The Language of Landscape

Front Cover
Yale University Press, 1998 - Architecture - 326 pages
This eloquent and powerful book combines poetry and pragmatism to teach the language of landscape. Anne Whiston Spirn, author of the award-winning The Granite Garden: Urban Nature and Human Design, argues that the language of landscape exists with its own syntax, grammar, and metaphors, and that we imperil ourselves by failing to learn to read and speak this language. To understand the meanings of landscape, our habitat, is to see the world differently and to enable ourselves to avoid profound aesthetic and environmental mistakes.

Offering examples that range across thousands of years and five continents, Spirn examines urban, rural, and natural landscapes. She discusses the thought of renowned landscape authors--Thomas Jefferson, Frank Lloyd Wright, Frederick Law Olmsted, Lawrence Halprin--and of less well known pioneers, including Australian architect Glenn Murcutt and Danish landscape artist C. Th. Sørensen. She discusses instances of great landscape designers using landscape fluently, masterfully, and sometimes cynically. And, in a probing analysis of the many meanings of landscape, Spirn shows how one person's ideal landscape may be another's nightmare, how Utopian landscapes can be dark. There is danger when we lose the connection between a place and our understanding of it, Spirn warns, and she calls for change in the way we shape our environment, based on the notions of nature as a set of ideas and landscape as the expression of action and ideas in place.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - amelish - LibraryThing

An important book, if not necessarily a wholly engrossing one... the hippie-dippy tone gets repetetive and I wish the writing were less consistently vague. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ibbetson - LibraryThing

Anne Whiston Spirn has a lot of truly important and enlightening things to say in "The Language of Landscape". Unfortunately, she makes the reader slog through an indulgent and contrived writing style ... Read full review

Contents

I
3
II
10
III
13
IV
15
V
18
VI
22
VII
27
VIII
32
XXXVIII
175
XXXIX
179
XL
181
XLI
191
XLII
195
XLIII
196
XLIV
198
XLV
202

IX
37
X
47
XI
48
XII
49
XIII
55
XIV
63
XV
67
XVI
68
XVII
70
XVIII
77
XIX
83
XX
85
XXI
86
XXII
96
XXIII
101
XXIV
111
XXV
127
XXVI
133
XXVII
134
XXVIII
137
XXIX
139
XXX
142
XXXI
143
XXXII
146
XXXIII
148
XXXIV
150
XXXV
163
XXXVI
168
XXXVII
171
XLVI
209
XLVII
216
XLVIII
217
XLIX
223
L
224
LI
226
LII
229
LIII
233
LIV
236
LV
240
LVI
244
LVII
246
LVIII
250
LIX
253
LX
255
LXI
257
LXII
259
LXIII
262
LXIV
267
LXV
269
LXVI
271
LXVII
272
LXVIII
273
LXIX
288
LXXI
299
LXXII
304
LXXIII
311
LXXIV
315
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1998)

Anne Whiston Spirn is professor of landscape architecture and regional planning and director of the Urban Studies Program at the University of Pennsylvania. She is director of the West Philadelphia Landscape Project, an action-research program integrating research, teaching, and community service, and she chairs the Advisory Council to the Territorial Directorate of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris.

Bibliographic information