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Urban Image-Scape: Nature, or New Monuments?





Urban Landscape Visualization Research

John Zissovici, Cornell University College of Architecture, Art, and Planning

What genuinely is the urban landscape we need in this age? Has the rapidly involving technological imaging changed our perception of the urban landscape? What’s the consequence? This research project investigates the vast new ‘nature’ of image flows emanating from networked communication devices, and social media as a form of mass participation, to reflect on how the urban landscape is mediated by images of it and eventually proposes a speculative new network of recreational space and experience.


Frederick Law Olmsted’s 1868 plan of the park system in Buffalo was one of America’s earliest and most comprehensive proposals for organizing recreational activity on a city scale. The parks were designed to promote Olmsted’s theory of ‘Ideal Nature‘ and its benefit to the rapidly urbanizing Buffalo. Is Olmsted’s ideology of nature anachronistic now? What’s contemporary ‘Ideal Nature'? A design, as well as a critique, this project reconstructs an interactive virtual park in Buffalo with AR and photogrammetry, thereby questioning the definition of a monument and proposing a vision of a new picturesque.


A nature feature next to a man-made landmark is chosen to be virtually recreated as a “New Monument“. The virtual spectacles that are mediated by Photogrammetry shift visitors’ attention to nature, and endow them with a new perception of the urban landscape.

​Video Footage

Photogrammetry Model

Generated by Autodesk ReCap

Cinema 4D


" Trees that reinterpreted in the manner of monuments s[t]imulate a new form of mediated recreational experience for the visitors, through an architectural approach."
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