This course surveys multiple definitions of landscape architecture. Rather than seeking a singular understanding, the seminar postulates that landscape might be understood in relation to other terms across an expanded disciplinary and professional field. The course will pursue multiple provisional working definitions of landscape as a method to describe landscape architecture as a contemporary cultural form. The first of these definitions distinguishes between landscape as medium, secondly we will address landscape as discipline, and thirdly landscape as profession. Beginning with the course introduction and inquiry into the origins of the word itself, the seminar is organized into a series of weekly rhetorical questions. These questions are built upon Garrett Eckbo’s 1983 essay entitled “Is Landscape Architecture?” Following from Eckbo’s rhetorical questioning, we will ask similarly charged questions weekly in order to unpack landscape’s luggage.
Over the semester members of the seminar will be introduced to a range of ideas, authors, agents, and actors shaping the contemporary field of landscape architecture. Members will also come to know the research and creative practice of many faculty members currently constituting the Department of Landscape Architecture at the GSD, as well as a range of leading figures nationally. Through a series of readings, seminar discussions, and presentations by visitors, members of the seminar will be introduced to the study of landscape architecture at Harvard and be invited to articulate their own academic experiences, intellectual commitments, and professional aspirations.