A joint LI-Garden Museum conference on 7 June will aim to answer the question: are we living in a heroic age of landscape design?

Symposium set to break down boundaries

‘Breaking boundaries: the heroic ages of landscape architecture’ will explore how visionary landscape design can break boundaries between indoors and outdoors, between public and private space – and between the traditional design professions. It will also ask whether the next decade will see a radical change in the balance of the design professions, in which landscape architects lead the transformation of our houses, cities and public spaces.

In the morning, historians will present inspiring examples from the heroic decades of 20th-century design. Jan Woudstra (Reader in Landscape History and Theory, University of Sheffield) will explore the educational aspirations of the Institute of Landscape Architects from its foundation in 1929.

David Jacques, co-author with Jan of Landscape Modernism Renounced: The Career of Christopher Tunnard 1910 – 79 (Routledge, 2009), will show how the designer progressed from creating innovative Modernist private gardens to an influential vision for the modern metropolis.

Barbara Simms, editor of Eric Lyons & Span (RIBA Publishing, 2006) and a Trustee of the Museum, will discuss ‘Community and Common Space: the inspiration for Span’; the design movement continues to be an exemplar of the integration of indoors and outdoors life.

The afternoon sees three of Britain’s leading landscape architects share their experiences, and their ideas of the future.

In ‘Powered by landscape – landscapes at the cutting edge of sustainable construction’, Peter Wilder of Macfarlane Wilder will present several new projects in which the need for sustainability has become an opportunity for the practice to assume leadership of a multi-disciplinary team.

Neil Porter will discuss new life-scale landscape design projects of Gustafson Porter developed in collaboration with a diverse team from different cultural and professional backgrounds which are particularly concerned with the restoration of existing landscapes and with educating people about the importance of creating sustainable environments for the future.

Finally, Kim Wilkie will present the competition-winning design for the Chelsea Barracks site. This will be the first public view of a mould-breaking collaboration with the architect Michael Squire. Wilkie will argue that all professions should unite to face the challenges of environmental design, and to persuade politicians and planners to share a holistic vision of environmental design.

The day will end with a debate between the audience and the speakers, exploring visions of the future of landscape design.

The symposium will be introduced by Alastair MacCapra, Chief Executive of the Landscape Institute, and the debates chaired by Tim Richardson, whose recent books include Martha Schwartz, Avant Gardeners and Great Gardens of America.

The cost will be £70 (£50 for members of the LI and Friends of the Museum). There will be a limited number of student places available at £25.00. All prices include coffee, tea, and lunch by the Museum’s popular restaurant.

To book a place, click here.

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