Are you topophile?

18/06/2020Topophile Review — Camille Morin / Martin Paquot / Raphael Pauschitz

No one had any idea until a few months ago that the places of our daily existence were going to be so suddenly abandoned - and so quickly desired as never before. Where do we truly live? What places really do matter in our lives, for our needs and our pleasures? What worth is a city without its people? How would it do without the countryside that silently feeds it? What is a territory that cannot be explored? Where can we find spaces and times of conviviality when digital technology seems determined to substitute it all? Everyone wonders about these questions these days.

It is now obvious that we belong to an environment which we are constantly transforming as much as it shapes us, and that places and spaces contribute to our happiness. They therefore deserve our readiness, our attention, our care. Let us become friends of places, let us become topophile.

Are You Topophile?

The Topophile Review presents this game with no winners or losers, no right or wrong answers. It invites you to pay attention to the territories of our existence, to question the places that make us as we are. To attempt alone or with others to reveal still more clearly what makes a place: your place.

  1. What is the first place that you remember? Why so?
  2. Who radically shapes the land?
  3. What risks threaten your territory?
  4. Identify, in your town, an architecture risen from Earth and another that descended from the stars. 1
  5. Which landscaped feature is typical of your territory?
  6. Which traditional materials are used in your local architecture?
  7. At what distance from you would you find soil that can be built with?
  8. What elements destroy or disfigure the local landscape?
  9. What crafts are unique to your region?
  10. What would be the vernacular object associated with your region?
  11. How do you care for your milieu? How does your milieu take care of you?
  12. What places of hospitality exist in your territory?
  13. Name a few plants from your garden or planter, a park or a field near you.
  14. What if your territory was a sound? a fragrance? a colour? a texture? a dish?
  15. In which place do you feel comfortable? Where do you feel uncomfortable?
  16. What does the place you are currently in suggest to you?

1 According to Augustin Berque’s catchphrase in Descendre des étoiles, monter de la Terre : la trajection de l’architecture, Éditions Éoliennes, 2019.

Topophile — the friend of places, review of happy spaces — questions our attitude to the world, to spaces and places, to the milieus we so often cross with no consideration. The review questions our ways of building, dwelling and thinking in order to live ecologically on Earth. At a time when the very model of our society is challenged, Topophile constitutes a freely accessible, living encyclopedia of topophile know-how. It is structured in three parts: know, the review of ideas (essays, interviews, surveys, reviews...), how, the review of creations (ecological architectures, works of all kinds) and rendezvous, the review of events (participatory calendar).