The lecture \'Louis Le Roy: Fusion Nature-Culture\' was given by Piet Vollaard, director of architecture website Archined.
Debra Solomon and Mariska van den Berg, respectively founder and project coordinator of Urbaniahoeve, responded from the perspective of their practice at Urbaniahoeve and explained the principles of permaculture. Debra Solomon currently realizes a project in the Sphinxpark together with students from United World College Maastricht.
Since the 1970’s, Dutch artist/gardener/philosopher Louis Le Roy (1924-2012) was one of the main protagonists in the so-called ‘Wild Gardening’ movement, which advocated the ‘natural’ growth of the garden. Although this movement was influential, it is not what makes his work relevant for present day city development. Far more interesting are his ideas - and his practice – on time-based development and the fusion of nature and culture.
A key project is the Ecocathedral on which he worked for more than thirty years. It started out as a plot of land of a few hectares in the north of the Netherlands on which nature was allowed to get its course. After a few years, he let city services drop truckloads of refuse of paving stones and bricks. With this material he built structures - all by himself, all by hand - between the developing natural growth. This was done without a general plan, just by improvisation. After building and growing went on for many years, a fascinating ‘jungle’ interspersed with ‘Maya-like’ structures has developed.
The work of Le Roy is very relevant for all the bottom-up participatory projects we witness today. His Ecocathedral, an ongoing project of nature-culture fusion, can be seen as a metaphor for any free and evolutionary spatial project, including the city as a whole. His work is connected to Situationist notions and to Constants New Babylon; it is an ecological project because it involves nature, but Le Roy himself always stipulates that it is not about sustainability, but about culture, about tapping into the reservoir of what he calls ‘free creativity’ of the people. Besides his work on the Ecocathedral, in the 70’s and 80’s Le Roy was involved in some of the earliest participatory projects in the Netherlands, France and Germany. The ones in the Netherlands are still ongoing. This in itself is remarkable.
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Date: Thursday 21 March
Time: 20h – 22h
Venue: Bureau Europa, Timmerfabriek, Boschstraat 9, 6211 AS Maastricht
Saskia van Stein, artistic director of Bureau Europa, gave an introduction to the lecture.