Thursday, 13 July 2017


An occasional series playing with historic garden plans taken from Turner's 24 Historic Styles of Garden Design, published by

What we might be looking at:

Bam. Circles, lines and a grid. This is clearly a constructivist painting! Except it isn't, it's a garden plan. So we have a wild outer edge- we can assume it's vegetation, but there's something spiky about the scheme which suggests that they could just as well be stalagmites.

The combination of spikes and the garden geometry conjures images of a violent sport, something like Speedball 2 or Salute of the Jugger. Actually, it's far more likely that the giant circle in the centre inspired that particular interpretation. It's now getting harder and harder to imagine how a game might be played here. Where's the goal? Where would the teams muster?

That said, there's something of a bowling green to the central rectangle. If this were a postmodern garden plan (which it is) then an ironic anachronism would be entirely in-keeping with that particular school of design. But by now I've revealed that I'm already familiar with the plan. This clearly references Tschumi's famous Parc de la Villette

What we are actually looking at:
Yes, this is a postmodern garden. Turner has a lot to say about postmodernism in City as Landscape, but in 24 Styles... he is more generous, noting the inventive use of geometry and materials that characterise postmodernism in landscape design:

"Geometrically, postmodernism is associated with a layered and deconstructive geometry. Rectangles clash with circles and are interscected by hapazard diagonals, as in a Russian constructivist painting. Steel and concrete structures are painted in bright col ours. Glass and other reflective surfaces help create illusions and startling visual effects."

-Twenty Four Historic Styles of Garden Design , page 71
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