Question What is the Vitruvian approach to landscape architecture?
Short answer It is a multi-layered, multi-objective design method – and an approach to giving landscape urbanism aesthetic dimensions. The Roman expression of these principles can be found in Book 1 of De Architectura by Vitruvius Pollio.
Longer answer: Landscape architects should be interested in Vitruvius Pollio for four reasons. 1. Landscape architect’s use of the word ‘architect’ comes from Vitruvius, who learned his trade in siege warfare. 2. The sense in which Vitruvius used the word archi-tect to encapsulate a design process, is more useful to landscape architects than its now-dominant use, by building architects to demarcate a relatively narrow category of design projects. What matters to us is the process – not the product. 3. Vitruvius summary of the aims of the design process was magnificent – and may draw on the preceding eight millennia of city building. 4. Terms are more important than one might think, which is why linguistic philosophy became a dominant strand in 20th century thought. Wittgenstein declared, in the Tractatus, that ‘The limits of my language mean the limits of my world’. Similarly, Jacques Derrida declared that ‘there is nothing outside the text’.