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A Design History
Graceland Cemetery in Chicago was founded in 1860 and developed over several decades by a series of landscape gardeners whose reputations today figure among the most important in the field. An exemplar of the rural cemetery type, Graceland was Chicago’s answer to its eastern counterparts, Mount Auburn in Cambridge and Laurel Hill in Philadelphia. While the initial layout of the cemetery was the work of William Saunders, designer of Laurel Hill, the cemetery is most often associated with a later style of design that featured exclusive use of native plants. Graceland was considered one of the most perfect expressions of this design approach, hailed as the most “modern” cemetery in existence and “the admiration of the world.” In this book, Christopher Vernon carefully recovers the history of Graceland and the many hands that helped to shape its influential layout. Following Saunders’s work, a succession of individuals contributed to the long evolution of Graceland’s landscape, including H. W. S. Cleveland, William Le Baron Jenney, and O. C. Simonds. In recent years, renewed interest in native plants and principles associated with the Prairie School of landscape design has led to a focus on Simonds’s contributions. While Vernon discusses Simonds’s work, he also considers the work of the cemetery’s other designers. Known as the “Cemetery of Architects” because so many notable ones are buried there, Graceland remains a heavily visited attraction. This richly illustrated book helps readers understand how the influential and still beautiful landscape was developed over many generations, casting new light on the careers of several important landscape architects.
A Geography of Culture and Place across America
What does it mean to be from somewhere? If most people in the United States are "from some place else" what is an American homeland? In answering these questions, the contributors to Homelands: A Geography of Culture and Place across America offer a geographical vision of territory and the formation of discrete communities in the U.S. today. Homelands discusses groups such as the Yankees in New England, Old Order Amish in Ohio, African Americans in the plantation South, Navajos in the Southwest, Russians in California, and several other peoples and places. Homelands explores the connection of people and place by showing how aspects of several different North American groups found their niche and created a homeland. A collection of fifteen essays, Homelands is an innovative look at geographical concepts in community settings. It is also an exploration of the academic work taking place about homelands and their people, of how factors such as culture, settlement, and cartographic concepts come together in American sociology. There is much not only to study but also to celebrate about American homelands. As the editors state, "Underlying today's pluralistic society are homelands—large and small, strong and weak—that endure in some way. The mosaic of homelands to which people bonded in greater or lesser degrees, affirms in a holistic way America's diversity, its pluralistic society." The authors depict the cultural effects of immigrant settlement. The conviction that people need to participate in the life of the homeland to achieve their own self realization, within the traditions and comforts of that community. Homelands gives us a new map of the United States, a map drawn with people's lives and the land that is their home.
Western Accounts, 1300-1860
Europeans may be said to have first encountered the Chinese garden in Marco Polo's narrative of his travels through the Mongol Empire and his years at the court of Kublai Khan. His account of a man-made lake abundant with fish, a verdant green hill lush with trees, raised walkways, and a plethora of beasts and birds took root in the European imagination as the description of a kind of Eden. Beginning in the sixteenth century, permanent interaction between Europe and China took form, and Jesuit missionaries and travelers recorded in letters and memoirs their admiration of Chinese gardens for their seeming naturalness. In the eighteenth century, European taste for chinoiserie reached its height, and informed observers of the Far East discovered that sophisticated and codified design principles lay behind the apparent simplicity of the Chinese garden. The widespread appreciation of the eighteenth century gave way to rejection in the nineteenth, a result of tensions over practical concerns such as trade imbalances and symbolized by the destruction of the imperial park of Yuanming yuan by a joint Anglo-French military expedition.
In Ideas of Chinese Gardens, Bianca Maria Rinaldi has gathered an unparalleled collection of westerners' accounts, many freshly translated and all expertly annotated, as well as images that would have accompanied the texts as they circulated in Europe. Representing a great diversity of materials and literary genres, Rinaldi's book includes more than thirty-five sources that span centuries, countries, languages, occupational biases, and political aims. By providing unmediated firsthand accounts of the testimony of these travelers and expatriates, Rinaldi illustrates how the Chinese garden was progressively lifted out of the realm of fantasy into something that could be compared with, and have an impact on, European traditions.
"In the course of my research," writes D. Fairchild Ruggles, "I devoured Arabic agricultural manuals from the tenth through the fourteenth centuries. I love gardening, and in these texts I was able to enter the minds of agriculturalists and botanists of a thousand years ago who likewise believed it was important and interesting to record all the known ways of propagating olive trees, the various uses of rosemary, and how best to fertilize a garden bed."
Western admirers have long seen the Islamic garden as an earthly reflection of the paradise said to await the faithful. However, such simplification, Ruggles contends, denies the sophistication and diversity of the art form. Islamic Gardens and Landscapes immerses the reader in the world of the architects of the great gardens of the Islamic world, from medieval Morocco to contemporary India.
Just as Islamic culture is historically dense, sophisticated, and complex, so too is the history of its built landscapes. Islamic gardens began from the practical need to organize the surrounding space of human civilization, tame nature, enhance the earth's yield, and create a legible map on which to distribute natural resources. Ruggles follows the evolution of these early farming efforts to their aristocratic apex in famous formal gardens of the Alhambra in Spain and the Taj Mahal in Agra.
Whether in a humble city home or a royal courtyard, the garden has several defining characteristics, which Ruggles discusses. Most notable is an enclosed space divided into four equal parts surrounding a central design element. The traditional Islamic garden is inwardly focused, usually surrounded by buildings or in the form of a courtyard. Water provides a counterpoint to the portioned green sections.
Ranging across poetry, court documents, agronomy manuals, and early garden representations, and richly illustrated with pictures and site plans, Islamic Gardens and Landscapes is a book of impressive scope sure to interest scholars and enthusiasts alike.
John Nolen (1869–1937) was the first American to identify himself exclusively as a town and city planner. In 1903, at the age of thirty-four, he enrolled in the new Harvard University program in landscape architecture, studying under Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. and Arthur Shurcliff. Two years later, he opened his own office in Harvard Square. Over the course of his career, Nolen and his firm completed more than four hundred projects, including comprehensive plans for more than twenty-five cities, across the United States. Like other progressive reformers of his era, Nolen looked to Europe for models to structure the rapid urbanization defining modern life into more efficient and livable form. His books, including New Towns for Old: Achievements in Civic Improvement in Some American Small Towns and Neighborhoods, promoted the new practice of city planning and were widely influential. In this insightful biography, R. Bruce Stephenson analyzes the details of Nolen’s many experiments, illuminating the planning principles he used in laying out communities from Mariemont, Ohio, to Venice, Florida. Stephenson concludes by discussing the potential of Nolen’s work as a model of a sustainable vision relevant to American civic culture today.
Published in 1559 and appearing here for the first time in English, La Villa is a rare source of Renaissance landscape theory. Written by Bartolomeo Taegio, a Milanese jurist and man of letters, after his banishment (possibly for murder, Thomas E. Beck speculates), the text takes the form of a dialogue between two gentlemen, one a proponent of the country, the other of the city. While it is not a gardening treatise, La Villa reflects an aesthetic appreciation of the land in the Renaissance, reveals the symbolic and metaphorical significance of sixteenth-century gardens for their owners, and articulates a specific philosophy about the interaction of nature and culture in the garden.
This edition of the original Italian text and Beck's English translation is augmented with notes in which Beck identifies numerous references to literary sources in La Villa and more than 280 people and places mentioned in the dialogue. The introduction illuminates Taegio's life and intellectual activity, his obligations to his sources, the cultural context, and the place of La Villa in Renaissance villa literature. It also demonstrates the enduring relevance of La Villa for architecture and landscape architecture. La Villa makes a valuable contribution to the body of literature about place-making, precisely because it treats the villa as an idea and not as a building type.
John Stilgoe is just looking around. This is more difficult than it sounds, particularly in our mediated age, when advances in both theory and technology too often seek to replace the visual evidence before our own eyes rather than complement it. We are surrounded by landscapes charged with our past, and yet from our earliest schooldays we are instructed not to stare out the window. Someone who stops to look isn’t only a rarity; he or she is suspect.
Landscape and Images records a lifetime spent observing America’s constructed landscapes. Stilgoe’s essays follow the eclectic trains of thought that have resulted from his observation, from the postcard preference for sunsets over sunrises to the concept of "teen geography" to the unwillingness of Americans to walk up and down stairs. In Stilgoe's hands, the subject of jack o’ lanterns becomes an occasion to explore centuries-old concepts of boundaries and trespassing, and to examine why this originally pagan symbol has persisted into our own age. Even something as mundane as putting the cat out before going to bed is traced back to fears of unwatched animals and an untended frontier fireplace. Stilgoe ponders the forgotten connections between politics and painted landscapes and asks why a country whose vast majority lives less than a hundred miles from a coast nonetheless looks to the rural Midwest for the classic image of itself.
At times breathtaking in their erudition, the essays collected here are as meticulously researched as they are elegantly written. Stilgoe’s observations speak to specialists—whether they be artists, historians, or environmental designers—as well as to the common reader. Our landscapes constitute a fascinating history of accident and intent. The proof, says Stilgoe, is all around us.
This book is both about exceptional Irish landscapes like the Burren and also the everyday landscape experience in Ireland. The aim of the book is to give an account of contemporary Irish landscape and to describe and explain how it has changed over the last forty years and how it continues to change