Thomas Church and the Art of Personal Gardens

Thomas Church and the Art of Personal Gardens - Thomas...

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Unformatted text preview: Thomas Church and the Philosophy of Personal Gardens Benjamin Boyd November 2007 Thomas Church and the Philosophy of Personal Gardens Benjamin Boyd Ask any student of the “modern” ideology of design what the main principle of their work is and you will most undoubtedly be met with the most mechanic of responses - “form follows function.” Little do they know that behind that little idiom is a vibrant history of social and methodological changes that has shaped how we view the living environment today. In the field of landscape architecture, particularly, the last century has been wrought with a revolution that’s shifted the focus from the decorative to the practical, the boundless elaboration to simplicity, and from single-mindedness to a fusion of rationality. 2 Many have played their part in creating what we call “modern,” but it is the pioneers that really put themselves out on limb, listening to what was in their hearts and minds and going against the flow. Thomas Church, the father of the “California Style,” is one such innovator and embodies the character and personal philosophy that was required to affect the landscape industry as deeply and compassionately as he did. Church is a California native and began most of his studying in the beautiful hills of the southern region. He began his career taking classes at the University of California at Berkeley. There he received his BA in Landscape Architecture after making the abrupt change from law studies because of a survey course he took, a notoriously easy, fluffer class. After obtaining his masters degree from Harvard, Church took a trip to Europe that would forever change his view on his profession. 5 In Finland he met esteemed artist and architect Alvar Aalto. He became enamored with the concepts that Aalto employed in making his glassware and landscapes. As his wife would later put it, “ Tommy was also fascinated by [Aalto’s] setting, his site planning . . . it was so perfect in connection with the proposed buildings and also with the environment.” 5 Many believe that this and the rest of Church’s trip to Europe were the defining factors on his personal philosophy. He was so enthusiastic when he returned to the states that others couldn’t help but share in his passion. Soon thereafter, Church started what is probably the most creative portion of his career. 6 It also helped that he had started his own office a few years before his trip, allowing for the utmost freedom in design. It is here, really, that the “Church ideology” began to take its full shape and become the basis for the rest of the garden design on the west coast. During this period, he designed more than 2000 private gardens in California alone....
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This note was uploaded on 04/20/2008 for the course LAA 2710 taught by Professor Gurucharri during the Spring '08 term at University of Florida.

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Thomas Church and the Art of Personal Gardens - Thomas...

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