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Kienast Vogt: Aussenraume Open Spaces

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By Erika Kienast-Luder et al. Birkhauser, 2000. 264pp. £35. (Available from Triangle bookshop 020 7631 1381)

The Swiss landscape architect Dieter Kienast, only in his early fifties when he died in 1998, was a prolific but immensely thoughtful designer who collaborated with his country's most notable architects, among them Herzog & de Meuron, Diener and Diener, and Gigon Guyer. This companion to Birkhauser's earlier volume on Kienast's gardens (AJ 13.11.97) presents his work on public open spaces and follows the same format: a large helping of Christian Vogt's muted duotone photographs interspersed with brief project descriptions and Kienast's own impeccable drawings. A cool, precise sensibility pervades the work, but Kienast's impulse to order and pare away is seldom over-dominant, for natural elements are invariably incorporated, bringing their vagaries of growth and form and their textural diversity. Indeed, the book is an investigation of just how 'nature' can contribute to the contemporary city, without recourse to ecological cliche.

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