What have been the teaching books on landscape architecture that have (really) helped to shape both your professional sense of place and sense of self?

serious landscaping - design research MEET-UP
serious landscaping – design research MEET-UP

There is no time for any long reads this month. But I do wish to include you in a project that is about to start. The European Council of Landscape Architecture Schools (ECLAS) is intend on publishing a series of books. It is part of the exploring the boundaries – series, published by Routledge. One of books that is currently in preparation deals with education.

Now, there must be a lot of committed educators on the internet and also a lot of life long students. But what use have books been to you during your training? What vision do you have for future landscape design education? How will research and design become aligned to deal with some Serious Landscaping? (see: above poster that I prepared for my MSc thesis supervision-group).

What books on landscape architecture are in your top 5?

What books are not yet made, but ought to have been made?

What use will Youtube lectures and MOOC (massive online open courses) be in the near future and can there be something like a MOOS: an online open design studio?

Let me give you my top 5 of books and then we swap them for yours

and if you have any desire to write an educational book, tell me why and how and with what focus?


Design with Nature, Ian Mc Harg 1969. The classic and I do not know how many of you have actually read the whole thing? It is extraordinary in its breadth and ambition. It seems that landscape architecture has not evolved much since. Green or landscape infrastructure as contemporary trending topics….  common… read Mc Harg!

101 things I learned in Architecture School, Matthew Frederick 2007. Not academic but very instructive, and funny. I think there should be a similar book for landscape architecture. Moreover, I am fond of this book because it allows me to think about small exercises for students to train a specific competence. So this type of book should be accompanied by online exercises as well!

Opening Spaces, Hans Loidl and Stephen Bernard 2003. Actually, I have a love and hate relationship with this book. I find it very ugly in graphical terms and much too simplistic in design terms. This is the book that proofs that landscape design could be well suited for primary schools. So that is why I love it, because it makes me enthusiastic about expanding landscape education to younger students! And again, I am much obliged by this book because it has helped me to create some effective design excersises that help students instantly.

Twenty buildings every architect should understand, Simon Unwin 2010. Sorry, again an architecture book… But this book I actually use in my classes. It is so helpful to guide students through the delicate design concepts in architecture and let them design a 50 hectares estate around it, integrating a landscape analysis of the place with the splendour of these houses. So >>> there ought to be a book on twenty landscape designs every landscape architect should understand!

Rethinking landscape, Ian Thompson 2009. To finalize my list, something to chew on. A really necessary list of excerpts of influential design philosophical texts on landscapes. There is also a problem with this type of book: it is so kaleidoscopic that there is no conclusion. This proofs that there are many methods and ideas in landscape design, but hardly any theory.


Happy to share! Yours, Paul


PS a very new book is: Conversations With Form: A Workbook for Students of Architecture >>> this seems the kind of book that I would want to make, so I will study a copy of it. It includes 20-minute sketching and analysing games within a small group of students… GOOD!