Summer Island - The landscape from the digital matrix

View over the summer island, where the natural forms of dunes, moraines and the ephemeral patterns of a sandy landscape come together. © 2019 Nikolai Benner

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The BIM-based planning enabled a constant adjustment of the topography with mass and cost control in real time. © 2019 LOMA

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The landscape from the digital matrix © 2019 LOMA

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Confluence of moraines, dunes and sand waves © 2019 Nikolai Benner

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We wanted to merge two emotionally evocative images into a melange - dune formations of the coast with the terminal moraines of the foothills of the Alps. This process could also be compared to "samples" in music. © 2019 Nikolai Benner

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One focus of the development of Summer Island has been to "reclaim the topography", in part to rediscover this essential and powerful element of landscape art. © 2019 Nikolai Benner

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By generating accessible, topographically shaped landscape images, the Summer Island also aims to build a bridge to the landscape architecture of past decades. © 2019 Nikolai Benner

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The result is landscape as a walk-in sculpture that offers a pathetically constructed staging, as in the Baroque or later in the English garden. But as a stage set for the democratic era. © 2019 Nikolai Benner

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Besides moraines, dunes and sand, there are flat passages and slopes to climb. Only a green sea of waves to sunbathe and meet. © 2019 Nikolai Benner

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The summer island as a green earth sculpture consists of only three archaic materials: earth, plants and mineral grains. © 2019 Nikolai Benner

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View over the summer island, where the natural forms of dunes, moraines and the ephemeral patterns of a sandy landscape come together. © 2019 Nikolai Benner

The BIM-based planning enabled a constant adjustment of the topography with mass and cost control in real time. © 2019 LOMA

The landscape from the digital matrix © 2019 LOMA

Confluence of moraines, dunes and sand waves © 2019 Nikolai Benner

We wanted to merge two emotionally evocative images into a melange - dune formations of the coast with the terminal moraines of the foothills of the Alps. This process could also be compared to "samples" in music. © 2019 Nikolai Benner

One focus of the development of Summer Island has been to "reclaim the topography", in part to rediscover this essential and powerful element of landscape art. © 2019 Nikolai Benner

By generating accessible, topographically shaped landscape images, the Summer Island also aims to build a bridge to the landscape architecture of past decades. © 2019 Nikolai Benner

The result is landscape as a walk-in sculpture that offers a pathetically constructed staging, as in the Baroque or later in the English garden. But as a stage set for the democratic era. © 2019 Nikolai Benner

Besides moraines, dunes and sand, there are flat passages and slopes to climb. Only a green sea of waves to sunbathe and meet. © 2019 Nikolai Benner

The summer island as a green earth sculpture consists of only three archaic materials: earth, plants and mineral grains. © 2019 Nikolai Benner

"Landscape Architecture and Digitization" or "Building Information Modeling (BIM) in Landscape Architecture".

The Summer Island experiment was realized in the course of the Federal Garden Show Heilbronn as one of the first completely 3D-generated and built landscape parks worldwide.

In the beginning, the site of the Summer Island was nothing more than a central earthen pile in the terrain; excavators and dump trucks had temporarily stored huge quantities of excavated loamy alluvium from the Neckar River. If machine operators unconsciously generate topographical landscape images, "how does landscape generate itself?" This question preoccupied us because "how does nature behave as a landscape designer, how do wind and water, glaciers and melting ice influence terrain surfaces? " And most importantly, "Is it possible to develop a natural undulation in the ground with a generative design?" In the first step, concepts such as "fluids", "turbidite systems" or "ripple-marks" from geology were explored and their generative possibilities were investigated.

Analogous design methods could not achieve an adequate approach to natural phenomena and the permanent change of the design process would have been difficult to continue. Therefore, the first drawings of moraines, dunes and sand waves were digitally translated using Rhino 3D and the visual programming language Grasshopper. The planning and construction process of the summer island could thus be permanently updated via a "digital twin".

On the area of about 4.2 hectares, diagonally to diagonally organically shaped landscape waves were placed next to each other, in which the natural forms of dunes, moraines and the ephemeral patterns of a sand landscape unite. The model of the 3D-generated landscape, shaped according to the rules of nature, was transferred into a digital terrain model as a data matrix. Tablets and GPS control were installed in the excavators used on the summer island, so that the virtual landscape could be recreated realiter via screen control.
The BIM-based planning of the topography enabled a rapid update in variants and their mass and cost control in real time. A surprising result for all partners was the fast construction time due to the effective interlocking of interfaces. The development and construction of complex landscapes in this way had not previously existed for technological reasons.

In our opinion, the current trend in the discussion about the possibilities of digitization and BIM in the construction industry is too monochromatically fixated on the (certainly important) three areas of increased production, cost efficiency and error detection a priori. The consequence of this one-sided view is that "digital prototyping" is faded out as an artistic-creative process and cannot unfold its transformative power in the design disciplines enough. Creative modelling of landscape images, innovative water management or the procedural simulation of vegetation can represent essential future tasks of the discipline in addition to the pure systematisation of equipment.


Digital Innovation AwardGerman Landscape Architecture Award 2021

Jury verdict:
During the Federal Horticultural Show 2019 in Heilbronn, the wave landscape of the Summer Island enchanted the public. In the future, the site will become part of the Neckarbogen urban district. But for the horticultural show, a temporary 3D-generated landscape was created here.

The landscape images created by chance through excavation on the site led the landscape architects to the question of how landscape is created, how wind, water and glaciers shape landscape and how they as designers can make these natural phenomena their own. Even the first drawings of moraines, dunes and waves were digitally translated with the help of Rhino 3D and the visual programming language Grasshopper, and so were developed further and further: up to a digital terrain model built from the digital data matrix and the execution with excavators with tablets and GPS control.

BIM-based planning made it possible to control changes and their impact on costs and operations at any time. In this way, a high-contrast artificial landscape was created, which in its impressiveness and imagery extends beyond the time of the garden show. The tension between the purely technical-digital aspect of the work and the lightness and poetry of the resulting landscape is particularly fascinating.

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Planning offices
LOMA architecture.landscape.urbanism

Employees
Sabrina Campe, Franziska Marquardt, Hannah Hagedorn

Other planning stakeholders
Ausschreibung und Objektüberwachung LP 6-8: Riehl Bauermann + Partner Landschaftsarchitekten, Kassel; Prof. Wigbert Riehl, Universität Kassel Landschaftsarchitektur Technik; Mitarbeiter: Kerstin Barth, Jonas Otto

Client
BUGA Heilbronn 2019 GmbH

Address

Heilbronn

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Prices & Awards
German Landscape Architecture Award 2021
Digital Innovation Award