We accept the idea of beauty and recognize our extraordinary need for it. We are not satisfied to create things that fulfill their function. They must also be beautiful, sometimes only beautiful.
Gardens of the most diversified kinds are often created with only this view, to be beautiful. But nevertheless the idea of gardening as an art is completely foreign or puzzling to many people.
(C. Th. Sørensen, 1963)
There is a number of landscape architects and gardeners that have inspired me through the years, and somehow they have being “virtual mentors” to me. Some due to their projects, other due their ideas or their outreach work. C. Th. Sørensen was a great discovery, and with no doubt a fascinating landscape architect. With him I start a series of entries dedicated to masters of the landscape.
Carl Theodor Sørensen (1893-1979) one of the greatest landscape architects of the 20th century was also a leader of the early modernists in landscape architecture.
His work was a fusion between art, function and tradition (due to his deep knowledge in garden history). However, it is the way in which he transformed the agricultural landscapes into an architectonic work of art what became his most profound contributions to modern garden art.
If the design is strong, the design might survive and transform. Thus there can be something lasting in the changing landscape. This is the essence of beauty in a cultural landscape.
(C. Th. Sørensen, 1963)
His works’ rigid forms (circles, squares, ovals, spirals and free forms) were of a great flexibility and functionality, keeping humans always at the centre stage of his projects.
Sørensen insisted that gardens are an art form, however he never neglected the importance of its social functions: To be publicly available and usable art.
An example of garden art in its pure form is the Musical Garden, conceived in 1945, and finally executed in 1956, in the industrial-cultural complex at Angli IV, Herning (Denmark), where Sørensen applied his knowledge in formal studies, to create this sculpture garden which still stands today.
Feature Image: Published at landscapetheory1.wordpress.com
1. See Anne Whiston Spirn, «Introduction» C.Th. Sørensen: Havekunstner, by Sven-Ingvar Andersson and Steen Høyer. (Copenhagen: Arkitektens Forlag, 1993)
2. See Marc Treib, The Architecture of Landscape 1940-1960 (Penn Univeristy of Pennsylvanis Press Philadelphia, 2002)
3. Peter Bosselmann, Landscape Architecture as Art: C. Th. Sørensen. A Humanist (Landscape Journal, 1998)
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