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Landscape Architecture

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Nordic Building

Nightlands is a pioneering exploration of both the forms and poetics of Nordic place. Specifically, it examines the art of building in four Nordic countries—Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and Finland—and the sometimes shared, sometimes contrasting regional experience and character expressed by each. From a medieval castle in Sweden to an Aalto-designed sanitorium in Finland, this landmark work explores the myths, meanings, and built realities of Nordic countries and, in so doing, attempts to define, for the first time, what distinguishes Nordic building from Mediterranean architecture, and how the natural world of the North contrasts with both the perception and reality of the South.

A. J. Downing and American Landscape Gardening


A. J. Downing (1815-1852) wrote the first American treatise on landscape gardening. As editor of the Horticulturist and the country's leading practitioner and author, he promoted a national style of landscape gardening that broke away from European precedents and standards. Like other writers and artists, Downing responded to the intensifying demand in the nineteenth century for a recognizably American cultural expression.

To Live in the New World examines in detail Downing's growing conviction that landscape gardening must be adapted to the American people and the nation's indigenous landscapes. Despite significant changes in its three editions, Downing's A Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Landscape Gardening, remained true to the original intent: to guide country gentlemen—with enough money, time, and taste—in the creation of ideal homes and pleasure grounds. While most historians and critics have focused on Downing's more formally written treatise, Judith Major gives equal emphasis to Downing's spirited monthly editorials in the Horticulturist. In the journal, Downing "spoke American" and encouraged his countrymen and women to practice economy, to use America's rich natural resources wisely yet artfully, to be content with a little cottage and a few fine native trees.

Although the book is not a biography, the people, events, and experiences that shaped Downing's thinking on landscape gardening are central to the story. Significantly, Downing spent his life in the spectacular natural setting of the Hudson River valley. Through his professional practice, travels, reading, and extensive correspondence, he gradually became aware of the individual and collective needs that he served. Landscape gardening, Downing came to feel, had to respect not only a client's desires and means, but also the nation's republican values of moderation, simplicity, and civic responsibility. Major takes a fresh look at the influence on Downing's theory and practice of British writers such as Archibald Alison, Uvedale Price, Humphry Repton, John Claudius Loudon, and John Ruskin, and analyzes for the first time his debt to the French academician A. C. Quatremère de Quincy's Essay on Imitation.


Or, What is Landscape?

Paul Shepheard's previous book, What is Architecture?, was about making real, material things in the world -- landscapes, buildings, and machines. The Cultivated Wilderness is about those landscapes, and about the strategies that govern what we've done in shaping them.In the author's words, this book is about "seeing things that are too big to see." His emphasis on strategy makes landscape fundamental -- he says that every architectural move is set in a landscape. Norman England, for example, was constructed as a network of strong points, in a strategy of occupation. The eighteenth-century grid cities of the New World reflect a strategy of reason. Our current strategy is the economic exploitation of the Earth, an intricately woven blanket of commerce that covers up a multitude of other possibilities, many other ways to treat the surface of the globe -- some of which are the landscapes revealed in this book.In a series of first-person narratives, reminiscent of his last book, the author pairs six landscapes, in order of descending scale from global to local, from the seven wonders of the ancient world to the condensed destruction of World War I's Western Front. In an engaging style, Shepheard takes the reader on an odyssey through these landscapes, meeting people and seeing places. He states that now, at the end of a century in which the appropriate landscape was sought but never found, the strategy of turning the land to profit is under review -- and offers this book as his contribution to that review.

The Search for Modernism in the American Landscape


Invisible Gardens is a composite history of the individuals and firms that defined the field of landscape architecture in America from 1925 to 1975, a period that spawned a significant body of work combining social ideas of enduring value with landscapes and gardens that forged a modern aesthetic. The major protagonists include Thomas Church, Roberto Burle Marx, Isamu Noguchi, Luis Barragan, Daniel Urban Kiley, Stanley White, Hideo Sasaki, Ian McHarg, Lawrence Halprin, and Garrett Eckbo.

They were the pioneers of a new profession in America, the first to offer alternatives to the historic landscape and the park tradition, as well as to the suburban sprawl and other unplanned developments of twentieth-century cities and institutions. The work is described against the backdrop of the Great Depression, the Second World War, the postwar recovery, American corporate expansion, and the environmental revolution.

The authors look at unbuilt schemes as well as actual gardens, ranging from tiny backyards and play spaces to urban plazas and corporate villas. Some of the projects discussed already occupy a canonical position in modern landscape architecture; others deserve a similar place but are less well known. The result is a record of landscape architecture's cultural contribution - as distinctly different in history, intent, and procedure from its sister fields of architecture and planning - during the years when it was acquiring professional status and struggling to define a modernist aesthetic out of the startling changes in postwar America.

A Critical Review
Edited by Marc Treib

These twenty-two essays provide a rich forum for assessing the tenets, accomplishments, and limits of modernism in landscape architecture, and for formulating ideas about possible directions for the future of the discipline. Modern Landscape Architecture brings together seminal articles from the 1930s and 1940s by Garrett Eckbo, Dan Kiley, James Rose, Fletcher Steele, and Christopher Tunnard, while contemporary writers and designers such as Pierce Lewis, Catherine Howett, John Dixon Hunt, Peter Walker, and Martha Schwartz examine the historical and cultural framework within which modern landscape designers have worked.

Studies in the History of Landscape Architecture

John Dixon Hunt is widely considered one of the foremost of today's writers on the history and theory of gardens and landscape architecture. Gardens and the Picturesque collects eleven of Hunt's essays—several of them never before published—that deal with the ways in which men and women have given meaning to gardens and landscapes, especially with the ways in which gardens have represented the world of nature "picturesquely."

Ranging over subjects from the cult of the picturesque to verbal-visual parallels within gardens, from allegorical imagery to landscape painting, these essays brilliantly invoke Hunt's fascination with the idea of the garden both as a milieu—by which gardens become the most eloquent expressions of complex cultural ideas—and as a site of cultural translation, whereby one period shapes for its own purposes the ideas and forms inherited from its predecessors.

This is an entirely different garden book: a pattern book in which a score of landscapes and gardens are drawn, described, and analyzed not just as a bouquet of pleasures but as sources, lodes to be mined for materials, shapes and relationships, and ideas for transforming our own backyards.

Charles W. Moore, one of America's best-known architects, is O'Neil Ford Professor of Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin. William J. Mitchell is Dean of the School of Architecture and Planning, and Professor of Architecture and Media Arts and Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. William Turnbull, Jr., is Principal of William Turnbull Associates, San Francisco.

In Pursuit of Architectural Meaning

Robert Harbison reads architecture as one would read poetry for meaning. Meaning, he finds, resides especially in those works of architecture that are unnecessary, having outlived their physical functions or never having been intended to have any. Gardens, monuments, historic fortifications, and ruins are among the examples he uses to reveal the secret meanings of this architecture "freed from function."

Story and History

One voice imagines, the other analyzes in this elegant literary excursion through the history of garden art in France from medieval times to the present. Alternating discursive accounts, or allées, with fictional vignettes that recreate time and place, the Le Dantecs skillfully integrate the history of French gardens with the modern history of ideas. They incorporate literary criticism and art history with social and political history and raise questions about the present development of garden and landscape art.

Reading the French Garden focuses on ideas that are central to garden history: how gardens were perceived rather than simply laid out, how gardens of the past may be viewed differently by contemporaries and by later historians, and the cultural determination of garden style—its social and intellectual uses, the tensions between forms and style and garden ideology.

The Le Dantecs' fictive and narrative styles converge to provide a refreshing and unconventional look at the monk Fiachra's kitchen garden, the courtly poet's garden, the dream gardens of the Renaissance, the management of fields during the sixteenth-century Wars of Religion, the parterres of the neoclassical period, the romantic landscapes of a gentleman philosopher, the Parisian parks created under Baron Haussman, and, in the twentieth century, the Universal Garden of Albert Kahn and Bernard Tschumi's Pare de La Villette.

Gardens reveal the relationship between culture and nature, yet in the vast library of garden literature few books focus on what the garden means - on the ecology of garden as idea, place, and action. The Meaning of Gardens maps out how the garden is perceived, designed, used, and valued. Essays from a variety of disciplines are organized around six metaphors special to our time - the garden muses of Faith, Power, Ordering, Cultural Expression, Personal Expression, and Healing. Each muse suggests specific inspirations for garden and landscape design.

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