From reading the landscape to “writing” a garden: using the text metaphor as a working design tool

Alon-Mozes, T., 2004, From reading the landscape to “writing” a garden: using the text metaphor as a working design tool, in: ECLAS (Jørgensen, K. & G. Fry), ‘A critical light on landscape architecture’, ,

  • Author : Alon-Mozes, T.
  • Year : 2004
  • Published in Book : A critical light on landscape architecture
  • Abstract in English : Reading landscapes as text or narrative became a valuable mode of interpretation for natural and man-made environments by A. Spirn (1998) and Potteiger & J. Purinton (1998) who based their work on the theoretical framework phrased by Barthes, Ricoeur, Geertz and others. But do these critical tools be applied to the design studio? This paper examines the use of the narrative approach and its literary tool-kit as a source of inspiration as well as a model for design. It applies concepts such as text/narrative, story-world, context, figure of speech and others to a second-year landscape architecture studio. The studio consists of three phases which included a design of a small place according to a given text (a poem or a prose), examining the theoretical framework of the concept and relevant precedents, and finally writing/designing a story/garden. Each of the phases raised different questions and problems such as the role of the designer as a re-writer of the text. Whose poem prose is the place? Is there a difference between writing poetry on the land and writing prose? And what is the relationship between words and stones? In writing their own stories, “telling-stories” students developed an interesting dialogue with the existing layers of already “written” site. While some erased these layers, others used them as the basis for their design: re-interpreting, re-questioning, re-writing the place. In summary, the narrative approach and its tool kit proves a creative tool for students whose design mode is based on “story-telling”. Furthermore, it is hinted that this approach is valuable for practitioners as well.