Through a systematic manipulation of the landscape, humans account for the fastest geological transformation of the Earth’s surface in its 4.54 billion year history. Anthropogenic activity is responsible for the re-formation of more of the Earth’s surface than all other mechanisms combined. Agricultural and industrial practices such as mining, farming, grazing, and damming impact a majority of the Earth’s surface. Combined with formations and programs traditionally held within the domain of design practice - spaces of habitation, occupation, protection, and labor - humans have steadily increased the depth of the Earth’s anthropocentric event layer to span over 2,000 meters.

Human beings operate at the scale of geomorphic agents, relocating 120 billion metric tons of earth annually, twice the volume of Mount Fuji. Directly reshaping the surface of the Earth to provide capacities not immediately or adequately available, extracting energy and materials, and affecting behaviors and phenomena are results of human-driven interventions. This collection of operations, technologies, and forms constitutes a catalogue of Earth’s re-formation potentials.

The Landformation Catalogue examines the generative methodologies of landform manipulation, revealing correlations between the histories, morphologies, assemblies, materials, and affordances of landscape practice. It analyzes the resulting spatial artifacts of humanity’s larger Earth transformation project.

The exhibition was supported by the generosity of the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD), GSD Lectures and Exhibitions, and the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.

We would like to thank the following individuals for their support and efforts towards the exhibition: Mohsen Mostafavi, Charles Waldheim, K. Michael Hays, Kristina Hill, Benjamin Prosky, Dan Borelli, and David Zimmerman-Stuart, as well as our research assistants: Sarah Canepa, Joshua Jow, Foad Vahidi, and Phoebe White.


ZANETA HONG is a Lecturer in Landscape Architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and recipient of the 2013-2014 Daniel Urban Kiley Teaching Fellowship. Prior to her appointment, Zaneta was a Lecturer in Architecture & Landscape Architecture at the University of Virginia and the Materials Lab Curator at the University of Texas in Austin. Her research into landscape materials and technologies has emerged in numerous material collections and has been cited in publications including Living Systems: Innovative Materials and Technologies for Landscape Architecture, Material Design: Information Architecture by Materiality, and Landscape Architecture Magazine.

MICHAEL LEIGHTON BEAMAN is Principal of Beta-field, Co-Founder & Principal of GA Collaborative, Associate Editor for ii Journal, Design & Technology Writer for Architectural Record, and currently, a Visiting Lecturer at the Rhode Island School of Design. Michael was a Principal Instructor for the Career Discovery Program at Harvard University from 2005-2008, and was the 2010-2012 Teaching Fellow at the University of Virginia. Michael has held a number of teaching positions including, Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of Texas in Austin, and visiting faculty at North Carolina State and Northeastern University. his research and writing focuses on the theory and application of technology in architecture and landscape architecture, and its implications for design culture, sustainability, and socially conscious design practices.