European Landscape Architecture

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European Landscape Architecture

This is an important new book about landscape construction and good detailed design. It is not a book of standard details in landscape architecture, nor does it give the reader step-by-step instructions; instead it highlights how important it is to consider detail in the creative process, showing that good practice in detailing is as integral to successful design as an exciting concept or striking site plan. The book features case studies of recent landscape architectural projects in nine European countries, including the Peace Garden in Sheffield, the Harbour Park in Copenhagen, a motorway service station in France, a guest house garden in Hungary, a cemetery in Munich and the new Botanic Gardens in Barcelona. Each project has been chosen for its exemplary good practice in construction detailing and is demonstrative of how a strong overall concept can be expressed through well-designed detail to create convincing design. European Landscape Architecture draws together a team of leading professionals and academics in the field of landscape architecture. The case studies are well-illustrated with photographs and many original construction drawings running alongside the text. This will be a valuable source book for students and practitioners alike, as well as being of interest to researchers with an interest in the process of design.

Jens Balsby Nielsen was Associate Professor at the University of Copenhagen from 19982005 where his main subjects were landscape planning, management, and landscape architectural detailing and construction. In 2005 he became a landscape advisor in the Danish Palaces and Properties Agency. Torben Dam has been an Associate Professor at the University of Copenhagen since 1993. Torben is the author of books about garden design, quality standards and hard surfaces in landscape architecture. His main areas of teaching and research are in detailing and construction in landscape architecture. Ian Thompson is Reader in Landscape Architecture at Newcastle University. A chartered landscape architect and town-planner, he spent thirteen years in practice before joining the teaching staff in the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape in 1992. He is editor of the international peer-reviewed journal Landscape Research and the author of several books including Ecology, Community and Delight (Spon Press, 1999) which won a Landscape Institute Award in 2001 and The Sun Kings Garden (Bloomsbury, 2006), a narrative history of the creation of the gardens of Versailles.

First published 2007 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon, OX14 4RN Simultaneously published in the USA and Canada by Routledge 270 Madison Avenue, New York, NY10016 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business 2007 Jens Balsby Nielsen, Torben Dam and Ian Thompson, selection and editorial matter; individual chapters, the contributors

This edition published in the Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2007. To purchase your own copy of this or any of Taylor & Francis or Routledges collection of thousands of eBooks please go to rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging- in-Publication Data A catalog record for this book has been applied for

ISBN 0203622995 Master e-book ISBNISBN10 0-415-30736-8 (hbk) ISBN10 0-415-30737-6 (pbk) ISBN13 978-0-415-30736-9 (hbk) ISBN13 978-0-415-30737-6 (pbk) ISBN13 978-0-203-62299-5 (ebk)

European Landscape ArchitectureBest practice in detailing

Edited by Jens Balsby Nielsen, Torben Dam and Ian Thompson

Contentsvii ix x xi 1 Foreword Acknowledgements Contributors Illustration credits


Jens Balsby Nielsen, Torben Dam and Ian Thompson



Torben Dam and Jens Balsby Nielsen



Sue Jackson



Emma Jonasson



Ingrid Schegk and Sabrina Wilk



Kinga Szilgyi


The Netherlands

Boudewijn Almekinders and Ad Koolen



Marti Franch



Ann Bergsj


The United KingdomIan Thompson

263 267

Notes Index


Design proposes ideas but it is through the medium of landscape detail that these ideas are projected as a material reality on site. The art of this activity, and I need to declare immediately that it is a very inventive, subtle and robust art-form, lies in the processes of detail design the act of detailing by the landscape architect and the subsequent evolution and elaboration over time and by others of the resulting constructed landscape detail elements and forms. If landscape architecture is to continue to advance its knowledge base as a series of cultural practices and a pragmatic art form of the highest level, design practitioners and teachers must pay due care and attention to advancing the practice of landscape detail as the core of contemporary landscape design. Three crucial areas of work need to be carried out by landscape researchers and academics regarding the broader subject of landscape technology, construction and detail design. These are detail durability, the preparation of a history of landscape technology and, finally, regional case studies in landscape design detail. The first area, durability, has become of increasing significance to the landscape architecture profession as issues of sustainability, diminishing natural material resources and accountability required by clients and municipalities for constructed landscape design projects over time. The second area, on the history of landscape technology, has

regrettably still not received adequate attention by landscape historians or theorists and still remains a productive area of the landscape field in need of development. Finally, with this publication focusing on the European experience of landscape detail and detailing practices, the third area of work takes a significant step forward in addressing the issues of landscape detail across national and geographical boundaries. In this book and in the cases studies that are illustrated here, the European landscape design community has taken up the task of offering critical commentary on contemporary detail practices and projects within their national landscapes. This is both a timely and significant task as the development and implementation of contemporary landscapes and conversely, it should be noted, the demolition and eradication of many more recent design works, continues with little pause. In addition, the geographical and cultural complexities of the national practices demonstrated here present an antidote to globalization, homogeneity and lack of specificity in detail design. This is therefore a benchmark publication by the editors Jens Balsby Nielsen, Torben Dam and Ian Thompson in the evolution of landscape architectural practice and scholarship. The case studies that occupy the greater part of this book illustratate landscape projects as living dynamic processes of design, with their resultant



dead-ends, backtracking, leaps of imagination and periods of creative design synthesis. The case studies do not, as the editors point out, resemble a set of guidelines or rules that will automatically result in successful details in the future (we may, however, care to measure the notion of 'success'). That is not the nature of landscape design or that of landscape detail. It still requires individuals to have developed individual design talent with the capacity to work productively in the landscape field in whatever country or countries they are commissioned to work. Nor do they absolve the designer of having to grasp the total range of knowledge and skills in all other areas of landscape architecture design, technology and construction practices. Instead, they provide a way of understanding landscape design through its detail, and, at the same time, a way of looking at landscape detail through design. In this, the purpose is to project landscape detail beyond its current role as a complement to other parts of the landscape design and planning processes, and to establish it as an identifiable subject on its own. This is a subject deeply concerned with the intellectual activity of design, both as a daily form of practice and a personal aesthetic language.

It is also a way of rediscovering what has already been recognized in the landscape design work of previous historical periods, but today continues to elude our full appreciation. Making landscape detail form as a design activity requires a lifetime investment of energy, resources and patience from any designer. The notion of commitment to serious detail investigation requires an obsessive mind, while also giving broad attention to the particular design challenges of landscape detailing, a clear intellectual focus, and a deep understanding of design history with as much practical site experience in varied cultures and climates as any designer can muster in a professional life time. In return a built form is produced which is intricate yet strong in its resolution and execution, an art form combining materials, ideas and meaning, which is simultaneously poetic and pragmatic. In short, it displays the practical dimensions and creative possibilities of landscape design detail. It