Kathryn Gustafson lecture on landscape architecture

Kathryn Gustafson (1951-) is an American landscape architect. She studied at the the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and worked as a fashion designer in Paris before studying landscape architecture at the L’École nationale supérieure de paysage  in Versailles, France.
Landscape architecture projects by Kathryn Gustafson

Shell Petroleum Headquarters, 1992.
Rights of Man Square, Évry, France, 1991.
Lurie Garden, Chicago, 2004
Diana Memorial Fountain, London, 2004
University of Michigan: Museum of Art
Washington Canal Park, Washington, D.C.
Lakeshore Residence
Esso Headquarters
Garden of Forgiveness

See also: Kathryn Gustafson interviewed by ASLA

Kathryn Gustafson landscape architect

Kathryn Gustafson landscape architect lectures to the Ontario Association of Landscape Architects

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Eelco Hooftman landscape architect GROSS. MAX Edinburgh

Eelco Hooftman studied landscape architecture at Wageningen and runs his practice GROSS. MAX from Edinburgh. Eelco is said to combine a Dutch sense of experimentation with a British sense of humour and German rigour.  This lecture, delivered at the Walker Art Center Minneapolis in 2013, is relaxed,  enjoyable and inspiring. Were I thinking about a career, it would make me want to be a landscape architect. Were I looking for design work, it would make me want to enter landscape architecture competitions.  The summary, below, is not a transcript: it uses some quotation and some re-phrasing of points made by Eelco Hooftman. NB: if you don’t have time for the whole video, be sure to watch the animation which runs for 5 minutes (from 1:16:30 to 1:21:08).

As landscape architects we never have a tabula rasa – we are always writing chapters in a book. In the last ten years we have done many projects with Zaha Hadid and I have a love-hate relationship with architects.

Landscape architects need to be both telescopic and microscopic – always zooming in and zooming out. Landscape and townscape are part of the same spectrum. The landscape profession combines LAND + SCAPE + ARCHITECTURE, with  ‘scape’ means ‘view’

Vermeer’s paintings often have maps on the wall, because the Dutch see landscape as a creation. When GROSS. MAX  was launched as a practice in 1996, the great thing was that we had no work. This gave time to think and time to see. Images are important in landscape architecture and Gross Max is often more interested in in-between images than in ‘before’ or ‘after’ images.

I like to look at cities as landscapes but do not like the term ‘landscape urbanism’. It is a kind of hybrid between a poodle and a labrador. It is meant to be a new and trendy term but the idea is very old.

Nature starts to break up things. How can we do better? As a landscape architect you never invent a new project All you do is reinvent something that has been before.

At Potters Fields, the greatest success of the park is not so much the design but that we made it into a trust. All the money generated in the park can be spent on its maintenance.

Friedrich Nietzsche is one of my heroes. In explaining our landscape design for Templehof Airport in Berlin I quoted from The Gay Science 1882 (German: Die fröhliche Wissenschaft, literally “The Joyful Science”):
One day, and probably soon, we will need some recognition of what is missing primarily in our big cities: quiet and wide, expansive places for reflection–places with long, high ceilinged arcades for bad or all-too-sunny weather, where no shouts or noise from carriages can penetrate and where refined manners would prohibit even priests from praying aloud: a whole complex of buildings and sites that would give expression to the sublimity of contemplation and a stepping aside .

The jury for the Templehof Competition asked ‘How do you dare to celebrate a fascist building?’. I told them it would be a ‘two fingers up – Hitler will turn in his grave’.

You have to think of the park as part of a bigger structure. It’s a golden rule for landscape architects.  We are megalomanics: if you give us a site we will make it as big as possible, at least as a conceptual idea. The park is not an object: it is a process. It is a transformation of nature and of social conditions. There was a problem with Berlin’s Ecological Taliban. We did not plan for nature conservation; we planned  for nature activation. We have to activate landscapes. We have to kiss them alive. Landscape is about eventscapes. Cities are becoming events, no longer spaces for shopping. People are very inventive. We don’t have to patronise them. Human beings are like animals: give them an opportunity and they respond to it. Make democratic landscapes.

If you don’t work with users the project will suffer. Public consultation in the UK is tough. But the public is your biggest ally for convincing politicians.

You have to open up people’s eyes. You have to inspire. You have to be enthusiastic. You have to take people on a journey. The weakest part of every project is the design brief. As well as the client and the public, you have to ask what the site wants to be. It is a very relevant question. Louis Kahn asked what brick wants to be.
Cities need curators for their parks. Each year you should appoint a curator – one year a scientist, another year an artist. Then someone else.

Gross Max Eeelco Hooftman landscape architect

Eelco Hooftman of Gross Max lecturing at the Walker, with a slide of Potters Field in London

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Kim Wilkie lectures on his approach to landscape architecture

Kim Wilkie landscape architect

Kim Wilkie landscape architect

Kim Wilkie studied history at Oxford and landscape architecture at the University of California, Berkeley. After returning to the UK he set up a  landscape studio in London, in 1989.

Led by the Land Frances Lincoln, 2012 – ISBN 978 0 7112 3325 6
Indignation Kit-Cat Books, 2000 – ISBN 0 9538897 0 X
Arcadian Thames Barn Elms, 1994 – ISBN 1 899531 00 9
Thames Landscape Strategy, Hampton to Kew 1994 – ISBN 0 952359 0 X

Natural History Museum, London
V&A Museum Garden, London
Hyde Park Corner, London
Chelsea Barracks, London
Orpheus at Boughton, Northamptonshire
Heveningham Hall, Suffolk
Winchester Cathedral Close, Winchester, Hampshire
Great Fosters, Surrey
Solovki, Archangel, Russia
Transylvania, Romania
Longwood Gardens, Pennsylvania, USA
Villa La Pietra, Florence, Italy

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Peter Walker explains his design for the 9/11 Memorial

Peter Walker is an American landscape architect. He graduated from Harvard University Graduate School of Design in 1957 and went into partnership with Hideo Sasaki in 1972 and then with Martha Schwartz in 1983. Walker co-designed the World Trade Center Memorial in New York with architect Michael Arad.

Peter Walker speaks about the 9/11 National September 11th Memorial which opened to the public on September 11th, 2011

Peter Walker speaks about the 9/11 National September 11th Memorial which opened to the public on September 11th, 2011

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Interview with Noel Farrer, President of the Landscape Institute 2014-16

Noel Farrer,  principal of Huxley Farrer, is interviewed by  interviewed by Lalla Hussain (BA Landscape Architecture student at the University of Greenwich in London) in 2015.  Farrer is says it is easier to explain garden design, urban design, master planner etc than it is to explain the concept of ‘landcape architect’. He sees ‘landscape design’ as ‘the art bit’ and identifies ‘a real challenge’ in getting the public to understand what is meant by ‘landscape architecture’.

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Landscape Institute archive and library: MERL and FOLAR

MERL FOLAR LI Library Archive

The Landscape Institute’s library and archive is held at MERL and supported by FOLAR

The Landscape Institute’s Library and Archive is held at MERL, the Museum of English Rural Life at the University of Reading. As well as the LI’s library and archive MERL has a comprehensive national collection of objects, books and archives relating to the history of food, farming and the countryside. This includes the CPRE’s records and landscape paintings.

FOLAR is the Friends of the Landscape Library & Archive at Reading. FOLAR is a membership based group committed to supporting MERL, raising awareness of landscape architecture and growing the LI Library and Archive.
The Landscape Institute was founded as the Institute of Landscape Architects (ILA) in 1929 and changed its name in 1979. In 1997 the Landscape Institute gained its Royal Charter.
The LI library and archive collection originated in the 1930s and has a number of special collections:

Access to the collections , when based at the Institute offices, was initially for its members only, but over time researchers and the wider public have been using the collections in all manner of work. The library includes books and journals about landscape architecture, garden history and landscape and urban planning. The archive contains press cuttings, minutes, membership lists, financial papers, Institute publications, slide library and an album containing the Institute’s royal seal, logo and name badge.

Posted in landscape architecture

Geoffrey Jellicoe landscape architect: interview and review of his work

Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe

Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe teaching c1980 (with Michael Lancaster and Tom Turner to his right)  at Thames Polytechnic, which became the University of Greenwich

Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe (1900 -1996) was an English architect, town planner, landscape architect, garden designer and author. Jellicoe was a founder member of the Institute of Landscape architects (now the Landscape Institute), in 1929, and its President from 1939-1949.  In 1948, Jellicoe became the founding President of the International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA). Jellicoe taught landscape architecture at the University of Greenwich in his ’80s. In this interview (filmed when Jellicoe was aged 93) he talks about:

  • Lancelot Capability Brown (‘one of the great designers in the world without doubt’)
  • Royal Lodge and Sandringham Gardens, for the royal family
  • St Paul’s Walden Bury
  • Kennedy Memorial and the role of the subconscious in landscape design (inspired by Carl Gustav Jung)
  • Sutton Place, with its great sculpture by Ben Nicholson



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History and theory of landscape architecture – Tom Turner interviewed

Tom Turner, interviewed about the history and theory of landscape architecture in Greenwich Park

Tom Turner, interviewed about the history and theory of landscape architecture in Greenwich Park

Tom Turner answers questions from University of Greenwich BA landscape architecture students about:

  • the definition of landscape architecture
  • international influences on British landscape architecture
  • favourite landscape projects from the 3000 year history of landscape architecture
  • how climate change might affect landscape architecture
  • aspects of landscape architecture which are in danger of being lost
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Lawrence Halprin interview: ‘I’ve been a landscape architect, thank God’

Lawrence Halprin tells how a visit to Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesin led him to become a designer. ‘Ever since then, I’ve been a landscape architect, thank God’, he says on this video. Halprin studied at Harvard and, like many American landscape architects of his generation, was influenced by Christopher Tunnard.

Landscape architect

Lawrence Halprin was the landscape architect for Freeway Park Freeway Park in Seattle, Washington. It bridges over Interstate 5 and a parking garage


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James Corner interview: the High Line and Intimate Immensity

James Corner links the landscape architecture of High Line in New York with Bachelard's concept of Intimate Immensity

James Corner links the landscape architecture of High Line in New York with  Gaston Bachelard’s concept of Intimate Immensity

James Corner was born in Preston and began his study of landscape architecture at Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK. The Time Magazine interview with Corner was published in 2012 under the title: Game Changer: James Corner, Urban Dreamscaper.

Corner defines landscape architecture as being ‘about the planning and design of space under the sky’ and uses the High Line as an example of how a perceived non-space can become a highly valued component of an urban landscape design:
As a young person in school I was really interested in an exercise called intimate immensity which still shapes the way I think today. Intimate immensity is what it’s like to be in a forest where things are immediate and intimate and tactile and intimate, but at the same time you are in the forest and the forest seems immense .
I’m James Corner. I’m a landscape architect.
Landscape architecture is basically about the planning and design of space under the sky. One of the phenomena you deal with as a landscape architect is this idea of place. The High Line is perceived to be a derelict abandoned ugly post-industrial structure that is potentially dark and dangerous. Who would ever go up there? Why would anyone ever use that? The High Line is a really good example of a found object in the city, a sort of thing that had been discarded and overlooked….When we started the High Line we hadn’t really built that much. But I think as designers you bring a tremendous sense of optimism and faith in the capacity of good design to transform what are maybe perceived as negative into something positive.
Corner’s reference to ‘place’ links his work to the single agreed law of landscape architecture: Consult the Genius of the Place – meaning that a design must respond to the particular characteristics of a locality. The concept of’Intimate Immensity comes from an essay by the French philosopher Gaston Bachelard (1884 – 1962) who wrote a book on The Poetics of Space (1958) with a chapter on ‘Intimate Immensity’. Bachelard argues that ‘immensity is within ourselves. It is attached to a sort of expansion of being that life curbs and caution arrests. but which starts again when we are alone. As soon as we become motionless, we are elsewhere; we are dreaming in a world that is immense’. Bachelard discusses images of a vast desert and a deep sea. He concludes that ‘all the universe that bears the mark of the desert is annexed to inner space’.

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