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Relating Architecture to Landscape

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Edited by Jan Birksted. E & FN Spon, 1999. 294pp. £29.99

The contents of this book largely derive from the two-day international conference, 'Rethinking the Architecture/ Landscape Relationship', that Jan Birksted organised at the University of East London in 1996 (AJ 18.4.96). A 'Modernist context' is also supplied by the reprinting of Peter Shepheard's introduction to his Modern Gardens (1953). There follow 14 illustrated essays, the majority of which are grouped according to the way in which they relate architecture to landscape: 'through elements and materials', 'geometry form and scale', and 'collaboration'. That this is a rather arbitrary and coercive structure is confirmed by the final section which Birksted simply calls 'contemporary case studies'.

The book is therefore best seen as a sometimes rich miscellany, especially worthwhile for Jacques Leenhardt on Roberto Burle Marx, Caroline Constant on Plecnik's landscape at Prague Castle, and Peter Blundell Jones on the collaboration between Hans Scharoun and Hermann Mattern.

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