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The Enclosed Garden

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By Rob Aben and Saskia de Wit. 010 Publishers, 1999. 256pp. £17.50. (Available from Triangle bookshop 020 7631 1381)

The long subtitle of this book, 'History and Development of the Hortus Conclusus and its Reintroduction into the Present-Day Urban Landscape', reflects its scope but does not convey that this is as much a practical design tool as a work of historical research. With an emphasis on analytical drawings rather than photographs, Rob Aben and Saskia de Wit examine a range of enclosed gardens, from the medieval and monastic, via Aalto's Saynatsalo Town Hall (right), to such 'current transformations'as the garden of the Jewish Museum Berlin and Scarpa's Brion Tomb. For the authors - and their argument is convincing - such enclosures are a necessity (spatially, psychologically) in contemporary urban design.

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