1st Edition

Landscape Design in Color History, Theory, and Practice 1750 to Today

By Mira Engler Copyright 2023
    232 Pages 189 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    232 Pages 189 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Architects, landscape architects and urban designers experiment with color and lighting effects in their daily professional practice. Over the past decade, there has been a reinvigorated discussion on color within architectural and cultural studies. Yet, scholarly enquiry within landscape architecture has been minimal despite its important role in landscape design.

    This book posits that though color and lighting effects appear natural, fleeting, and difficult to comprehend, the sensory palette of built landscapes and gardens has been carefully constructed to shape our experience and evoke meaning and place character. Landscape Design in Color: History, Theory, and Practice 1750 to Today is an inquiry into the themes, theories, and debates on color and its impact on practice in Western landscape architecture over the past three centuries.

    Divided into three key periods, each chapter in the book looks at the use of color in the written and built work of key prominent designers. The book investigates thematic juxtapositions such as: natural and artificial; color and line; design and draftsmanship; sensation and concept; imitation and translation; deception and display; and decoration and structure, and how these have appeared, faded, disappeared, and reappeared throughout the ages. Richly designed and illustrated in full color throughout, including color palettes, this book is a must-have resource for students, scholars, and design professionals in landscape architecture and its allied disciplines.

    Part I: Pre-Modernism  1. Structural Color: Uniform Verdure, Humphry Repton (1752–1818)  2. Artificial Color: Bright and Complementary, J. C. Loudon (1783–1843)  3. Color as Impression: Graduated Harmony, William Robinson (1838–1935) and Gertrude Jekyll (1843–1932)  Part II: Modernism  4. Material and Phenomenal Color: Simultaneous Contrast, Gabriel Guevrekian (1900–70)  5. Spatial Color: A-Chrome, Garrett Eckbo (1910–2000)  6. Symphony of Color: Tropical Saturation, Roberto Burle Marx (1909–94)  Part III: Postmodernism, Onward  7. Conceptual Color: Purely Synthetic, Martha Schwartz (b. 1950)  8. Affective Light Color: Translucence, Petra Blaisse (b. 1955)  9. Color Now: Gender, Skin, and Screen  Postscript: Color Prospects


    Mira Engler studied landscape architecture and architecture. She is an Emerita Professor of Landscape Architecture at Iowa State University. Her first book Designing America’s Waste Landscapes explores societal and professional attitudes toward waste and the design of dumps and sewage grounds. Her second book Cut and Paste Urban: Landscape: The Work of Gordon Cullen explores image making in landscape and urban design in the postwar consumer culture era through the drawings and writing of Gordon Cullen. She currently studies immersive landscapes and virtual media culture.

    "Mira Engler takes a hearty bite into a space within design that is very rarely discussed: COLOR. Color generates the same disquietude as the topic of beauty, as it’s assumed to be too qualitative within the design profession. Beauty or color are not considered an acceptable form of "vision," but rather irrational, dispensable, and irrelevant in addressing important landscape and environmental issues. Color is even more threatening to clients, especially white men of European descent, who feel it could erode their appearance of being responsible and trustworthy. Women, who are viewed as more frivolous and less responsible, have some latitude with color. But not much. The lack of color discourse underscores how deeply cultural and personal the topic can be. And although most designers shun color and most clients make immediate unfavorable judgements about it, none has the power to ignore it. Reacting to color is in our DNA. The book is a wonderful read. It shares many stories about the impact and glory of color in landscape design, and it shows how color is a strong medium of communication and a chief signifier within world’s cultures. I suggest you read this book and let your freak flag fly!"

    Martha Schwartz, Martha Schwartz Partners, Professor in Practice of Landscape Architecture, Harvard University Graduate School of Design

    "Mira Engler’s marvelous book empowers us to understand and shape the world through color. Color is at landscape architecture’s heart affecting perceptions of depth, space, and identity, yet color’s agency is rarely discussed or even acknowledged. Providing a much-needed chromatic overview of landscape history, theory, and practice, Engler’s book bravely tackles a considerable void in landscape knowledge and makes the convincing case for color in landscape architecture and design. This colorful book is a joy to read."

    Gareth Doherty, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture, Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Author of Paradoxes of Green: Landscapes of a City-State

    "In Landscape Design in Color, Mira Engler offers us new vistas, taking in the designed environment as well as the cultures they reflect. She breathes new life into old concepts central to art and design disciplines, such as disegno vs. colore, while her discussions of contemporary artists and designers provide points of connection to audiences well outside her field. Engaging with enduring theoretical debates as well as more current treatments of race and gender, this is interdisciplinarity at its most exciting and relevant."

    Aaron Fine, Professor of Art, Truman State University. Author of Color Theory: A Critical Introduction