charles jencks' cells of life is a manmade landscape
charles jencks' cells of life is a manmade landscape
aug 19, 2013

charles jencks' cells of life is a manmade landscape

charles jencks’ cells of life is a manmade landscape

images courtesy of jupiter artland




levels of smooth grassy planes stack atop each other in ‘cells of life’ — a monumental, on-site land installation conceived by american artist charles jencks for jupiter artland. jencks, who is educated as an architect, applies his extensive training in landscaping and planning to his massive horticulture installations. the layers of green swirl in fluid geometric shapes, cascading in sheets through the lush space.


‘cells of life’ is made up of eight landforms and a connecting causeway, which visitors are encouraged to drive across. the mounds of grass surround four lakes and a flat island where smaller sculptures are exhibited. the configuration of the landscape is influenced by the biology of the cell, the basic unit of life, particularly the process of mitosis, when one cell divides into two in stages called. the landform celebrates the cell as the foundation of life. the foundation for his interpretation is evident in the layout — from above, you can distinguish the distinct halving of two landforms, an uncanny relationship to division of membranes and nuclei.



the video below showcases ‘cells of life’ from conception to completion, outlining charles jencks’ thought process and decision making throughout the construction of the work:



jupiter artland – cells of life charles jencks
video courtesy of jupiter artland




jupiter artland is a venue in edinburgh, UK that showcases constructions, sculpture, and land art from contemporary leading artists — presenting art within a landscape. the artists are invited to exhibit work on the gardens, fields and woodlands surrounding a historic jacobean manor house with an 100-acre estate. the relationship of each artwork with its unique location is an important feature of the artland — every work is site specific and is integrated in some way into its surrounding environment. jupiter artland is a work-in-progess, presenting new projects and commissioning work annually.

charles jencks' cells of life is a manmade landscape
a view overlooking two swirling cut landscapes

charles jencks' cells of life is a manmade landscape
standing atop one of the platforms, the influence of cell biology — particularly nuclei division — is evident in its shape

charles jencks' cells of life is a manmade landscape
the land installations surround lakes, that are part of the piece


  • I’m tipping Charles Jencks doesn’t do the mowing….

    ACT says:
  • Wow.

    Sola says:
  • beautiful!!!

    manuel says:
  • Hey ACT, yeah, and I.M Pei doesn’t wash the pyramid at The Louvre either. So what! It’s ART.

    Lightmaker says:
  • It’s typical Jencks and very beautiful. I saw his Northumberlandia recently, which is much rougher but also fascinating, and placed in deliberate juxtaposition with a surface coal mine, which creates all sorts of interesting tensions and questions about humanity’s relationship with the land.

    I was curious about the title of this article, describing the work as a ‘manmade landscape’ – surely all parks, gardens and land installations are manmade (or womanmade of course)?

    And why does this article have no capital letters?

    Jill says:
  • by obsehrving this landscape piece, at least people come to know that the master-bashing himself has moved on (or was it, a sharpening of his past century contextualized vision?) from ‘double-coding’ and a ‘radicalized eclecticism’ he had been advocating long time ago, what he like to call them ‘the first phase of complexity outlook’. And since some two decades ago, as he embrace waves, solitons, and wishing to see an emerging ‘order’ (patterns?) out of them, I hope he will also acknowledge parallel effort by others such as the Halprins who has equipped designers with “notation” so as to make music, movement, intelligible, in space.

    ari says:

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