Thursday, 21 July 2011

the sky is mine

Lorie Garden in Chicago's Millennium Park

designed by Piet Oudolf and Kathryn Gustafson

I recently read a fantastic interview with Kathryn Gustafson by Michael Watts. The first two paragraphs, I feel, provide a fantastic explanation of what it is landscape architects do- as well as expanding the concept of landscape beyond the garden or the countryside. At times I struggle with public ignorance of my chosen profession: I have worked as a gardener and landscaper for nearly six years; I'm not spending four years at University to carry on doing the same thing!

It seems a curiously British ignorance...

The subject of landscape teems with chroniclers of every kind. There are psycho-geographers, deep topographers, poets and explorers of urban edgelands like Paul Farley and Iain Sinclair, land artists such as Andy Goldsworthy, as well as the scholarly figures of Richard Mabey and Simon Schama. But the constant figure in the landscape is the landscape architect, entrusted with the design of our outdoor and public spaces, and in consequence an important civilising influence down the centuries, from André Le Nôtre and his gardens at Versailles in the 1660s to Frederick Law Olmsted and the Central Park he created in New York 200 years later.'

'To the layman, the job of a landscape architect may be just to fill in the green bits around a new building (television gardeners have much to answer for). But in the contemporary language of this discipline, the design and care of an environment is expected to manifest nothing less than a society’s identity, culture and technology. To meet a practitioner as focused as Kathryn Gustafson is illuminating. It’s not often that you encounter someone who proclaims, “the sky is mine,” or who says, unblushingly, “it’s almost like I pull out from the earth what is its essential thing.”'

-Michael Watts interviweing Kathryn Gustafson

The Sky is Mine? Wow. Read what else Gustafson has to say at the link below:

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