Vandals or visionaries? From Capability Brown to the Garden Bridge

How our perception of landscape design changes with time


How does our appreciation of landscape design change with time? From the contested landscapes of Capability Brown to the controversial Garden Bridge, there are many examples of large-scale projects that initially cause public outrage. So how does hindsight affect our perspective? And how might we manage opinion?

The impact of Capability Brown’s work will be discussed by Michael Forster-Smith, the General Manager of Croome Court NT and the surrounding parkland. Croome Court was an early Brown commission that ultimately lasted 30 years, and the importance of this project endures to this day.

LDA Design’s Chairman Andrew Harland will then talk about how time affects the public’s perception of large-scale projects, alluding to, among other projects, the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The Park’s transformation has set a new benchmark for future host cities, but in spite of its legacy, it attracted criticism during the early stages of its development. Andrew will discuss the challenges that designers face when working with little space to create something truly enduring and extraordinary.

After years of campaigning Roo Angell and Bob Bagley, co-founders and directors of Sayes Court Garden Community Interest Company (CIC), have successfully changed the scope of the forthcoming Convoys Wharf development which threatened to erase a 350-year-old horticultural legacy. We will hear about their negotiations with councils and how with the help of the National Trust, Eden Project and Harvard University, among others, they convinced the developers to preserve a large portion of the site as open space. 

Noel Farrer FLI, past president of the Landscape Institute and director of Farrer Huxley Associates, will discuss the controversy surrounding London’s Garden Bridge project.

An audience response and Q&A session, overseen by Kate Bailey CMLI, Chair of the LI’s Policy and Communications Committee,  will follow the talks.

This event will examine current and historical thinking on landscape practice, it accompanies the Landscape Institute Awards 2016 an exhibition, celebrating the very best landscape projects of the past year.

Registration from 5.30pm. Event starts at 6pm.

Ticket price £15+VAT. Student tickets £5+VAT.

Landscape Institute members £10+VAT