Christine wonders if I am anti-architect and I thought, after a little introspection, that a public reply would be worthwhile. I would like this blog to be an interface between architecture, landscape architecture, garden design and planning – and regret it if I come over as more anti-architect than anti- the other environmental professions. I have worked with architects all my professional life, though more as a teacher than a designer, and have often found them to be more creative and more technical than many other built environment professionals. But I regard the twentieth century as a bad period in the history of urban and landscape planning – and part of the blame lies at the feet of the professions. Another, larger, part is an unwanted consequence of professional specialization. But perhaps the largest part is the fragmentary arrangements for commissioning work. River control structures, for example, are commissioned by specialized river authorities with no mandade to spend money on anything except riverworks. They might even be called up before the auditors if they ‘wasted’ money on architectural or landscape objectives. But when an abomination has been created, it is simplest and blame the designers and they do not lack culpability.
The phogograph of La Leche River in Peru is described by Gavaton as a ‘now-channelized-for-agriculture river’. He is very right, except perhaps in continuing to call it a ‘river’ – unless he would argue that a dead dog is still a dog.