|M.Sc Student||Ivanir Adi Noy|
|Subject||Shlomo Aronson - Theory and Practice in Arid Landscape|
|Department||Department of Architecture and Town Planning||Supervisors||Professor Nurit Lissovsky|
|Professor Daniel Eli Orenstein|
|Full Thesis text - in Hebrew|
This study examines the work of Shlomo Aronson (b.1936), a leading landscape architect who has had an immense influence on the Israeli landscape for the past 50 years. Focusing on the interaction between theory and practice, I look into the ways in which Aronson’s concepts determined his practice, and how, in turn, practice informed and contributed to the evolution of his thought.
The study establishes a method to characterize Aronson’s theory and its evolution over the years, based on my definition of five periods in his career: training, establishment, maturity, peak and the concluding period. Analysis of central projects and documents from each period indicates his theoretical concepts and their evolution. Aronson’s theory is described as a process from initial to concluding conception relating to three components of a comprehensive vision. These include (1) Aronson’s recognition of the central role of the landscape architect, in promoting solutions to diverse global problems and; (2) his “reading” of the landscape sought to enhance the inner quality of the site, or identify a unique narrative, as a basis for (3) “writing” in the landscape in ways that preserve the ‘genius loci’ of the place (or create a new one).
Aronson’s theory regarding these main concepts is examined through four case studies: the Yatir Forest, Sapir Park, the Limanim, and erosion control projects in ravines in the northern Negev. All four cases are afforestation projects of different content and size, all are located in Israel’s arid Arava and Negev Deserts, and were all implemented during the 1970s in collaboration with the Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF). Afforestation was, for Aronson, an important tool to promote his comprehensive design at all scales. He identified with the ideological goal of “conquering the desert’, while introducing new ideas - visual, conceptual, and functional.
It seems that Aronson’s vision was consistent over the years, but at the same time, was flexible enough to evolve, adopt new knowledge and tools and abandon others, so that the accumulating practical experience determined his visionary thinking, which continues to influence landscape architecture today.
This work contributes to the study of sustainable landscape planning in arid areas. The subject, while not well-studied, is directly relevant to about fifth of the human population, who live in these harsh environments, and to many others in a world that is facing global environmental changes, such as droughts and desertification.