Almaden Gardens

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Site Analysis

The Design

Phase 1 - Getting Started

Phase 2 - Becoming A Park

Phase 3 - A Nicer Park

Phase 4 - Finishing Touches

Phase 5 - Icing On The Cake

Design Memo

(Not included in Catalogue)







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For the Almaden Gardens Plan as PDF, click here.

Sequencing the implementation of the park design, with priority given to making the entire space usable, is a good idea that I fully support. This does not mean that the upper area is the only part of the park in need of design. The park should be treated as a whole design problem with a whole solution to be implemented in phases. One of the implications of this approach is that the upper area of the park should fit stylistically with the lower portion. Straight lines, circular forms, hedges, intricate lampposts, gazebos, and rose gardens are all elements found in formal and semi-formal garden design. To abandon this precedent now would be to turn our backs on the original designer's intent. A somewhat formal approach also fits with the style of the rather large and imposing character of the surrounding homes. Good design considers the larger landscape in which the park will be featured.

In our mission statement for this project we state that our design will reflect "the needs of the neighborhood, the historic character of the winery, and the spirit of Thomas Church." I don't think that any of these bases for design should take a back seat to any other. It might be a good idea, at this point in our design process, to revisit some of the earlier gardens and ideas of Thomas Church:

Church adopted a theory...which recognized three sources of form. The first consisted of human needs and the specific personal requirements and characteristics of the client (user). The second comprised the technology of materials, construction, and plants, including maintenance and a whole range of form determinants derived from the site conditions and quality. The third was a concern for the spatial expression, which would go beyond the mere satisfaction of requirements and into the realms of fine art.

Church developed an aesthetic theory based on cubism. A garden should have no beginning and no end and it should be pleasing when seen from any angle, not only from the house. Asymmetrical lines were used to create greater apparent dimensions. Simplicity of form, line and shape were regarded as more restful to look at and easier to maintain. Form, shape, and pattern in the gardens were provided by pavings, walls, and espaliered or trained plants (Laurie 56).

The people of the Almaden Winery neighborhood, the
beauty of form and plant material existing on the site, and the lead taken by Thomas Church should be our inspiration in the final weeks of this design project.


Work Cited:

Laurie, Michael, An Introduction to Landscape Architecture,New York: Elsevier,1986.

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