Landscape and Nature: Olive Tree Digital Parameterization

  • Fabio Bianconi
  • Marco Filippucci
Part of the Urban and Landscape Perspectives book series (URBANLAND, volume 20)


In the centrality of perception, landscape is connected to natural elements. It is almost impossible to think about landscape without reference to environmental elements. The celebrated quote by Mies Van Der Rohe, God is in the details, is valid also for landscape, where to understand the whole that is landscape, a process that drills down and analyzes the singular elements is necessary. But in this idea of landscape it is possible to lose oneself inside the romantic echoes of artistic research, forgetting the scientific needs so important in a landscape project. It can represent a theme of representation study, even more in function than digital tools. The project of landscape involves similarly architectural and agricultural sciences, both addressed to the transformation of natural elements, both finalized to a better life, both based on morphological evolution, both aimed to give efficiency in performance and results. In this sense, this research integrates the science of representation studies with agricultural tree analysis to describe the architectural form of an olive tree and to show a scientific visualization of the relationship between morphology and light interception in the canopy. The representation of plant architecture, manipulated with pruning operations for agricultural purposes of light optimization, describes the action of sunlight in the tree, by testing the potential of digital design tools – especially generative modelling. Through the design of a specific algorithm, the tree is interpreted as a fragmented photovoltaic panel, analyzed by using 14,000 control points corresponding to its leaves. The possibility of selecting these classes of elements becomes the instrument to explain the canopy structure, finding the categories that describe and simulate the annual radiance and illuminance. The developed modelling process and its purely theoretical significance constitute the basis for a variety of applications in data analysis and comparison among different models, evaluations, theories, and operations. This research is the first step of an important action of the European project OLIVE4CLIMATE-LIFE (LIFE15 CCM/IT/000141), the sustainable olive oil supply chain for climate change mitigation. The approach in the representation topic is central to its autoptical capacity to analyze the relationship between the elements and the whole in the landscape.


Natural elements Generative modelling Optimization Morphological analysis Environmental survey 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fabio Bianconi
    • 1
  • Marco Filippucci
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Study of PerugiaPerugiaItaly

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