European Landscape Architecture Best practice in detailing

 European Landscape Architecture
 Best practice in detailing
European Landscape Architecture Best practice in detailing

This is a book about landscape construction and the importance of good detailed design, but it is not a book of standard details, nor will it instruct you how to set about creating details of your own. It might, however, convince you that the consideration of detail is as important as an exciting concept or a striking site plan. It might show how a big idea can be worked through into every detail, and how details can come together in a powerfully convin-cing way. It might inspire you to think more carefully about detail, and to see the design of construction as integral to the creative process.
This book, like many a design project, has had a long gestation. It was first proposed in 2001, at a meeting hosted by the Royal Veterinary University, Copenhagen. Two of the editors, Torben Dam and Jens Balsby Neilsen, had issued an invitation to fellow academics with an interest in the teaching and understanding of construction. It was one of the participants, Ian Thompson, from the University of Newcastle in the United Kingdom, who suggested that a book would be a suitable vehicle in which to explore this theme.
From the outset, the idea was not to produce a text-book or a set of instructions for producing landscape details, but to examine the topic of detailing through the consideration of case studies which would shed light upon the design process. We were particularly interested in the way in which decisions were taken.
Why was one detail favoured over another? How did designers come to choose their materials?

At what point did the consideration of details become important – was it a concern from the outset, or did it only become significant later in the development of a design? Usually, when we look at a project or visit a site, we know very little about the constraints and conditions within which the designer had to work.

Another important topic was the relationship between aesthetics and the practicalities of use and maintenance. What sort of compromises might be necessary?
Designed landscapes are places to be used.
Can an artistic vision withstand the mundane realities of wear and tear?
We were interested in projects that could be taken to exemplify ‘best practice’, so we asked our contributors to select schemes which had already won awards or received positive reviews in the professional press. We did not ask them to select the most recent designs, but to find projects which had been in place for a few years. Our reasoning was that only after a period of use would any deficiencies in design, materials or construction become evident. Readers should not therefore be surprised to find projects in this book which they have read about elsewhere. Our aim was not to produce a glossy compendium of what was most recent; indeed we are more concerned with what might be enduring.

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