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The Landscape of Man by Geoffrey and
Susan Jellicoe

Review by Pranoti Chavan

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The book “The landscape of man” by Geoffrey and Susan
Jellicoe is a great book for architects, landscape architects and urban
planners. The authors, through the book, make a profound point that if a landscape
has to be “landscape of man”, it needs to be intentionally designed or shaped
for that specific time frame. Now, this shape or design will be decided or
derived from the past and the impact it has left behind. The authors are trying
to showcase these impacts on the architecture and landscape architecture of the
relevant times.

The book has been structurally divided into two main parts.
Part one studies the timeline from pre-historic times to the end of seventeenth
century and the second part studies from the eighteenth century to the
twentieth century. Each of these parts is further sub-divided into specific
time zones and settlements that happened within that time frame.  The authors present examples from different
time zones of different settlements and how the history of that culture affected
its architecture and landscape architecture. The book uses illustrations for
each work which makes it easier to relate.

An interesting point to be noted is how in Part two, Geoffrey
and Susan have sensibly added another parameter of analysis. Initially, in part
one, the analysis follows the parameters of Environment, Social history,
Philosophy, Expression, Architecture and Landscape architecture. In the second
part however, the book also considers the Economy as an additional parameter.
This tells us how minutely the authors have studied each Era and hence realized
how vital Economy too was as a factor in the development of Landscape
architecture and architecture post the 17th century.

One fascinating observation I made from the book is that
about the Pyramids at Gizeh. I had always perceived the pyramids to be located
in the centre of the desert. But the aerial shot of the same showed that they
are actually by the river. For such kind of a compilation of overview, it is
difficult to write a review per se. Even the illustrations are brief. Overall,
the book works as a good introduction to parallel histories of gardens and
landscape architecture.

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