. In this design, unlike other architects who utilized the earlier design of surrounding buildings, he chose to distribute the chancellery offices into five narrow L-shaped wings with dominant ramps leading from Malaren to Myntgatan. This was an intentional design to demonstrate Systematic internal order and system of public space juxtaposition with natural setting.
The major contribution to modern landscape by Asplund was however to be realized when he was awarded the design for Stockholm public library. In its design, the library was to serve both as a symbolic presence as a monumental testament for acquisition of knowledge as well as be functionally isolated from daily city life as a sanctuary for learning. Asplund chose to focus on stylistic qualities rather than cultural life as well as civic implications, what he later explained as a demonstration of the relationship between man and space. He managed to make radical changes on his initial competition proposal to realize a compact, rectilinear structure with a protruding lending hall within a public landscape. His later visit to America gave Asplund an outstanding opportunity to do more investigations on pragmatics of library accommodations which he later incorporated in his plan on return. His entire design was centered around envision of the library as an imminent focal element in a largely extensive public landscape. Even when the construction of the library was underway, Asplund continued with his research, often submitting proposals for civic and landscape modifications.
The architectural design for the Woodland cemetery on the other hand was intended to demonstrate architectural site plan and spatial sequencing to fulfill ritual claims with a chapel on one end of the site and water flowing along the bottom of the site in a vaulted arch at the base of the chapel. Asplund’s contribution was majorly realized through his maximization of the landscape’s symbolic possibilities, a challenge on a vastly different scale. The two architects, Lewerentz and Asplund chose to reveal deeper levels of meaning in the visible world to express ideas about the invisible in their creative architect skills through landscape selection in a manner to imply the relationship between such landscape and ritual sequences at the cemetery site. Asplund and Lewerentz built on the existing physical features at the site of the cemetery, through use of ridges as natural boundary to the zonal and later articulated the ridges with by lining t chapels, mausoleums and crematorium.
Indeed Asplund had immense yet rarely attributed contributions on modern landscape.