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  • Writer's pictureJulian Raxworthy


In 2013 I finished my PhD (available for download) with the University of Queensland, supervised by Professor John Macarthur and Dr Naomi Stead. Parts of the


Processes of change in the landscape produce material outcomes, both organic and inorganic, that exhibit the quality of novelty, or specific newness. The idea of change is implicit for landscape architecture, because of its relationship to plants that grow. While recent interest in process in landscape architecture and architecture celebrates change (a body of thought the author labels “The Process Discourse”), such change however is often simulated rather than real. Correspondingly, this dissertation asks, “How can landscape architecture be practiced to allow it to manipulate its materials’ inherent capacity for change?”

Three built case studies that were designed and managed over time (The Bordeaux Botanic Garden, France by Catherine Mosbach, Sven-Ingvar Andersson’s Garden at Marnas, Sweden and Louis Le Roy’s Ecocathedral in the Netherlands) were visited over a 10-year period. Using on-site observations (and participant observation in the case of the Ecocathedral) the case studies are analyzed to determine the mechanisms used to encourage and direct novelty that emerges over time. These projects question, and in turn suggest, practices suited to working with change in the garden and the designed landscape.

Gardening can be considered a ‘real-time’ cultural means of engaging and manipulating growth in a dynamic, improvisatory relationship with natural processes. This dissertation argues that rather than looking to architectural models of representation, landscape architecture should look to (and reconcile with) gardening for models to produce novel design outcomes that gain qualities rather than lose them over time.

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