MODSCAPES - Modernist reinventions of the rural landscapes

Project Participants

  • Project Leader
    Université libre de Bruxelles
    Estonian University of Life Sciences
    Technische Universität Berlin
    Centro de Estudos Arnaldo Araújo - Cooperativa de Ensino Superior Artística do Porto
    Politecnico di Milano

MODSCAPES deals with rural landscapes produced by large-scale agricultural development and colonization schemes planned in the 20th century throughout Europe and beyond. Conceived in different political and ideological contexts, such schemes were pivotal to nation-building and state-building policies, and to the modernization of the countryside. They provided a testing ground for the ideas and tools of agronomists, environmental and social scientists, architects, engineers, planners, landscape architects and artists, which converged around a shared challenge. Their implementation produced new rural landscapes which have seldom been considered as a transnational research topic. Hence, modscapes aims to raise awareness of this largely underestimated shared cultural heritage which stands today as a tangible evidence of recent European history.

modscapes is carried out by a team gathering expertise in architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, planning, art history, and anthropology. It is led by five experienced individual investigators, with the support of three associated partners of international relevance in their specific areas of activities. modscapes combines research-driven and bottom-up participatory activities based on the collection, processing, elaboration, and critical discussion of visual data and multiple narratives concerning 13 case studies located in 7 EU- and 3 non-EU neighbouring countries. Using the concept of landscape as a unifying paradigm for a trans-disciplinary approach to the topic’s tangible (the built environment) and intangible legacies (the related cultural and sociopolitical context), this project aims to establish its European relevance, but also to bridge research, practice, and policy. Hence, it aspires to test its outcomes against the current challenges faced by modernist rural landscapes as a resource for future “reflective societies” and “inclusive environments”. modscapes’ various deliverables engage and target diversified audiences to enable a better understanding of the common patterns and rich diversities which shaped our national identities and may help to support shared European narratives.                            

Associated Partners: 

AP 1: Ana Tostões, Docomomo International – Documentation and Conservation of Buildings, Sites and Neighbourhoods of the Modern Movement, Portugal

AP 2: Simon Bell, ECLAS European Council of Landscape Architecture Schools, Austria

AP 3: Inge Gotzmann, CIVILSCAPE: We are the landscape people!, Germany