IAAC Lecture Series – Continuous Productive Urban Landscape (CPUL): Scattering the rural into the urban

Lecturer: Katrin Bohn – Bohn & Viljoen Architects

Date: Thursday, March 9th, 19:30 (CET)

Location: Online – Zoom 


Lecture Abstract

It is a great challenge for local regions all over the world that urban territories “scatter” urban (building) activities into the rural, thereby often absorbing fertile agricultural land. Land that was previously used for food growing, among other things.

At the same time, the resulting “scattered metropolis” – or urban sprawl – provides much desired opportunities for residents and businesses. There are so many of them today, they are so keenly developed, yet can be so unpleasant and unsustainable, that our aim must be to rethink the current separatist notions of city and countryside, of urban and rural and peri-urban design. This is especially true in relation to food – one of the most fundamental needs of our cities, as well as one of the most fundamental products of our countryside. Paradoxically, most initiatives that challenge the loss of city-near agriculture and question contemporary food provision started in the urban. The CPUL design research is an example of this: it studies urban agriculture, the scattering of the rural into the urban.

The lecture will examine issues and interdependencies when it comes to feeding our cities and the role urban and landscape design can play in their future. It will draw on examples from Bohn&Viljoen’s design research practice contextualising those within the current green infrastructure and nature-based solutions discourse.


About Bohn&Viljoen Architects

Bohn&Viljoen Architects is a London-based architectural practice and consultancy with a small branch in Berlin. Established in 1999 by architects André Viljoen and Katrin Bohn, the practise specialises in sustainable urban design and low energy architecture and has gained international recognition for its strong focus on the integration of anything food into design.

Bohn&Viljoen have designed, built, taught, lectured, published and exhibited widely on the urban design concept of CPUL [Continuous Productive Urban Landscape] which they contributed to the international urban design discourse in 2004. In 2015, this work was recognised by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) with the prestigious international “RIBA President’s Award for Outstanding University-located Research”. Since the publication of CPULs, a significant part of their work has focussed on exploring and testing the design concept within real situations, mostly in the UK and Europe with a few commissions worldwide. Clients include the public, private, arts and academic sectors, such as the Greater London Authority, Middlesbrough Council, London Festival of Architecture, the arts-based DQE Urban Regeneration Programme Cologne, the Berlin Senate, the IBA Heidelberg and Nerima City Tokyo.

Katrin and André both teach and research at the School of Architecture & Design of the University of Brighton, UK.

*Photo credits – Bohn & Viljoen Architects