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Gardens in the Modern Landscape

Gardens in the Modern Landscape: A Facsimile of the Revised 1948 Edition

Christopher Tunnard
With a new foreword by John Dixon Hunt
Copyright Date: 1948
Pages: 208
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  • Book Info
    Gardens in the Modern Landscape
    Book Description:

    Between 1937 and 1938, garden designer Christopher Tunnard published a series of articles in the BritishArchitectural Reviewthat rejected the prevailing English landscape style. Inspired by the principles of Modernist art and Japanese aesthetics, Tunnard called for a "new technique" in garden design that emphasized an integration of form and purpose. "The functional garden avoids the extremes both of the sentimental expressionism of the wild garden and the intellectual classicism of the 'formal' garden," he wrote; "it embodies rather a spirit of rationalism and through an aesthetic and practical ordering of its units provides a friendly and hospitable milieu for rest and recreation."

    Tunnard's magazine pieces were republished in book form asGardens in the Modern Landscapein 1938, and a revised second edition was issued a decade later. Taken together, these articles constituted a manifesto for the modern garden, its influence evident in the work of such figures as Lawrence Halprin, Philip Johnson, and Edward Larrabee Barnes.

    Long out of print, the book is here reissued in a facsimile of the 1948 edition, accompanied by a contextualizing foreword by John Dixon Hunt.Gardens in the Modern Landscapeheralded a sea change in the evolution of twentieth-century design, and it also anticipated questions of urban sprawl, historic preservation, and the dynamic between the natural and built environments. Available once more to students, practitioners, and connoisseurs, it stands as a historical document and an invitation to continued innovative thought about landscape architecture.

    eISBN: 978-0-8122-9004-2
    Subjects: Architecture and Architectural History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. FOREWORD to the Facsimile Edition
    (pp. vii-3)
    John Dixon Hunt

    Gardens in the Modern Landscape, first published as a book in 1938 and again ten years later, is an important moment in discussions and promotions of modern gardens and landscape architecture. A foreword for this reprint requires two things: to situate the text, for those who come to it for the first time and even for those who know it (since Tunnard’s writing emerges from a whole cluster of interrelated concerns); and, second, to assess how it survives today, both as a historical document and as an invitation to continue thinking about landscape architecture.

    What is reprinted here is the...

    (pp. 4-4)
    (pp. 5-8)
    Christopher Tunnard

    IT is now ten years since the material in these pages first appeared inThe Architectural Review. Very little creative work has been done during the interval owing to the war. The author, like everyone else, has been engaged in other occupations, with little time for reflection on the charm of natural things; but since it is his publisher’s and his own opinion that the book should reappear very much in its original form, a few remarks on conclusions reached during this relatively inactive period may not come amiss.

    The opinion expressed in the book that the eighteenth-century invention of...

    (pp. 9-48)

    A GARDEN is a work of art. It is also a number of other things, such as a place for rest and recreation, and for the pursuit of horticulture, but to be a garden in the true sense of the term it must first be an æsthetic composition.

    The necessity for keeping this in mind arises from a two-centuries old confusion between the idea of gardens as pure works of art, and as works of art in imitation of nature. When Addison said, “ Gardens are works of art, therefore they rise in value according to the degree of their...

    (pp. 49-68)

    THE unfortunate duality of temperament with which the Victorian garden was endowed was not an aid to its establishment as an artistic entity. Until this moment there had been no middle course to steer in garden planning—the pre-landscape garden had called for regularity, the landscape garden for irregularity—now there had to be a compromise. The exalted Victorian mind had not yet learned to compromise; in consequence it botched.

    And what a glorious, gaudy botch it made ! It will be remembered that Victorian garden-makers were forced to encounter the problem of the villa or suburban plot, admittedly a...

    (pp. 69-125)

    The modern garden architect has as much to discard as had the painter, sculptor and architect of a decade or two ago. He is faced with the necessity of ridding himself of so many comforting, if worthless, technical aids in planning that very little can be left to guide him. He must therefore evolve a new technique as a basis for contemporary garden planning.

    In the previous chapters the main influences on garden design have been analysed in relation to problems of the past; now and in the following pages it is proposed to examine as fully as possible the...

    (pp. 126-166)

    LANDSCAPE into garden…. This fusion took place in the eighteenth century. As we have seen, social and economic forces contributed to the metamorphosis; Italian painters, English poets and Chinese craftsmen influenced its form. Perhaps nothing less than a social and economic revolution will enable men to garden landscapes once again, but a predetermination of the form of the new landscape will be the first logical step towards its realization.

    The new landscape is the garden without boundaries.

    Garden into landscape….

    The garden has always been subject to two main influences—the outer influence from the landscape and the inner from...

    (pp. 167-174)

    The pages which follow are a pictorial sampling of modern work in the United States. Although it is impossible to give more than the barest glimpse, regional differences in plant and structural material will be noticeable and help to lend a variety to the scenes they compose. It is too soon to discern any distinct stylistic innovations ; and it may be that in a country so vast they will never exert the influence that, say, Le Corbusier has had on American building. The author’s own work has been done in the Eastern States and he has included examples from...

    (pp. 175-178)
    Joseph Hudnut

    Since men, from the beginning of recorded history, and no doubt long before, have striven to reshape both shelter and the environment of shelter in accordance with a spiritual need—since these have always been, not the consequences of biological necessity merely, but also at all times materials for expression—I see no reason to suppose that modern man will not desire to build, not only his house, but equally his garden in accordance with his inward promptings. I must confess that I am somewhat surprised to be told again and again that an impulse so old and universal will...

    (pp. 179-180)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 181-186)