The Swiss Touch in Landscape Design
Sept 21, 2012 - October 3, 2012
Lecture and exhibit sponsored by the Swiss Embassy and
Pro Helvetia - Swiss Cultural Endowment for the Arts
Landscape architecture continually transforms the environment and the way we approach it. This modern discipline, which began around 1800, quickly evolved throughout the twentieth-century. It is now undergoing an even more spectacular rise as it takes a prominent place within society and becomes established as an important concern. Landscape architecture is now focused on the development of public spaces, in urban and peri-urban projects. It concerns the management of green spaces within the city and the creation of parks and gardens. It also deals with the integration of waste land and agricultural terrain into the landscape. During the twentieth century and beyond, Switzerland played an essential role in the evolution of landscape architecture. Leading projects by Swiss landscape architects can be found both in Switzerland and the rest of the world. Landscape architects play a central role among those professions which create present and future living spaces, and yet that role is still largely unknown to the general public.
The projects of Swiss landscape architects privilege formal beauty, but also place emphasis on ecological context. The need to respect both the spirit of a place and its history yields designs which combine, in equal measure, an extreme sense of rigour with elegance. The present exhibition hints at the richness, diversity and complexity of this fascinating field. The first section deals with theory and history and provides a conceptual framework for the exhibition. The visitor is invited to discover the influence of the history of gardens and the important role played by the pioneers of Swiss landscape architecture. The visitor will also see the crucial function of national exhibitions, including the more recent Lausanne Jardins, the successful international festival of urban garden design. The second section – the core of “the swiss touch in landscape architecture” –, provides a survey of the most significant landscape architecture studios. The last section, “nouvelle vague”, presents the works of a new generation of landscape architects.