LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE OFFERS AESTHETIC AND CREATIVE EXPERIENCES
Landscapes that offer innovation and delight
Keywords innovation, sensation, experience, beauty, memory, delight
Background and Definition
Landscape architecture offers people that which artists offer: the opportunity to experience enjoyment, contentment, stimulation or pleasure by participating in the aesthetic experience of landscape (CLARB 2012 56). Creative and aesthetic landscapes deal with the aspect of welfare concerned with delight and joy. The happiness of a community or people is partially dependent on their environment. Beautiful, interactive landscapes provide pleasurable environments, relaxation spaces, exciting features for play or involvement, and visual inspiration. Aesthetics in a landscape address more than just beauty, but a full sensory experience. Aesthetics creatively address innovation towards the future – with technological, stylistic, and communicative advancements – while still respecting and remembering the past and the history of the site.
What makes a landscape aesthetic?
What are the characteristics of a creative landscape?
How do landscape architects provide beauty and delight while preserving the memory of a site?
Client: Gateway Foundation, City of Saint Louis
Year of Completion: 2009
Project Location: Saint Louis, Missouri
Site Area: 2.9 acres
Landscape Architects: Nelson Byrd Woltz
Citygarden was built in order to provide a public outdoor recreational space as urban revival in St. Louis was growing. The park is unique in that all of its elements and aspects are interactive. Visitors can climb on sculptures, run through the fountains, and splash in the waterfall. The features in the park engage all senses and spread delight throughout the city, its residents, and visitors. Citygarden incorporates subtle traces of the past. Landscape achitect Warren Byrd recalls, “The parallel boundaries of the horticultural gardens along Market Street were inspired by actual property lines denoted on a 1916 Sanborn map. The bluestone walk that defines the central east-west path across Citygarden literally traces long lost alleyways.” (Citygarden 2013) He also states that the birch-clad mound on the northwest corner of the site comes from the idea of the Native American ceremonial mound, which is a part of the land’s ancient history and keeps alive the memory of the early unsettled West. These contrasting elements create an interesting and engaging landscape for residents as well as tourists of Saint Louis to enjoy. There is also a café on the site where people can sit and observe the park, providing the opportunity to quietly absorb the sights, sounds, smells, and various sensations emitting from the scenery. Today, Citygarden is entertaining and inspiring for all age groups through artistic innovation, preservation of history, and a variety of aesthetic interaction opportunities.
Figure 6.1 Bronze sculpture
Figure 6.2 People enjoying the waterfall fountain
Figure 6.3 Digital artwork
Figure 6.4 Pinocchio sculpture
Figure 6.5 White rabbit sculpture
Figure 6.6 Fountain at night
Figure 6.7 Aerial rendering
Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain
Client: Department of Culture, Media and Sport
Year of Completion: 2004
Project Location: London, United Kingdom
Site Area: 1.4 acres
Landscape Architects: Gustafson Porter
The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain is a sculptural water feature designed to recall and preserve the memory of Princess Diana. Kathryn Gustafson, of the landscape architecture firm Gustafson Porter, explains that the memorial “expresses the concept of ‘Reaching out—letting in’” (Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial 2015). This concept reflected that of Diana’s personality and accessibility to the public before her tragic passing. This idea of accessibility and interaction are again emphasized in the different ways to touch and experience the fountain’s variety of sensations. The oval shaped fountain is composed of several granite textures and channels in which the continuous stream of water flows over; creating different speeds, sounds, sensations, and visual patterns. The fountain is public and visitors are free to sit, play, and walk around in the water in order to fully experience the tactile features of the sculpture. The continuous stream produces a feeling of energy and attracts people to both interact and reflect upon her life. This preservation of memory and implementation of pleasant interactive features makes this space a prime example of an aesthetically engaging and creative design.
Figure 6.8 Path and Waterway of Fountain in Hyde Park
Figure 6.9 People Playing and Interacting with Fountain
Figure 6.10 Water Splashing Across Grooved Texture
Figure 6.11 Hand Feeling Water
Grand Canal Square
Client: Dublin Docklands Development Corporation
Year of Completion: 2007
Project Location: Dublin, Ireland
Site Area: 2.5 acres
Landscape Architects: Martha Schwartz Partners
Martha Schwartz’s Grand Canal Square is an innovative and astounding environment, built around a story where the visitors of the site are like celebrities walking on the red carpet, with red stone pavement as the carpet, and tilted red light poles as the paparazzi. “Due to its cultural celebrity setting, a scheme with a central red carpet has been developed that leads from the theatre out onto the canal and vice versa. A green carpet connects the new hotel to the office development.” (“Martha Schwartz Partners” 2015) Schwartz encompasses all the senses with her design: color for the eyes, the sound of the fountain and the canal, smell of the water and plantings, and being able to touch and interact with the fountain, light poles, and planting elements. This ability to engage all the senses in a pleasant way makes Grand Canal Square a fully aesthetic environment. Its story of the red carpet, with a nod to the existing theatre, is a creative trait that sets this landscape apart from the typical listless environments we have come to accept as normal.
Figure 6.12 Grand Canal Square Panorama-Showing the connections formed between the theatre, plaza, and canal
Figure 6.13 Aerial image of Grand Canal Square, showing the crossing red and green “carpets”
Figure 6.14 Sunset photo emphasizing the relationship between the lighting bollards and the canal
“Citygarden – An Urban Oasis in Downtown St. Louis.” 2015. Accessed February 9. http://www.citygardenstl.org/index.php/design/design_inspiration.php.
“Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial.” 2015. Accessed February 2. http://www.gustafson-porter.com/diana-princess-of-wales-memorial-fountain/.
“Martha Schwartz Partners.” 2015. Projects – Civic Institutional – Dublin. Accessed February 9. http://www.marthaschwartz.com/projects/civic_institutional_dublin.php.
Richardson, Tim. 2009. Avant Gardeners. New York: Thames & Hudson.
Spears, George, Kasia Seydegart, Emily Hansen, and Pat Zulinov. 2010. Landscape Architecture and Public Welfare. Council of Landscape Architectural Registration Boards. https://www.clarb.org/CLARBDocuments/PublicWelfareFINAL.pdf.
Figure 6.01 /dave/null. Citygarden. Photo, November 22, 2009. https://www.flickr.com/photos/davenull/4445822943/.
Figure 6.02 Gewel Maker. Citygarden – St Louis. Photo, July 25, 2009. https://www.flickr.com/photos/georgesgewels/3758999248/in/photostream/
Figure 6.03 Kerr, Doug. Citygarden – St. Louis, Missouri. Photo, March 16, 2014. https://www.flickr.com/photos/dougtone/13299663733/.
Figure 6.04 ———. Citygarden – St. Louis, Missouri. Photo, March 16, 2014. https://www.flickr.com/photos/dougtone/13299916514/.
Figure 6.05 ———. Citygarden – St. Louis, Missouri. Photo, March 16, 2014. https://www.flickr.com/photos/dougtone/13299672413/.
Figure 6.06 User:Ddancy2013. “City Garden” – Downtown St. Louis, Mo., July 19, 2013. Own work. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:%22City_Garden%22_-_Downtown_St-_Louis,_Mo-_2013-07-19_18-12.jpg
Figure 6.07 velo_city. Citygarden. Photo, June 20, 2012. https://www.flickr.com/photos/velo_city/7411951344/.
Figure 6.08 Untitled [Calm Portion of the Fountain with Path Intersecting the Waterway]. 2009. Photograph by Laura Bittner. Accessed February 23, 2015. Reproduced from flickr, https://www.flickr.com/photos/wolfsavard/3251057317. Made available under an Attribution 2.0 Generic Creative Commons license, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/.
Figure 6.09 Untitled [People Playing and Interacting with Fountain]. 2009. Photograph by Morgaine. Accessed February 23, 2015. Reproduced from flickr, https://www.flickr.com/photos/morgaine/3801264408. Made available under an Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Creative Commons license, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/.
Figure 6.10 Untitled [Detail of the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain: water splashing across grooved texture]. 2009. Photograph by Laura Bittner. Accessed February 23, 2015. Reproduced from flickr, https://www.flickr.com/photos/wolfsavard/3251044343. Made available under an Attribution 2.0 Generic Creative Commons license, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/.
Figure 6.11 “Getting Wet.” 2008. Photograph by Andrew. Accessed February 23, 2015. Reproduced from flickr, https://www.flickr.com/photos/nez/2439806800. Made available under an Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Creative Commons license, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/.
Figure 6.12 Khoo, Jonathan. 2014. Grand Canal Square Panorama. Photo. https://www.flickr.com/photos/jonk/13213978784/.
Figure 6.13 Schwartz, Martha. 2015. “dublin_1.jpg (JPEG Image, 708 × 468 Pixels).” Accessed February 9. http://www.marthaschwartz.com/projects/bilder/civic_institutional/dublin/dublin_1.jpg.
Figure 6.14 Schwartz, Martha. 2015. “dublin_2.jpg (JPEG Image, 708 × 468 Pixels).” Accessed February 9. http://www.marthaschwartz.com/projects/bilder/civic_institutional/dublin/dublin_2.jpg.