The Realm of the Landscape Architect:
Extending Architecture Outdoors
By Hosea Omole
The idea that good architecture should be finished with a nice landscape is evident to most developers. But the idea of landscape as part of architecture is yet to be explored. This is often because while a lot of thought goes into the planning of a building through the services of an architect, the same seldom applies to the landscape. The result is a landscape that conflicts in form and function with the building it is supposed to embrace and complement.
Does architecture stop where landscape begins, or does landscape stop where architecture begins? When the nexus between them is given the appropriate attention the answer is a clear “Neither.” The process of planning and designing the building and the landscape on which it stand should therefore be done side by side if the whole is to read and work as one. The character of the land gives cues to the architect. Then the landscape architect takes cues from the architecture to complete the circle and link architecture to land.
To achieve this, the landscape Architect pays attention to the vocabulary found in the architecture, beginning with “the big idea” and including its geometric principles, details, and materials within the landscape. He works to understand the activities inside the house and to extend these functions outside. When this is accomplished, movement from inside to outside becomes seamless.
Moving one step further out, earth shaping, planting and the addition of exterior architectural features enhance the connection between building and land. When the architectural language is blended with the natural attributes of the site, a harmony results that brings the components into a cohesive unity.
The Landscape Architect understands the physical and the psychological aspects of space. On the physical level he ensures suggestive continuity between house and garden by creating deliberate relationships between the house and various features on the site such as landscape structures, garden ornament, and plants used in an architectural way. On a psychological level the use of man-made elements interspersed with plants will establish a sense of comfort between the natural and man-made worlds.
By engaging a Landscape Architect, property developers can significantly improve the utility of their land by treating the landscape as part of the living space, complete with outdoor rooms and fixtures that complement the buildings’ form and function.