Theories and Practices of Contemporary Landscape Architecture 1950-2008

Practice, according to Garrett Eckbo, is \’knowing how to do something; theory is knowing why.\’This course will explore the \’know why\’ of landscape architecture since the Second World War, juxtaposing both the built works and the writings of landscape architects with texts that address methodology or the discipline\’s larger theoretical and cultural contexts.Within this broad framework, the course will examine a series of topics: the quest for a modern language for landscape architecture in the 1950s and 1960s; the challenge to the profession in the later 1960s from ecology on the one hand and from art on the other; the complexity and heterodoxy of the contemporary situation, in which the social, ecological, phenomenological, and artistic dimensions of the practice struggle for reconciliation; the growing hybridization of landscape design with urbanism and architecture; and the more speculative effort on the part of some practitioners to address globalization, commercialization and simulation.The goal of the course is to learn to read in greater depth and to see in greater detail-to recognize the visual and verbal languages that people use, how they use them, and to what end.The course will meet in both lecture and discussion sessions; the class will be divided into two groups for discussions, led by the instructor and teaching fellow Laura Gornowski. Evaluation will be based on class attendance and participation; brief weekly written responses to the readings; and a final paper.