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The Artificial Landscape: Contemporary Architecture, Urbanism and Landscape Architecture in the Netherlands

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Edited by Hans Ibeling. NAI Publishers, 2000. 304pp. £26. (Available from Triangle bookshop 020 7631 1381)

In his introduction to this volume, Hans Ibeling says that, because the Netherlands consists almost entirely of constructed landscapes, 'the artificiality of every spatial intervention is part of the collective consciousness . . . Which is why it is possible to imagine the unimaginable and to think the unthinkable. 'Not that the contents are as outlandish as this suggests but, like last autumn's SuperDutch (AJ 12.10.00), they certainly confirm the dynamism of the current Dutch scene. But they don't do much else. The presentation of the projects is dissatisfying: a rhetorical quick-fire succession of images and keywords (Mutants, Anarchy, Vacuum, Open-Ended) that ultimately says little about any one scheme. More continuous text only surfaces at the end of the book, with a selection of Dutch architectural writing, including a 1993 essay by West 8's Adriaan Geuze, 'Accelerating Darwin'. Above: apartments by MVRDV.

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