Saturday, December 17, 2011

Political Implications in the Borghese Garden

Since the Time of Antiquity, Roman estates have been developed to include an assertion of their patron’s wealth and political influence, however it was during the Roman Renaissance era that landscape took on a central role towards this end.  Exemplifying this shift is the Villa Borgehese, commissioned by Cardinal Scipione Borghese in the 17th century and which utilized a vast garden landscape to flaunt and proliferate its owner’s power.  Borghese’s estate was novel not only in the expansive size of its gardens, but also in its organizational layout and emphasis on the landscape.  These new concepts in landscape architecture set Villa Borghese apart from its predecessors and helped to establish trends that would influence landscape architects and painters in the times that followed.1

During the Italian Renaissance it was common for...  (
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Stourhead Gardens: Landscape and Perceptions

The gardens at Stourhead in Wiltshire, England provide an example of how landowners of the past have utilized their landscapes to create a stabilizing perception of wealth and establishment.  Popular 18th century English cultural trends and attitudes are drawn upon to inform the garden’s design, beautifying the space while promoting the owner’s political agenda.  Architectural elements are also incorporated to streamline pedestrian flow while simultaneously establishing the owner’s right of proprietorship.  By successfully achieving perceptions through landscape design, we see that Stourhead influences its contemporaries and becomes part of an ancient tradition in garden design.

Developed in the mid-18th century...  (go here for full article)

Fontainebleau in Migration

The Chateau de Fontainebleau, located about 35 miles southwest of Paris, provides a study in how transposition and migration within landscape architecture can have far reaching effects.  At Fontainebleau we see how the 16th century French emperor Francis I transposes the politically driven siting considerations of ancient Roman emperors to his own era in an effort to solidify the authority of his rule.  We also witness how groups and individuals become vessels that carry design languages across international borders and through time, particularly during periods of political turmoil.  Perhaps most interestingly, Fontainebleau provides an example of how these transpositions and migrations are self-propagating and can move on to influence distant areas.

In choosing to site Fontainebleau... (
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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Master of Landscape Architecture Application Process

As is typical, I'm here at a coffee shop in Austin working on my application to grad school.  I feel that I'm pretty close to finishing up my statement of purpose, although it seems like I've been 'pretty close to finishing' for quite some time.  I really need to wrap this up so that I can start working on my resume and fire it off to UTSOA by the December 15th deadline.

I have realized that it was an important move to resign from my job last month.  The application process has been time and energy consuming, and trying to produce creative work after coming home from a stressful day at the office would have affected my application's quality.  Plus there are so many little necessities of life that come up each day that it is often challenging to work on the application even without a job.  Moving out of my apartment, for instance, which I'll be doing for the rest of the week.  And too much is up in the air right now to sign another lease, so it looks like I'll be staying on a friend's couch for at least a few weeks.  This is not all bad though - my friend is an architectural designer who can probably offer some pointers on my portfolio ;)

“Nothing happens until something moves.” 
- Albert Einstein