The 'Wageningen School' and the Counterintuituve Sublime


  • Paul Roncken



Preponderance of the great, taming power of the small. Dealing with historic and indigenous culture-related design issues seems to trigger some weak aspects of garden and landscape architecture. This is especially the case in the Dutch "Wageningen School" landscape architecture that is firmly rooted in a causal description of natural and social relationships. Together with the increasing number and broadening interests of parties involved in a design trajectory, the traditional causality cannot handle the demand for more expressive aesthetics. It may lead to aesthetic ambiguity and even a crisis of the legitimation of identity and the identity of a design. But is it really necessary for a landscape architect to let go of the causal theorem in order to be flexible to the (subjective) demands of clients and the public? Is there an alternative perspective on the relationship between causality and aesthetics that can have a firm grip on an insatiable discussion regarding identity and legitimation? And can this alternative expand the design language beside the current nostalgia that flourishes in historic and indigenous design issues? Odd as it may seem, the condition postmoderne as described by the French philosopher François Lyotard can make a difference regarding this discussion.


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How to Cite

Roncken, P. (2004). The ’Wageningen School’ and the Counterintuituve Sublime. Landscape Review, 9(1), 201–204.



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