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Architects and Gardens: Unity, Function, Simplicity and Scale

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Gardens created by architects provide the focus for this course.

The house is always central to an architect’s vision. However, the garden and landscape setting in which the house is located will always extend that vision!

Urban gardens, vertical gardens, rooftops, urban walkways and even bridges will all be considered, along with architectural visions of the broader park and country landscapes.

With an initial focus on gardens from the Americas and Europe, we will then venture further afield to Asia, where our journey will take us to consideration of groundbreaking gardens in Japan, Singapore and even China.

Learning and teaching

The module will be taught through ten two-hour sessions online, incorporating lectures, seminars and workshops.

These sessions will consist of a one-hour lecture followed by class discussion and group work on specific topics relating to the module.

The discussion and group work will enable students to think critically and to contribute to the debates and topics presented during the lectures.

The discussion-led sessions and the lectures will be supplemented by resources available to students via Learning Central.

Syllabus content:

  • Gardens created by architects in a range of settings:
    • Urban gardens
    • Vertical gardens
    • Rooftops
    • Urban walkways
    • Bridges
  • Gardens created by architects in the Americas, Europe, and Asia

Coursework and assessment

To award credits we need to have evidence of the knowledge and skills you have gained or improved.

Some of this has to be in a form that can be shown to external examiners so that we can be absolutely sure that standards are met across all courses and subjects. The most important element of assessment is that it should enhance your learning.

Our methods are designed to increase your confidence and we try very hard to devise ways of assessing you that are enjoyable and suitable for adults with busy lives.

Reading suggestions

  • Susannah Charlton and Elain Harwood (eds), 100 20th-Century Gardens and Landscapes (London: Batsford, 2020)
  • Julia Crawford, Mien Ruys: The Mother of Modernist Gardens (London: Lund Humphries, 2023)
  • Elain Harwood, Mid-Century Britain: Modern Architecture 1938–1963 (London: Batsford, 2021)
  • Charles Jencks, The Garden of Cosmic Speculation (London: Frances Lincoln, 2005)
  • Toby Musgrave, The Gardener's Garden: Inspiration Across Continents and Centuries (London: Phaidon Press, 2023)
  • Stephen Parker, England's Gardens: A Modern History (London: Dorling Kindersley, 2023)
  • Gavin Stamp, Interwar: British Architecture 1919-39 (London: Profile Books, 2024)

Library and computing facilities

As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University’s library and computing facilities. Find out more about using these facilities.


Our aim is access for all. We aim to provide a confidential advice and support service for any student with a long term medical condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. We are able to offer one-to-one advice about disability, pre-enrolment visits, liaison with tutors and co-ordinating lecturers, material in alternative formats, arrangements for accessible courses, assessment arrangements, loan equipment and dyslexia screening.