The Ordering Logic of Private Gardens

During a recent visit to the University of Virginia, I was reminded of the beautiful logic of the gardens behind the Pavilions on Thomas Jefferson’s Lawn.  Despite the fact that the gardens and Pavilions have always been University property, each Pavilion (on the Lawn) and Hotel (on the parallel row of Ranges) has its own dedicated “private” garden.  The result is a larger logic that half of the Pavilion gardens are only half a module deep because the other half of the garden zone is dedicated to the Hotel pavilion behind.  The alleys and small courts that are left over between the gardens are dedicated to service access.

Image005

This clear division of open space into clearly public (The Lawn), private (the gardens), and service domains is a particularly Anglo-American idea of the landscape that is also evident in the reconstruction of the original Plymouth colony at kitschy but fascinating Plimoth Plantation south of Boston.

Image006

Here, like Jefferson’s Lawn, most of the open space is privatized by garden fences, that despite their primitiveness, serve the same territorial and spatial function as Jefferson’s more elegant serpentine walls.  The palisades at Plymouth are roughly the same height as both the garden walls at the University Virginia and the stockade fences that separate the back yards of my own block in South Boston.

-Tim  

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s