- Name: Maheshika Ekanayake
- Year: 2018
- Studio: Level IV (Landscape Architecture)
- University: University of Moratuwa
The martian-scape at Ussangoda, Sri Lanka: A cosmic landscape and astronomical observatory
For thousands of years the humankind has been observing and recording patterns created by the apparent movement of celestial objects in the sky. Every piece of history reveals that people have a deep connection with the sky, which is complemented by the historic and archeological revelations of attempts to physically record and interpret these observations in the landscape. This can also be explained as a “sensation”, in terms of the effect it has on the human mind, the physical aspects and spiritually.
The earliest approach to landscaping was often related to marking the ground with built fabrications of different materials, morphologies and scales. “These interventions in the landscape were connecting a static location on earth with ‘moving’ events on the sky”.
This notion of a cosmic connection was a sacred powerful phenomenon, which raised the sense of infinity beyond the earth and which supported the spiritual practices of humans to heal themselves while aligning with cosmic energy. However with advanced technological developments of the contemporary world, the ‘human’ tends to digitally experience these celestial events, which is detached from the cosmic sensory experience. This can be perceived as an outcome of a competition-trapped world, where people are more conscious about their informative ‘horizontal plane’ while forgetting the powerful ‘vertical plane’, and thus losing the true connection with the sky dome.
In this context, the proposed ‘contemporary cosmic sensation landscape’ proposes to re-implement the ancient lessons to enhance the human-sky sensory connectivity (horizontal connection) in a contemporarily meaningful setup. Therefore it amalgamates cosmic sensory design innovations to translate the horizontal perception of mankind into the vertical cosmic perception, as an approach to enhance the landscape- sky connectivity.
Implementation of the project was proposed to a location in Ussangoda, Sri Lanka, where the site is renowned for multiple mythological associations, such as spotting aliens, meteor strikes and as the landing point of king Ravana’s ship, etc. The site is also somewhat of a replica of ‘plant mars’ with its unique vistas created by the serpentine geological and ecological character. Furthermore, it experiences a wide sky visibility due its rare ‘convex’ landscape, complemented by the low degree of light pollution and less cloud-cover.
Thus, the project is conceptualized as an Anthropocosmic Landscape that translates to ‘tuned human in to cosmos’ through landscape – acquiring ‘spatial progression of landscape geo points to convert, the human horizontal perception in to vertical perception’.
Text description provided by the project author.