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Radical Landscapes

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Radical Landscapes: Reinventing Outdoor Space By Jane Amidon. Thames & Hudson, 2001. 192pp. £29.95

Given the quality of many schemes that it includes, and the author's background - she is a Harvard landscape graduate who worked in Dan Kiley's office for five years before establishing her own practice - this ought to be a satisfying book. Sadly, it is the opposite. Its dubious structure doesn't help, coercing the various projects into one of seven separate sections with titles such as Order and Objects, New Contexts, and Urban Ingredients. This can't but seem rather arbitrary. The dearth of plans is another drawback. But the real problem is the design - fussy, mannered and hyperactive. Text is skewed into trapeziums and overlain with abstracted linear representations of featured schemes - a real irritant if you want to read what's written. Worse, the visual treatment is frequently overloaded, with too many images (often abutted) crammed together, and seldom any sense of repose. Pictured above is one work that emerges reasonably unscathed - the atrium and lobby at Washington State Convention and Trade Center, Seattle, by Danadjieva & Keonig Associates,1992.

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