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The Modern Landscapes of Ted Smyth

Product Details

Table of Contents

Preface, 1. The Base Line, 2. The Garden File, 3. The Question of Modernism, 4. Plantspace, 5. Nonlinear Modernism, 6. Urban Genealogies

About the Author

Rod Barnett is Chair of the Master of Landscape Architecture at Washington University in St Louis, USA. His research is in landscape emergence and nonlinear landscapes. He has written on historical themes developed from his work in nonlinear design, and has a particular interest in modern gardens. Jacqueline Margetts is a Senior Lecturer in the Sam Fox School of Architecture, Design and Visual Arts at Washington University in St Louis, USA, teaching design studio and the history of landscape architecture. She researches Pacific landscapes and the role plants play in the design of garden space.


This book is an account of Smyth's work that is simultaneously expansive and intimate, providing a theoretical and historical overview grounded in the materiality and mannerisms of a uniquely modern practitioner of the art of landscape architecture. As a badly needed representative of landscape architectural practice in the Southern Hemisphere, this book has a heavy burden to bear. It does so ably. Far more than a monograph of an interesting and understudied practitioner, it provides a grounded discourse on the twinned processes of coloniality and modernity from the epistemological and geographical margins. Brian Davis, Assistant Professor, Cornell Department of Landscape Architecture This excellent, deeply researched, and well-illustrated account of the career and work of New Zealand regional modern garden designer Ted Smyth (1937- ) is a significant contribution to scholarship in landscape design history. The authors, whose work as landscape architects was shaped by the years that they worked for Smyth, properly place him as a major landscape innovator in both New Zealand and internationally. Smyth's work began in the early 1960s in Auckland, and drew on pre-existing regional spatial, horticultural and conceptual frameworks, outside the design approaches established by modernism and the West Coast American landscape work of Garrett Eckbo and others, forging a unique modernism born of the Pacific. Barnett and Margetts use Smyth's concept of "plant spatiality" to explore Smyth's modernist design work in New Zealand and in the Asia-Pacific, and also consider the difficulties of recent civic place-making, contributing to current debates on place in a postcolonial world. Eric Mumford, Rebecca and John Voyles Professor of Architecture, Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, Washington University in St. Louis

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