Summer 2017
History and Theory of Landscapes

The course deals with the phenomenon landscape and, most importantly, with the forces behind the visual appearance of individual landscapes. What exactly is “landscape”? How do landscapes evolve? What are the reasons why cultural landscapes exhibit certain characteristics – or in other words – why do they look like they look? Which are the natural conditions they are based on? Which economic, social and political circumstances and developments have shaped them? These and other questions will be raised to call attention to the processes governing the formation and transformation of cultural landscapes. The aspect of intentionality is particularly interesting: On the one hand landscapes evolve as "by-products" of the cultivation and/or exploitation of territories for the necessities of human existence, on the other hand they are purposefully designed as artworks and media.

The focus of the course is a cultural history of European landscapes (including digressions into the history and theory of extra-European landscapes). The lecture provides both a general overview and a foundation for further specialized studies in the field. It presents clips of history analysing significant examples of landscapes from different periods.

In this way, various approaches and attitudes towards the environment (as space and raw material for the creation of living spaces) shall be identified. We will look at the coherences between socio-economic, political and technical developments and the transformation of landscapes, and discuss the coherences between scientific achievements, landscape/garden art and the other arts of the respective ages. Special attention is given to the transformation of living spaces through building and the relationship between architecture and landscape.

Dates and Details at Base Angewandte

Image: Karin Raith