Gardens as Ideas Creating Form

Anne Whiston Spirn, Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Landscape Architecture and Planning, is exploring the interplay between the intangible - ideas and feelings - and the manifestation of physical form in her new multimedia website, Marnas: A Journey through Space, Time, and Ideas. Marnas is a garden in Sweden designed by Sven-Ingvar Andersson, a landscape architect who designed Amsterdam’s Museumplein and Vienna’s Karlsplatz.

In a MIT News story detailing the new multimedia website, Michael Blanding writes, '“Gardens aren’t just about plants, they are about ideas,” says Spirn, whose own writing often explores the interplay of form, feeling, and meaning in landscape. “The question is how you bring together a form that supports the meaning and evokes the feelings that bring home the ideas most forcefully.”' 

Visitors to the website virtually traverse the physical form of the garden and journey through time. This temporal magic is a product of committed and sustained engagement with the space, beginning with Spirn’s photographic documentation of the site in 1961.

Beyond engaging landscape architects and designers, Spirn hopes the project will reach a broad audience with diverse interests. The central core informing Marnas is a multimedia experience that allows visitors to transcend time and space – providing a visceral experience of Andersson and Spirn’s ideas transported into the physical and digital worlds.

Click here to read Blanding’s complete coverage of Marnas: A Journey through Space, Time, and Ideas.

Image credit: Anne Whiston Spirn via MIT News