Friday, February 1, 2008

Profession on the Rise: Landscapes at Risk

There is a significant wealth of historic works of landscape architecture around the world. While the profession has a mere 150 years of 'official' standing, and based on recent Occupational Employment Statistics survey results, it is well on the rise (growth of 59% in employees). What this means, at least by extrapolation, is that more landscape architects equals more works of landscape architecture. Ok, it could mean more people looking for less jobs, but i'm thinking positively.

:: image via Archinect

The fact is, that the profession has been, and will continue to be, prolific in producing a vast quantity of notable work. As this works ages, it will continue to be potentially threatened by development or redevelopment based on the shifting sands of stylistic preference. The mantle of awareness and protection of The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF) gives me faith that this issue will not be lost in the shuffle, but will get the attention it deserves.

The organization is: "...dedicated to increasing the public’s awareness of the importance and irreplaceable legacy of cultural landscapes. Through education, technical assistance, and outreach, the Cultural Landscape Foundation broadens the support and understanding for cultural landscapes nationwide in hopes of saving our priceless heritage for future generations."

There are a number of programs, including profiles and oral histories of Landscape Legends, such as Richard Haag, Carol R. Johnson, and Lawrence Halprin. Also, there are profiles of significant cultural landscapes that offer significant value to society, and encourage protection of these resources through the Cultural Landscapes as Classrooms program. Some specific notable national projects are included below:

The Donnell Garden - Thomas Church

:: image via ASLA

:: image via Bard Graduate Center

Columbus Park - Jens Jensen

:: image from TCLF

:: image from 1935 via Jens Jensen Legacy Project

Mt. Auburn Cemetery

:: images via Wikepedia

The 2008 Landslide/Landscapes of Risk call for projects is entitled 'Marvels of Modernism' shifting this to more modernist examples of culturally significant landscapes. This Dwell interview with Charles Birnbaum makes the case for preservation and protection of landscapes in the same vein as buildings. From Dwell's modern vantage point, particular works of modern landscape architecture deserve this added protection, but rightly so, this net could be cast upon any significant works.

:: image via TCLF

As we create more work, we offer more potential treasures that deserve protection... our success as a profession, and it's legacy, will depend on continuing to provide, as well as protect, our amazing cultural landscapes.


  1. Jason--Just bumped into the site and am totally digging it (but I'm on the TCLF board, so I guess I should be;-). Keep it up.

  2. thank you for showcasing/presenting the marvels book --- feel like getting it !
    Anne -


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