Landscape architectural theory as a basis for critique

Toorn, M. von den, 2004, Landscape architectural theory as a basis for critique, in: ECLAS (Jørgensen, K. & G. Fry), ‘A critical light on landscape architecture’, ,

  • Author : Toorn, M. von den
  • Year : 2004
  • Published in Book : A critical light on landscape architecture
  • Abstract in English : This paper starts out with defining the term ”critique” or ”criticism”. For the design disciplines we distinguish between three different types of critique. We focus on the third one; critique in relation to theory and its role in theory development. But what is a ”theory in landscape architecture”? On the basis of an overview of publications on theory in landscape architecture we have distinguished four different types of theory in design disciplines. We make a distinction between ”design theory” and ”architectural theory”. The goal of a design theory is practical action, instrumental. The main goal of a landscape architectural theory is scientific knowledge. In this paper we focus on ”landscape architectural theory” and its relation to critique. A landscape architectural theory provides a framework for knowledge at an abstract level of the discipline. It defines also the relation between landscape architecture and other disciplines and its role in society. In our view a landscape architectural theory consists of four basic components that form a coherent whole: object, methodology, viewpoints and definitions. We consider a landscape architectural theory as a knowledge system where critique is necessary for the development of such a theory. This dynamic aspect is very crucial, hence the search for interactivity of the knowledge system. The type of critique that is related to a landscape architectural theory refers to the role of landscape architecture in society, to values. The present issue of durability and sustainability is a good example of such values. Critique can help in defining and redefining viewpoints that are part of such a theory.