Garden and Climate: Old World Techniques for Landscape Design

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9780070271036: Garden and Climate: Old World Techniques for Landscape Design

'If the world is to make great gardens again, we must both discover and apply in the changed circumstances of modern life the principles that guided the garden-makers in the Renaissance, and must be ready to learn all that science can teach us concerning the laws of artistic presentment.' - Sir Robert Sitwell, On the "Making of Gardens", 1909, quoted by the author in his "Introduction".Air conditioned villas in ancient Rome...windproofed, solar-heated stone seats for toasty-winter horizon-gazing in the Italian Renaissance...Peter the Cruel's self-heating outdoor walkway...cooling summertime chairs fashioned from earth, grass, and flowers, attended by butterflies and breezes, from classical gardens on Mediterranean islands. These are but a few of the wonderful historical finds Rome prize-winning landscape architect/artist Chip Sullivan uses to launch modern methods for modifying the climate in your own garden.For "Garden and Climate" brings you not only a beautifully illustrated tour of many of the greatest gardens of the past - from Babylon to Majorca - but also expert instructions for bringing elements from these immortal landscapes to your own backyard - for microclimate creation, temperature and humidity control no matter what the season, energy savings, and beauty, and yes, to serve the time-honored function of soothing your spirit and restoring your soul. Not only the gardens of the Renaissance, but the gardens of ancient Greece and Rome yield up their secrets in this stunning tribute to the practical - as well as aesthetic and spiritual - virtues of landscape.Divided into sections on "Earth," "Fire," "Air," and "Water" - the four elements that traditionally explain the nature of reality - "Garden and Climate" shows you how great architects and designers of the past turned these elements to the creation of microclimates. With each ancient invention, you'll find suggestions, examples, and adaptations that work in modern gardens. You'll discover the importance and uses of fountains, allees, orientation to the sun, earthen seats, grottoes, sunken gardens, subterranean rooms, underground passages, outdoor paintings, boscoes, "hot seats," and more, from famous gardens such as those for the Capponi and the Medici. You'll discover how to create delightfully breeze-cooled bowers that invite escape from the August sun, and warm and cozy winter nooks that tempt you outside in January.Sullivan neglects no dimension of landscape. He takes you into the cool, fragrant - and sacred - gardens of ancient Persia, where meaning saturates beauty and pathways symbolize the acquisition of knowledge on the quest for wisdom. You'll also accompany Sullivan to the recessed, comtemplative garden at the Villa Medici, where serenity was inspiration and invitation to an important literary circle of Italian Renaissance. You'll share Sullivan's perceptions as he pursues his quarry through the avenues of time, drawing original sketches from observation and redrawing ancient plans.As you travel from storied garden to immortal woods, you'll see how designers of old used the elements of nature to create and modify the climate, soothe the spirit, delight the eye, and serve that timeless objective of all garden designers - the encouragement of desire and love. More than merely an enticing, beautifully illustrated tour of the greatest gardens of all time (with keen attention to features used to create microclimates and practical suggestions for adapting the wonders of old to the needs of the new), "Garden and Climate" synthesizes all the virtues of gardens - metaphysical journey, the benefits of passive design, and the idea of garden as art - into one inspiring whole, interweaving proportion, function, and comfort. You cannot read this book without wishing you were in a garden. And, if you are the creator of one garden or many gardens, this book will be the source of a lifetime of inspiration.

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Review:

Written by Katherine Grace Endicott, East Bay gardener and author of "Northern California Gardening"

...Sullivan is a landscape architect and associate professor in the College of Environmental Design at UC Berkeley. He visited and documented ancient Roman gardens while a fellow at the American Academy in Rome. His book is packed with photographs and drawings to illustrate the astute manner in which designers used the garden to create microclimates for pleasant outdoor living all year. He includes drawings for modern adaptations.

In December, finding the garden unbearably cold, we retreat indoors. But ancient garden designs took the winter cold into account. One useful device was the "hot seat." Typically made of thick stones, a hot seat faced the winter sun and captured its heat in the stone. The high seatback (Sullivan suggests a minimum of 4 feet) deflected the wind.

Similarly, a winter garden path was designed in ancient times alongside south-facing walls (Sullivan suggests 8-foot-tall walls along a northern edge) so that the heat reflected off the wall warned the strollers. A walk after dinner was considered essential to promote health and digestion. ...Naturally, ancient garden designers also had ingenious devices for cooling the garden in summer, and half of Sullivan's book is devoted to these remarkable designs.

For anyone interested in garden design or garden history, Sullivan's book is a unique resource and pleasure. (San Francisco Chronicle. 2005-06-27)

The Potting Shed Bookshelf These new books will inspire any budding gardener to get planting Any home gardener knows how important climate is to the success of planting. The small distance of just a few feet can mean the difference between life and death for plants, with their specific needs for light, water and wind conditions. Learn ancient secrets of dealing with the elements with this practical guide to historic solutions for common garden problems. (Farmer’s Almanac, Gardening Ideas 2004-02-01)

Excerpts from An Interview with Chip Sullivan, author of Garden and Climate by Deborah Rich

When Chip Sullivan and I spoke in mid-August, residents throughout the Midwest, the East Coast, and parts of Canada were sweltering in the dark, struggling to turn the power and water back on after the Black Out of 2003. The very morning of our conversation, the papers announced that overnight bombings in Iraq had taken out major fuel and water lines. Against this backdrop, our discussion of Sullivan's book, Garden and Climate (McGraw-Hill 2002)-- a study of the lessons early Mediterranean gardens offer on designing gardens to "passively" moderate, especially to cool, our immediate surroundings -- bore particular import.

In pursuit of how to design cooling elements into our home environments, our "micro-climates" as he terms them, Sullivan studied the gardens of the Persian and Roman empires and Renaissance Italy and Spain. Today, Sullivan combines study with practice as a landscape architect, artist and professor in the College of Environmental design at the University of California, Berkeley.

In Gardens and Climate, Sullivan categorizes landscape technologies according to the four elements -- earth, fire, air, and water. during our discussion, we focused upon the rarest, and therefore the most precious, most celebrated, and most judiciously used of these elements in the Mediterranean world, water. ...

Interviewer: What final message would you like to leave us with?

Chip Sullivan: We've got to get off the energy grid and return to the grid of the orchard. We need to recycle, capture and conserve every drop of water. Energy conservation begins at home at the residential scale. Water features can be designed and built to conserve energy and contribute to more comfortable and beautiful garden and climate. (Aquascape Lifestyles 2004-01-07)

Reviewed by Hala F. Nassar

Chip Sullivan's book Garden and Climate is a refreshing analytical visit to historic gardens that successfully addressed issues of climate control. Garden and Climate is the outcome of Sullivan's research journey to explore "the connection between landscape design and energy conservation" ... and was initially motivated by the energy crisis of the seventies.

... The book's readability and tone makes it suitable as a reference for both students and future researchers. Sullivan's excellent analytical sketches are a real strength. He examines garden features in section and plan and supplements with a perspective or photograph.

... Mark Treib's foreword and the author's introduction effectively prepare the reader for the writing that follows. ... The book is classically organized in separate books around the four elements -- earth, fire, air, and water -- a system of four elemental bodies devised by the Greek philosopher Empedocles to explain the nature of reality. Following a similar format, each book begins with a quotation about the book's element, followed by a discussion that connects the element to the introductory thesis.

... Garden and Climate makes an excellent contribution and is a highly needed addition to the body of literature in landscape architecture. ... The author has valuable insight to share about lessons learned from history, and possesses a creative talent in expressing this knowledge in both written and graphical forms. (Landscape Journal 2004-01-01)

Excerpts from Judith Taylor's Library Notes

...He has written a wonderful book. Hard-earned ancient wisdom about modulating climate naturally is in danger of being forgotten, as the modern world increases its dependence on artificial air conditioning and heating systems....Sullivan is not only a knowledgeable landscape architect and historian in his field but a very gifted artist. (San Francisco Garden Club 2003-05-01)

Written by Katherine Greenberg, garden designer, Lafayette, California

Sullivan explains the importance of grottos, courtyards, sunlit terraces, pergolas, pavilions, irrigation methods, and water features, using historic examples to arrive at contemporary applications. Cool fountains and shady arbors are pleasant places to linger on hot summer days, and warm benches and protected courtyards provide comfort and shelter from cold winter weather. Sullivan accompanies his descriptions with plans, sketches, and photographs to illustrate how the features look and function within the design of the garden.

Making the connection between climate and garden design is the author's most important contribution. Much of the research for the book as done while Sullivan was a Fellow at the American Academy in Rome.

...Readers will share his excitement about creating gardens that "not only conserve energy, but are also works of art and places of spiritual renewal." Sullivan's vision for the future includes the development of attractive garden communities that contribute to the creation of a more sustainable environment and to the enjoyment of outdoor living. (Pacific Horticulture 2003-04-01)

By Linda Coyner

Utilizing ancient global examples and enriched with full colour photos and watercolours, "Garden and Climate" reveals how gardens conserve the environment and bring comfort and pleasure.

The author examines elements such as grottos, terraces, courtyards, water devices, tunnels, walks, natural shade, air flow, trapping heat, light, and much more to bridge the gap between ancient wisdom and the current needs of a society facing a need for sustainable climate control.

Valuable to both landscape professionals as well as amateur gardeners, this title is a treasure for aficionados of landscape history or anyone who is fascinated by the environmental ingenuity of the ancients. (www.SeniorWomen.com 2003-02-18)

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Holiday picks by Anne Raver

"Garden and Climate" by Chip Sullivan reaches back to the ancient gardens of Persia and the Italian Renaissance to explain how gardeners provided early air-conditioning with their grottoes and outdoor rooms of densely planted tress. To guard against the chill of winter, they planted cypress tress to block the north wind and built walkways along south-facing terraces.

With an eye to finite resources like water and oil, Mr. Sullivan, a landscape architect and artist based at the College of Environmental Design at the University of California at Berkeley, suggests designs -- illustrated with his delightful sketches -- for contemporary gardens that conserve energy and water. (The New York Times 2002-12-19)

Reviewed by Marlea Graham

...."Drawing on design traditions of Roman, Islamic, Italian Renaissance and Hispano-Moorish gardens, this book discusses a wide range of ingenious methods and structures that naturally create comfortable microclimates -- and explains how best to incorporate them into contemporary gardens." ... what attracted us to this book was the antique illustrations used to demonstrate some of these methods. (Eden 2002-12-01)

By C. M. Howett, emerita, University of Georgia

It would be unfortunate if the title of this book restricted its audience to readers interested in garden design, since its thesis is that historic gardens offer contemporary designers -- architects and engineers as much as landscape architects -- useful prototypes for achieving substantial modification of climate without dependence on resource-consumptive technologies. Sullivan, a landscape architect (Univ. of California, at Berkeley), began his study of simpler, passive strategies to ameliorate harsh environmental conditions while a Rome Prize Fellow of the American Academy; most of his examples are drawn from classical and Renaissance Mediterranean cultures and the Islamic traditions of Moorish Spain, Persia, and India...the organization of the contents under the four ancient cosmological elements of earth, air fire, and water frees Sullivan to explore the symbolic and metaphysical attributes with which these historic landscapes were imbued. Under the category of earth, for example grottoes functioning as cool retreats were, just as importantly, rich in psychological and mythic associations. Sullivan's drawings and proposals for four imagined sites illustrating how practical application of such principles and models might be achieved are similarly poetic and persuasive. All levels.

( Choice 2002-11-01)

Reviewed by Joan Woodward, ASLA

I write in a southwest-facing room of a rented 1950s tract house, ringed by lawn, in southern California, in late summer. I arise early because later it is too sweltering to read and write comfortably without air conditioning. This typical house/garden configuration, particularly in a Mediterranean climate, is precisely what Chip Sullivan's Garden and Climate seeks to counteract. He proposes splendid alternatives, based upon his considerable experience immersed in Italian, Persian, and Moorish passive gardens and deciphering their lessons. As expected, Sullivan's previous publication, Drawing the Landscape, the examples are sumptuously illustrated and bring inspiration and energy to the reader, much as the profiled gardens brought comfort and pleasure to their inhabitants.

Sullivan's Garden and Climate is a feast for eyes and imagination. The book aspires to spark the resurgence of climate-conscious design based on inventions of ancestral garden designers. Sullivan does what many have threatened to do: He pores over the written, illustrated, and built records of palace and villa gardens from Italy to Persia, organizing and categorizing their strategies, in this case, for moderating climate extremities through passive garden devices. He sifts these recurring devices into four books: earth, fire, air, and water, citing Plato and Empedocles as inspiring this structure. As Marc Treib indicates in the foreword, the structure is artificial, as any constructive theory is, but useful, providing a good teaching and learning device. Each book explains unifying purposes behind the devices and then categorizes them into six to seven "postulates." For example, fire's devices provide warmth in cool months and include postulates such as sunlit terraces, limonaias, and secret gardens. Each postulate is described, diagnosed for usefulness in moderating climate, and supported by dozens of richly illustrated examples from gardens of the past. Instructions and prototypes for potential contemporary applications follow, ranging from an artist community in Taos to new housing near the Everglades.

This is a fine book for a spectrum of designers, from beginning to veteran; it explains, supports, inspires, reminds, cajoles. Sullivan's strengths are particularly evident in the water book, where he reveals unusual irrigation devices appropriate for today's parched urban centers. "Water jokes" must be among his favorite postulates, illustrated with a sly eye toward fountains that spurt from unexpected orifices, at times soaking viewers relently until "a sense of humor is mandatory." Water is cited as the central, unifying element in ancient Islamic gardens, leading readers to wonder: Is there an implicit, prioritized order in using and fusing these postulates? Aside from simply applying design devices, what comprehensive climate design methods can be passed down from ancestral designers to today?

Although Sullivan's bold design interpretations aptly demonstrate each book's principles, designs appear uniform in their commodious scale and lack of troublesome adjacencies and budgets. Sullivan refers to his extensive private practice work, which employs his prototypes; anchoring these dreamlike examples with built, client-based work would help convince readers that measurable climatic transformation is possible when employing recommended principles in realistic situations today.

Overall, Gardens and Climate is a remarkable blend of history, art, and energy-conscious design inspiration. Sullivan is to be lauded for bringing together research, writing, design, and illustration talents into one useful book. New gardens inspired by this compact distillation of reverberating climatic design lessons certainly will be notable for their delight, wonder, and relief. (Landscape Architecture 2002-11-01)

Garden and Climate turns out not to be the commentary on how global warming has affected our historic gardens that the title might indicate, but rather an exploration of how garden designers in the past reacted to heat and wind so as to counteract their adverse affects and use their benefits.

... The author, who is a practicing landscape architect as well as an academic, suggests that our control of indoor climate has led us to lose appreciation of real weather outside, and that modern designers simply do not bother to think about features such as shade, that were once highly valued.

... This interesting book genuinely looks at historic gardens from a fresh viewpoint... (Historic Gardens Review 2002-10-01)

About the Author:

CHIP SULLIVAN is a landscape architect, artist, and associate professor in the College of Environmental Design at the University of California, Berkeley. His work has been widely exhibited, and he has written extensively for professional landscape architecture publications. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees in landscape architecture, and urban design and regional planning, from the University of Florida, and for 10 years, he worked with Sasaki Associates in Miami. In 1984-1985, he was the recipient of a prestigious Rome Prize Fellowship. His book Drawing the Landscape, published by Van Nostrand Reinhold, is now in its second edition.

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