Writing Gardens - Gardening Drawings: Fung, Brunier and Garening as a model of Landscape Architectural Practice

  • Julian Raxworthy

Abstract

Landscape architecture is different from other design discourses, notably architecture, because of its utilisation of' dynamic' construction media such as plant materials, soils and water, compared with the 'static' materials of architecture, colloquially described as bricks and mortar. This dynamism refers to the fact that landscape materials not only change, but get better over time. While this is a material difference, its implications extend to practice, which has been modelled, from architecture, to favour a static mode of representation: the drawing. While the drawing is important for the propositional nature of landscape architecture, it may be valuable to look at other disciplines, allied to landscape architecture, which might be seen as better able to engage with change. In this essay, the garden provides just such an example. In the writings of Stanislaus Fung on the Chinese garden text the Yuan vi, an argument is made about writing being a fundamental act in the endeavour of gardening that may offer a bridge across the 'ontological disparity' that exists between representation and the subject, the landscape. To speak of writing in this context suggests that writing about gardens is actually a type of gardening in itself. This argument is extended in the current essay quickly to see if it is also appropriate to consider drawings in this way. This essay also attempts to legitimate theoretically the real possibility of modifying landscape architectural practices to engage with change, by suggesting what might be learned from gardening. In further research by this author, this argument will be used as the theoretical basis for critiquing gardens in such a way that lessons learnt from garden designers can be valuably incorporated back into the discourse of landscape architecture.
Published
2004-06-01
Section
Peer reviewed papers featured in roundtable sessions