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Changes in Scenery: Contemporary Landscape Architecture in Europe

Changes in Scenery: Contemporary Landscape Architecture in Europe
Thies Schröder
Publication Date: 

cloth, 183 p., $42

Finally, a book that solves my gift-giving dilemma for my mother! As both a cutting-edge artist and gardener, she has standards in taste, plants and philosophy that make finding an acceptable landscape book like hunting for morels. After receiving this one, she gushed profusely. I knew she'd engage with the author's contention that "It is precisely because nature and art are starting to dissolve within each other that landscape remains." But I didn't imagine how much I'd value these riveting points of view.

Although most projects portrayed here are public sites, their complicated issues and original solutions offer rich fodder for contemplation. In its presentation of more than a dozen prominent European landscape architects, this volume serves up some tantalizing images and provocative questions. Christopher Girot's introduction challenges us right from the start by claiming, "We live in very narcissistic times and need to remember that our present concern for landscape, as our love of nature, refer first and foremost to the survival of our very own species."

Perhaps because Europeans have lived through conditions Americans have not experienced on our soil (a formidable garden history, several world wars, fewer natural resources), they have been forced to contend with landscape issues that are not yet quite as immediate for us. However, in the growing global community, a book that takes such a fascinating look at regional landscape identity should appeal to a lot more people than just my kin. And even if you believe garden books are meant to be seen but not heard, the design, layout and illustrations will delight your senses.

— Julie Siegel, Contributing Writer, Landscape Designer and Master Gardener, Chicago Botanic Garden