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Show RCA 2019

Vanessa Lastrucci

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Major project:

Becoming the AWE. The generation of a region based on environmental care.

The work here reported is the result of the researches of the Commission for the Generation of the Atacameños Watershed Entity. The scope of the CG(AWE) is to study the conditions of pressure and threats represented by the extractive industries, to the varied ecologies united in life around the Salar de Atacama and to propose actions to tackle such pressures.*

'Becoming the AWE' proposes to delineate a form of protection inclusive of modes of living and socio-cultural practices of the beings inhabiting the spaces of the Salar; and concerned with the intrinsic adaptations of its environments. By handing the management of ‘protection’ to Atacameños peoples and switching focus to the dynamic entities that compose the landscapes, rather than the surface itself, is a way forward toward environmental care rather than conservation. A fundamental step to allow the shift from protection to environmental care is to create the political space for such conditions. Such space is the AWE.

This work in the salar de Atacama, Chile is framed around a critique of the traditional/ historical concept of National Park and Protected Area which too often prioritises the conservation of ‘nature’ as untouched by human presence and actions, or intact. What results is often a boundary on a given piece of land which does not give consideration to two fundamental factors interfering in the ‘intactness’ of ‘nature’:

  • The livelihood and practices of populations living within such boundary, resulting in decreased rights relative to land management, practices and permitted actions
  • And the dynamism and the more or less slow but unceasing mutations of the eco- system which has evolved alongside human actions over the epochs or, where human actions have been minimal, is now affected by human actions reverberating from other areas.

This project proposes to deal with the disputes in the Salar de Atacama with the design of a series of protocols for its beings to defend themselves from the aggressiveness of global forces, tackle extraction, climate change and take care of the territory and society as one.
It proposes a mode of management of the eco-systems of the Salar, able to deal with this fragile web of issues, to offer forms of resilience and resistance to environmental depletion, and enhance the dynamism of the eco-system in responding to the major transformations in action and ahead.

Extraction, as an agent of transformation, needs to be critically integrated as a cohesive part of the local cultural structures which are based on the reciprocal relationship society|territory. How can these type of practices be driven towards an ‘indigenous’ approach for reproduction of social relation, and for the reproduction of the land? This is the question that steers this work. 

*In this work I am taking the role of a Commission which has received the responsibility to research and study the opportunity to define a model of ‘protection’ which is non-anthropocentric, autonomous and self sustaining, and based on environmental care, to apply and adapt to the conditions of the Salar de Atacama. 

Info

  • Vanessa is a landscape architect and researcher working professionally and academically at the intersection of landscape architecture, urbanism and environmental practices.

    She includes in her work process aspects and factors that have a tendency to evolve in not completely predictable ways, pursuing an approach to design that is both generous and subtle, able to embody the spontaneous developments and transformations that come with habitation, of human and non human alike.

    She is interested in the different forms of expression and interpretations of the territory that are able to speak about the different approaches to the land, landscape and ‘nature’ in different cultures. Such interest is at the base of researches on representation, unconventional cartography, alternative ways of mapping and image making for environmental and landscape studies.

  • Previous degrees

  • Master of Architecture, University of Florence, 2012 (cum laude)
  • Experiences

  • Assistant Landscape Architect, Urban Movement, London, 2015–18; Assistant Landscape Architect, DSDHA, London, 2014–15; Editor, Network in Progress magazine, Florence, 2013–15; Intern, B Arquitectes, Barcelona, 2013; Tutor in Landscape & Urban Design, University of Florence, School of Architecture, 2013–14
  • Exhibitions

  • Intertemporal Ecologies, Arts Catalyst, London, 2018
  • Conferences

  • The architecture of water management with Anna Santomauro, Chritina Geros, Emilie Glazer in Intertemporal Ecologies, Arts Catalyst, London, 2018
  • Publications

  • Becoming the AWE, on the generation of a region based on environmental care, London 2018; Venture to the wild field, frontier landscapes and beyond, London 2018; The common space of environmental struggle, London 2018; Florence Changes, NIPmagazine °#19; The Lost Identity and the Informal City, Report from the Italian Slums, interview with ZaLab, NIPmagazine °#17; ‘Architecture we like’, Point of View, in NIPmagazine °#12; Contradiction of Urban Renovation, Regeneration or gentrification?, NIPmagazine °#16 (photography); Border Lands, Landscapes of Lampedusa Island, NIPmagazine °#10 (photography)
  • Awards

  • RCA Environmental Architecture Scholarship 2017–18
  • Funding

  • Environmental Architecture Scholarship 2017–18
  • Sponsors

  • J&L Gibbons
Royal College of Art