Seeing the bigger picture: Atlas of World Landscape Architecture

Europeans are well informed about open space design and garden art on their own continent thanks to a large number of media. But what are landscape architects in Korea, Africa or South America up to? Authors Markus Sebastian Braun and Chris van Uffelen researched this very topic for their ‘Atlas of World Landscape Architecture’. They compiled around 320 projects from all five continents and added excellent illustrations of plans and images as well as brief English texts. The result is a book of 512 pages in A4 oversize format, hardcover including slipcase, all together a weighty four kilos. The volume is colour coded into three world regions: Europe/Africa yellow, Asia/Australia green, the Americas violet, and each region listed in alphabetical order according to names of countries.

Public open spaces dominate with some ‘political’ projects such as the memorial for the victims of 11 September in New York and the landscape around the European Championships stadium in Donetsk, Ukraine, which now lies inside a war zone. As one would expect, the book also features the Olympic Park in London, Berlin’s Gleisdreieck and the Gardens by the Bay in Singapore. Most of the examples are from the USA, Australia and Canada contribute many impressive art projects, and the exotic planting concepts in Central and South America are striking. While landscape architecture has become more global in the 21st century, designs tend to have become more uniform, whereas plants, after all the core of the profession, continue to create worldwide diversity. The authors have selected projects that ‘create ecologically and socially intact habitats for people’.

The compendium is a survey of the current, a reference book and a source of inspiration. Its size and weight make it a little ‘awkward’ and the index (countries, projects) limits search options. Notwithstanding this, the book is already a classic that belongs in every landscape office.

Markus Sebastian Braun, Chris van Uffelen
Atlas of World Landscape Architecture
512 pages, English, 2000 pictures
hardcover in box, 24 x 33 cm
BRAUN Publishing AG, Salenstein (CH)
ISBN 978-3-03768-166-4
€ 78,00 | CHF 95,00
website: www.braun-publishing.ch

Markus Sebastian Braun & Chris van Uffelen: Atlas of World Landscape Architecture, Braun Publishing
Atlas of World Landscape Architecture (Picture: Thomas Herrgen, The Frankfurt Book Fair 2016)