Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Thomas D. Church - Landscape Architect

Here's a personal favourite of mine... Thomas D. Church

Back in university I was asked to do a design project that modeled after a well-known Landscape Architect's design style. Thomas Church was the one I chose for the project and I can tell you at that point I had no idea who he was... but for some reason I had picked his name to study.

(Photo Example: Church's influence in my design, as you walk up the stairs, your view of the garden changes many times before getting to the door.)

Since that moment, a whole world of design perspective opened up to me once I researched him. Thomas Church has continued to be one of the most influential designers for all my work. Church pioneered the use of gardens for people to interact in and not just something to view from inside the house. His design ideas took the homeowner outside the home and into the yard where they felt as if they were moving from one room to the next. The outdoors became an extension of a person's home... another spot to live in.

It is said that Thomas Church caused a whole society to change it's views of how the landscape worked. He gave full meaning to the term 'Landscape Architecture' as he pushed to combine the Architecture of the home with the landscape. Today there is a huge push to design outdoor kitchens and eating areas... patios and decks that act like living rooms to entertain in... pool areas to lounge around in and enjoy the gardens nearby.

Thomas Church strongly believed that the gardens were for people that used them and as a designer, listening to what your client wanted was the most important thing a designer could do! When the designer stops listening and starts to push their own ideas for the use of a space, the design will ultimately fail...

Most of his design photos and theories can be found in a wonderful book he wrote "Gardens Are for People".

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