Using a broad definition of what has become known as the landscape garden, we will explore the design of 'hard' elements like bridges, temples, arches, grottoes and follies within the wider context of architecture over the centuries. Beginning with the Neolithic period, we progress through the classical world of Greece and Rome into the Renaissance, examining different approaches to and meanings of buildings and monuments designed to be viewed within a landscape or historical garden. The formal geometry of Baroque gardens surrounding palaces like Versailles, for example, will be contrasted with the so-called ‘English garden’, where the intent was to create an illusion of perfected nature.
Students will be encouraged to consider the aesthetic impact of architectural elements within gardens as a whole, whether an enclosed, urban garden or a far-ranging landscape, and we will look at the challenges involved in preserving and interpreting historic gardens and landscapes. There will be discussion of gardens in Oxford.