LAR-38303 Landscape Aesthetics


Credits 3.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Individual Paper1
Excursion (one day)4
Independent study0
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. R van Etteger
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. R van Etteger
Examiner(s)dr. ir. R van Etteger

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

LAR-28806 Concepts and Approaches in Landscape Architecture, LAR-25806 Studio Site Design, LAR-28306 Studio Urban Design

Continuation courses:

LAR-80812 BSc Thesis Landscape Architecture


Students of landscape architecture working in design must make many choices in their designs. The evaluation of choices depends on functionality and sustainability of the design but also on aesthetic value. To be able to develop an informed aesthetic evaluation of their own work and that of others the student needs an theoretical framework. This framework needs to be tested and applied for a particular example. In this course the students will be taught about concepts of aesthetics as used in philosophical aesthetics with an emphasis on environmental aesthetics. The course supplies insight into the main discourse of philosophical aesthetics as strung between arts-based approaches and aesthetical theories focused on nature and everyday objects.
The course introduces the main theories of art (representational, expression, formal, aesthetic and institutional theories) and the core concepts of the beautiful, the picturesque and the sublime. These concepts will be applied to the specific situation of landscape architecture. As a design discipline between art and science landscape architecture combines characteristics of both and this ethical and aesthetical position is clarified within the course. The course provides a view on the embodied engagement with landscapes by people and on the affordances offered by landscape designs. It discusses the role of representation. The theoretical approach is provided to support the students in formulating theory-based evaluations of their own work in design and of that of the work of others. In the end the students will have to develop and write a critique of a given landscape architecture project.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- compare different conceptions of art and aesthetic value (beautiful, sublime and picturesque);
- identify characteristics of contemporary landscape architecture and relate them to aesthetic theories;
- deduce the ethical and aesthetical consequences of the position of design between science and art;
- assess the discourse of contemporary environmental aesthetics;
- distinguish different techniques to gather and represent data on the experience of landscapes;
- compose an informed critique by means of a written paper.


Lectures, literature study, excursion and Wageningen writing lab.


The achievement of the learning outcomes will be assessed in the interim paper (25%) and the written paper (75%).


Articles and book chapters will be distributed for reading.

Compulsory for: BLPLandscape Architecture and PlanningBScA: Spec. A - Landscape Architecture5MO