What is landscape architecture?

If you think you have never seen an example of landscape architecture, you’re wrong. We see many examples of landscape architecture every day. Actually there are no elements in this world that wouldn’t be a part of landscape. Everything that we see around us is put in that exact order in some way. Sometimes this order is aesthetical and practical, but sometimes it’s not. Landscape architecture is the combination of processes that helps us to create landscapes that we like and need instead of unpleasant ones.

By the definition, the landscape architecture is the creation of the design in different type of outdoor areas, with purpose to achieve practical, social-behavioral, environmental or aesthetic outcomes. For example, it can be a creation of Public Park, design of residential estates, creation of street infrastructure, arranging of large wildlife areas, reconstruction of abandoned areas etc. So you can see that landscape architecture is very wide and complex field that includes knowledge of biology, horticulture, soil sciences, art, design, architecture, geography, ecology, psychology etc. That means a good landscape architect is aware of that and has skills and knowledge to work with any kind of projects.

Landscape architects have to work with outdoor areas according to some specific circumstances, such as, the size of workspace, the type of area (urban, suburban, rural etc.), the amount and type of recourse etc. The work of landscape architect includes the investigation of the area, the evaluation of ecological, social and biological aspects, project making of the desired and possible outcome and creation of the new landscape.
Exactly the investigation and projection phases are most important in landscape architecture. The hardest task is to put together all the technical aspects and creative desires. Usually there is contractor to each project who has his own vision, but in lot of cases it is not possible to realize that. The landscape architect must take all the technical aspects into consideration to realize this vision at least partly or to create something new that contractor will like. If the project is successful, all the further work is all practical and relatively easy.

To make it all clearer, let’s look at typical example. Very common task for landscape architect is to create a park or decorative garden. First he has to check all the technical aspects for example what kind of soil is there, so he would know what plants and trees will grow there. Also weather and climate must be taken into a consideration so these plants would keep growing after planting. If there is a need or desire for some artistic decorations, then also the aspects of their maintenance must be evaluated. So you see there is a wide range of aspects that must be taken into a consideration in each case. When it is clear what kind of resources it is possible to use, landscape architect can finally start to make a design and think of creative ways how to make the park or garden look aesthetical. If project is accurate and thought out until every detail, everything will look exactly as in sketches and will last for a long time.

What is landscape architecture?

Examples of successful landscape architecture

We can see landscape architecture all around us, but there are some very unique and successful works made by the best landscape architects. Those are very creative and at the same time technically correct artworks that look really incredible and at the same time they show the diversity of landscape architecture.

Let’s start with very famous work – The garden of Louis XIV in Versailles, France. It is one of the most popular gardens in the whole world. It was created for king of France Louis XIV. The architect who designed it was Andre Le Notre. It is typical work of landscape architect – huge garden with symmetrical sand paths that goes through perfectly shaped and decorated lawn and cropped bushes and trees. Of course, this one is very extensive work that has also historical value and it shouldn’t be called typical.

Next one is Columbus Circle. It is named after famous explorer Christopher Columbus. Actually it a simple traffic circle located in Manhattan, USA. It is special because of two reasons – it is located exactly in the center of the New York, or at least all the measurements are made by it and it has very interesting architecture. The designer of it is William Eno, who is not even an architect. He is a businessman who pioneered many early innovations in road safety and traffic control. However, this project has won many awards. This circle is decorated with many fountains, trees, sculptures and monument right at the middle. This composition together makes the feeling that it’s a centre of the whole universe.

Then we should mention the National Arboretum in Canberra, Australia, made by Taylor Cullity Lethlean and his partners. It is a collection of endangered tree species. These trees come from all over the world, so it is also technically very complicated work. This project has not only aesthetical value, but also environmental. It brings attention to such problems as loss of biodiversity and sustainability. It is possible to visit this arboretum and admire all the tree species that are almost extinct. This project has won many awards not only for architecture itself, but also for the care of environment.

Next one in this list is Zen Garden in Kyoto, Japan. This garden is designed by Chisao Shigemori. Those who are familiar with landscape architecture might have heard this surname before, because also his grandfather Meri Shigemori was very famous landscape architect. Chisao Shigemori has many successful projects, but this is the most unique one. It is typical Japanese rock garden with small miniature tees, small rivers, rocks and sends, but it is has some untypical forms and elements in it. It is symmetric and harmonic.

The last one is park in New York, USA, created by Diller Scofido Renfro. It is a small park in the city that contains of simple grass and trees, but the uniqueness of it hides in the idea. In this project the main idea is to bring little vegetation in the big city of New York. That is exactly what it does.

Those are only some randomly picked examples, but there are so many good projects of the landscape architecture. In some the main aspect is the idea, in some the aesthetical value and in some the technical performance, but these projects really makes the everyday life a little bit more beautiful.

Examples of successful landscape architecture

Architectural movements throughout history

Probably anyone has noticed that buildings that come from different centuries resemble each other a lot. That is because architectural movements have changed many times before. These movements are not just simple way of planning the look of buildings, but it is a reflection to humans and whole society’s way of thinking. Let’s see how and why these movements have changed throughout history.

The first magnificent architectural movement was classicism. As this was the time of ancient philosophies, this architectural style represents these new ideas. The most distinctive characteristics of classicism include use of mathematical theories to make very harmonious and eye catching structures. Architecture of buildings was very simple, but at the same time very perfectly designed. This architectural style was mostly used by Romans and Greeks, but the methods and design of building in both civilizations was slightly different. Romans were more innovative, but Greeks remained the well known values.

The next movement was Gothicism. This architectural style was a result of architect’s luck of possibilities. They were frustrated, because it was impossible to build something more functional with the existing methods. They came up with some great ideas that made it possible to emphasize the verticality and light. Gothic buildings were a lot more functional, so this movement continued more than 400 years.

After Gothicism, Renaissance came. Although the Gothic buildings were lot more functional, architects wanted to go back to the classicism. Renaissance is not just architectural movement. It influenced many scopes, because people wanted to end the darkness of medieval times and go back to ancient times they considered to be better. Actually the concept of Renaissance architecture was similar to Gothicism, but with some magnificent elements from Classicism, such as pilasters, arches, domes and columns.

Then the Baroque came. This architectural style was influenced by Roman Catholic Church. It was considered that every building must contain religious themes. The most pronounced characteristic of this style was usage of curves and shell motives. Architecture wasn’t so similar and perfect anymore. Actually Baroque was a combination of many other architecture styles.

After Baroque the architectural movements changed very often. The old styles came back and mixed with something new, but the next meaningful movement was International style. It is the first stage of modern architecture. The main ideology of this movement was to make the whole society more transparent and open. They tried to make building more industrialized so the art turned into industry. This architectural style was something completely new. There were new methods used and also the look of buildings was incredibly different.

Later some new innovative architectural styles emerged for example brutalism. The purpose of them was to create something controversial. Architects wanted to make something completely new and that was challenging task, because it was almost impossible to think of something that hasn’t seen before. That’s why new movements are very interesting and even bizarre.

Architectural movements throughout history