Spring 2014: Bryd Abstract

Natural and Culture Histories: Landscape Architecture as a Regenerative Practice or The Rights of Nature Amid the Particularities of People and Place
Warren T. Byrd Jr.

Professor Emeritus, School of Architecture, University of Virginia
Principal, Nelson Byrd Woltz, Landscape Architects

Using examples of our recent work in three distinct settings –one urban, one suburban, one rural –I will discuss the promise and challenge of designing useful, healthy and mindful landscapes in today’s many-layered contexts. In light of the symposium’s themes of modernity and sustainability, I intend to revisit the subject of the universal versus the particular in design, arguing for an inclusive approach to complex design problems, rather than a reductive ideal. We are all part of nature, and all subject to the vicissitudes of natural and societal forces. The question is: how do we fairly accommodate all of nature’s voices amid society’s needs in the manner in which we design our present and future habitats.

The three case studies (Citygarden in St. Louis, The Dell at the University of Virginia, and the Flight 93 National Memorial Park in Somerset County, Pennsylvania) will illustrate how careful consideration of a site’s past histories, coupled with its current conditions and future expectations, contribute to the making of revitalized meaningful places in our cities, towns and countrysides.

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