• Flights of Imagination: Aviation, Landscape, Design
    Sonja Dümpelmann
    University of Virginia Press, 2014
    Sonja Dümpelmann

Francis Keally, visionary airport design, 1920s. Courtesy of Architectural Record.

Flights of Imagination deals with those moments during the twentieth- and early-twenty-first century when professionals of the built environment developed an epistemology based upon aerial vision, and when they realized the opportunities that powered aviation offered them in shaping the land. Revealing the evolution of the airport as landscape and city, the book shows how airports and their conversion into urban neighborhoods and parks have been both motors and products of a global economy. Discussing the use of aerial views and aerial photography by twentieth-century designers, the book uncovers a multiple dialectic inherent in the aerial view that is traced from the 1920s, through the land camouflage activities during WWII and the environmental and landscape planning initiatives during the 1960s and 1970s, until today. The book shows how experiencing the earth and human habitation from above has redirected design professionals' attention to the bodily experience on the ground.

Sonja Dümpelmann is associate professor of landscape architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. She holds a PhD from the University of the Arts, Berlin, and a master’s degree in landscape architecture from the University of Hanover, Germany. She is the author of a book on the twentieth-century Italian landscape architect Maria Teresa Parpagliolo Shephard (Weimar: VDG, 2004), editor of the forthcoming Cultural History of Gardens in the Age of Empire (Oxford: Berg, 2013), and coeditor of Greening the City: Urban Landscapes in the Twentieth Century (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2011). Her published work includes essays on landscape architecture in fascist Italy, the transatlantic transfer of design ideas, public urban park planning, and pioneering female landscape architects. She has practiced as a landscape designer in Studio Paolo Bürgi in Switzerland and has curated exhibitions on landscape architectural history in Germany.