© Christian Maryska


Landscape 100

History of the profession – History of the site

In the field of Landscape Architecture, history comprises the narrative of the profession, the development of design approaches, as well as crafts, styles and meanings. An insight in these processes is essential to decode the relation between actor and object, nature and art, as well as landscape and society. Research in landscape history strives to understand our predecessors, their professional attitudes as well as their designs within the historical, cultural and societal context. This allows for an appropriate interpretation of designed landscapes as a statement of cultural knowledge and state of the art.

A site itself, however, is also never an ahistorical entity, a tabula rasa. To think of any given site, any given landscape, as a palimpsest of material and societal processes and transformations, a specific site‘s conditions, its genesis, history and representation, means involvement with a site through which it „tells us“ what to do with it. It encourages us to find admiration in the existing while also being taken by the whim of transformative interventions in the landscape. Such an approach not only sets itself against explicit readings but spurs the discourse regarding commonly accepted landscape ideals, letting a landscape unfold in seemingly impossible plots. Through this we can establish new relationships to the garden, the cityscape and the wider landscape. In this way, we become not just researchers or designers of the landscape, but agents who use, show, interpret and manipulate a landscape to guarantee or deliberately break its continuity.

Within this framework, today’s landscape architects are part of an ongoing process. History forms the basis for recent landscape interventions; in turn, these interventions provoke new tendencies for future development. Our predecessors’ efforts have positioned the profession within society as well as within cognate disciplines, or rather cultural assets on the whole. Research and documentation of biographies and designs offer a vast pool of references and examples from which to learn.

The organizing commitee welcomes you to the symposium and wishes you exiting discussions, invigorating exchanges and rewarding insights!

© Christian Maryška
© Christian Maryška