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  Books - Landscape

Combines poetry and pragmatism to teach the language of landscape and thereby to avoid making profound aesthetic and environmental mistakes in landscape design.

Language of Landscape by Anne Whiston Spirn Language of Landscape
by Anne Whiston Spirn

Paperback - 320 pages (May 1, 2000)
Yale Univ Pr
ISBN: 0300082940
Dimensions (in inches): 0.72 x 8.88 x 5.65
"The language of landscape," writes ecologist Anne Whiston Spirn, "is our native language." She elaborates: humans lived in natural landscapes well before they knew how to build houses; knew how to read the movements of clouds and birds well before they developed grammars and symbols. Anyone with a keen sensibility can recover that language, she suggests: "A person literate in landscape sees significance where an illiterate person notes nothing. Past and future fires, floods, landslides, welcome or warning are visible to those who can read them in tree and slope, boundary and gate." Spirn goes on to discuss human interactions with the landscape, taking as cases in point such matters as the dolmens of prehistoric Europe, environmentally friendly houses in Denmark and Australia, fountains in Paris, and tree-lined city streets in Philadelphia. Along the way she cites scholars, architects, and artists, learning lessons in how to read place and built form from the likes of Christopher Alexander, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Rachel Carson. She closes with an appeal to landscape architects, builders, and designers to study the natural details of place more closely before they set about changing it: "In landscapes ... the key is to establish a framework that provides overall structure--a structure not arbitrary but congruent with the deep context of a place, to define a vocabulary of forms that expresses the natural and cultural processes of the place." --Gregory McNamee.

Book Description
This eloquent and powerful book combines poetry and pragmatism to teach the language of landscape and thereby to avoid making profound aesthetic and environmental mistakes in landscape design. Using examples that range across thousands of years and five continents, Anne Spirn examines urban, rural, and natural landscapes and calls for change in the way we shape and respond to them.

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Language of Landscape
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