Longing for a landscape lost

Research output: Non-textual formWeb publication/siteScientific


In the contemporary metropolis, the landscape – once the ‘empty’ counterweight of the city – is gradually being incorporated in a field of fragments, an unstable, dynamic environment in which the elements of the city re-array themselves into an unbounded urbanised territory. With the previous ‘outside’ now absorbed in the realm of urbanity and the landscape being ousted, the longing for landscape becomes a collective urgency as a natural reaction to that which is disappearing. There is a need for new outside spaces, for temporary escapes ; public gardens can provide for this need. Public gardens are spaces outside the network of movement and main urban structures, places of refuge, at a distance from the public domain, ‘marginal spaces’, cutting across theories and practices of contemporary urbanism involving the social and ecological functionality of ‘green spaces’ and ‘natural’ leisure resorts. Their threshold and enclosure allow them to be representations of landscape and nature as catalysts of contemplation, memory and melancholy, expressing a longing for being connected to nature, to be part of something larger than oneself. In their reference to landscape, examples such as the Brion Cemetery Garden (Carlo Scarpa & Pietro Porcinai 1969-78, IT), the garden of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Dominique Perrault & Erik Jacobsen 1988-96, F) and the Observatorium Nieuw-Terbregge (Observatorium 2001, NL) have the agency to evoke memories and feelings of a past that no longer exists, a landscape filled with associations, ghosts, relics of that which is no longer there, as well as of an unknown future.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversité Caen, Normandie
EditionHistoire culturelle de l'Europe
Media of outputOnline
Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2019


  • landscape
  • public gardens
  • melancholy
  • Ruins
  • Brion
  • Bibliothèque nationale de France
  • observatorium


Dive into the research topics of 'Longing for a landscape lost'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this