Is there a problem with the term ‘landscape architecture’? Q&A

Is the term ‘landscape architecture’ problematic?

Short answer: Yes. Frederick Law Olmsted, Thomas Mawson and Geoffrey Jellicoe were seriously dissatisfied with the term ‘landscape architecture’. Basically, they saw it as obscure, abstruse and confusing. The problem they identified has to be resolved.

Longer answer: The problem is that people find it hard to understand. Olmsted wrote that “Landscape is not a good word, Architecture is not; the combination is not”. Mawson wrote that most people understand landscape architecture as “an unwarranted interference with Nature”. Jellicoe wrote that “The landscape architect … is still surely wrongly named.” And not to be left out, I wrote, in 1997, that the term is ‘as tyrannical as it is sacrilegious as it is preposterous’. I’ll be happy to withdraw this comment when the two words which make up the term come to be used more carefully.