By Laurie Olin
"Twenty-eight years in the past I went to England for a three-month stopover at and relaxation. What i discovered replaced my life."
So starts off this memoir by means of certainly one of America's best-known panorama architects, Laurie Olin. Raised in a frontier city in Alaska, knowledgeable in Seattle and long island, Olin came upon himself disappointed together with his task as an city architect and authorised a call for participation to England to take a respite from paintings. What he stumbled on, in abundance, used to be the serendipity of a human setting outfitted over the years to answer the land's personal personality and to the folk who lived and labored there. For Olin, the English nation-state used to be a palimpsest of the main eloquent and relocating variety, but whose manifestation used to be of standard structures intended to guard their population and additional their work.
With evocative language and delightful line drawings, the writer takes us again to his advent to the scenes of English state cities, their historical universities, meandering waterways, and dramatic cloudscapes racing in from the Atlantic. He limns the geologic histories discovered in the rock, the near-forgotten histories of place-names, and the new histories of educate strains and vehicle routes. evaluating the expansion of creating within the English nation-state, Olin attracts a few sobering conclusions approximately our glossy way of life and its expanding separation from the landscape.
As a lot a plea for saving the fashionable American panorama because it is a passionate exploration of what makes the English panorama so normally English, Across the Open Field is "an affectionate ramble via genuine areas of lasting worth."
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Extra resources for Across the open field : essays drawn from English landscapes
I find this statement as foolish and irritating now as I did then. There are serious problems with the notions of style as they have been sloppily applied to landscape and garden design. Fortunately, since the time I made the drawings in this book, a generation of new scholarship and thinking has been applied to the topic, extending our knowledge of the breadth and depth of garden design and its history around the world, more of the per- 18 AS THE TWIG IS BENT sonalities, and the economic, artistic, and social contexts of its production.
In one paper after another delivered by postwar urbanophobes, we were told that the city center would wither away in a manner similar to that which the Marxists dreamed for the demise of the state. New communications, transportation, and computers would ass11;re the success of this bright new era. One government agency after another allowed money to flow out of the cities in efforts to hasten the day. As people moved out to the sunlight, fresh air, new schools, and the services that made them comfortable, somehow the countryside receded before them.
The answer to one question raised others. The more I saw, the more I needed to read. Although the literature and history of architecture are extensive, that of the history of the landscape seemed at first to be quite small. Later I realized that the history of everything else was really the history of the landscape. Everything related. The literature that told the story of the landscape was unending. My early suspicion that the invention of the eighteenth-century landscape garden was neither so simple nor so homespun as the more popular texts of the day asserted was eventually to prove true, as scholars have shown in the nearly thirty years following my initial visit to England as they dug deeper into records and events of the period.
Across the open field : essays drawn from English landscapes by Laurie Olin