Thursday, 26 June 2014

Alistair Rowan, Garden Buildings

alistair rowan garden buildings
Rowan,Alistair. Garden buildings.
Watford: Country Life Books, 1968.
This small book came with the magazine Country Life and contains many drawings that originate from the precious collection of the Royal Institute of British Architects, today mostly digitalized on the website www.ribapix.com.
Being inspired by this extraordinary collection, the author sketches a particular history of the taste in gardening following the architectural elements inlaid in the landscape.
Throughout history people have enriched gardens with the inclusion of small or big buildings, but this custom became even more popular as the gardens themselves grew in size. The author says, and there's no reason to deny it, that garden architecture gave designers the chance to experiment with innovative new styles, so they became innovative, often serving as the first examples of architectural revolutions that would soon take place.
The reason could simply be that those buildings were mostly inexpensive and therefore easily amenable and malleable, but also easily removed.
Landscape gardens, like the paintings from which they draw their inspiration,
are constellated from small buildings. These structures were always different from one another and rarely served a functional purpose. 
Pavilions, ruins, and temples are often used to create a journey (both physical and spiritual) for the visitor: they create viewpoints, offer shelter or meditation places, and bring to mind exotic places sometimes related to the owner's life.
As history evolved, so did architectural tastes. People shifted their perspective on the purpose of buildings and decided that they too should serve a purpose beyond that of being aesthetically pleasing, claiming further that usefulness was a requirement for beauty.   

Many of these fabriques were destroyed, and the only remaining elements that were ushered into the nineteenth century were: bridges, small cottages for gardeners, and, naturally, conservatories. 

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