The latest instalment of our new series of AR Reading Lists: seven carefully chosen pieces from our archive, free for registered users
The word garden finds it root in gher meaning ‘to grasp, enclose’. It’s use over time has come to refer to different forms of natural and unnatural landscapes: the portioning off of modest pieces of ground for the cultivation and enjoyment of private dwellings, public parks and commons, to entire swathes of city grasped to display the pomp and splendour of ruling powers, as in Versaille. All these forms speak of the manipulation of the earth for our aesthetic pleasure or cultivation.
With so much of the world taken up by cities and towns, a greater understanding of what used to lie beneath might help us imagine alternative futures. The appropriation of the once radical principles of the Garden City movement demonstrates how these alternative modes of being might not always take on their intended form. This week’s reading list offers an exploration of gardens and their experiential and political character.
Register for free to read today and receive the AR Reading List straight to your inbox. Stay safe, and happy reading!
- The pleasure gardens of India, AR November 1924, Sattar Kheiri
‘The most famous gardens, a number of which still exist, though in changed form or in ruins, were laid out during the dynasty founded by Babar, the prince of gardeners’
- Joseph Paxton’s National Garden, AR December 2015
‘In 1831 Joseph Paxton published The Horticultural Register, a monthly magazine embracing everything from natural history and landscaping to propagation and, of course, gardening’
- Guerrilla gardening in the city, AR March 2012, Alan Powers
‘The cultivation of nature may seem to belong to the Establishment and the upper class…but the idea that city and country can be separated as functioning ecologies, lifestyles or economies is long past’
- Garden of death and dreams: Brion Cemetery by Carlo Scarpa, AR September 1985, Peter Buchanan
‘The Brion cemetery is instead a garden folded around a corner of the cemetery of the village of S. Vito’
- Outrage: branding The King’s Garden in Stockholm is philistine, AR May 2016, Rasmus Wærn
‘The Apple box will not only seize the park, but also block its potential for a better future’
- Governor’s Garden, Chandigarh AR January 1987, Caroline Constant
‘The name Chandigarh (Hindi for ‘fortress of the war goddess’) and the word garden derive from the same Indo-European root gher, meaning a place set apart, walled off’
- Buffer zones and golf estates: do we really need more Garden Cities?, AR September 2014, Guy Trangoš
‘Despite historical garden suburbs having had limited success in realising Howard’s radical vision, many cities use the term ‘Garden City’ as a branding strategy to attract growth and investment by playing on its positive connotations’
Lead image: The Shalimar Gardens in Kashmir, laid out on the orders of Jahangir and Nur-Jahan
to join the conversation and help support independent critical architectural writing. Digital subscriptions are available and all our content is available online, anywhere in the world