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Often one of the most unassuming elements in the landscape, paths are among the most powerful tools we have as designers. Whether flanked by trees, rock formations, or architectural elements, the framed views are constantly changing, and we are drawn through the landscape, experiencing it in a dynamic fashion. A path can perch above, or be carved into the surrounding landscape, dramatically changing our spatial perception. The texture and clash of materials beneath our feet further impact our experience of outdoor spaces, altering the cadence at which we traverse the landscape.

The projects above include the Water House by Li Xiaodong Atelier, Sohlbergplassen Viewpoint by Carl-Viggo Holmebakk, Wigert Summerhouse by Wenche Selmer, Trollstigen National Tourist Route Project by Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter, Residence in Corsica by Hubert de Malherbe, Stairs at Salemi Historic Center in Sicily by Alvaro Siza, and Swimming pools in Leca da Palmera in Portugal by Alvaro Siza

At Studio Serrette, we view architecture and landscape as extensions of each other, never as discreet elements. As we head into the holiday season, we'd like to celebrate some of our favorite things. Whether real or imagined, the work of these designers fully embraces the synergy between architecture and landscape, where neither dominates the other. Rather than acting as a refuge from the elements, these structures are enveloped and invaded by the natural world, creating meditative spaces for contemplation.

Projects by Olson Kundig, Niko Architect, Spectrum Architecture, W Architecture & Landscape Architecture LLC, and Alex Hogrefe

Growing up on the East Coast, nothing quite compares to the vibrant flush of fall color in a deciduous forest. The crunch of leaves beneath your feet, the brisk air, and the clear blue sky all herald the coming winter, and ultimately, the constantly changing landscape which cycles through dormancy and rebirth.


We'd like to highlight two gardens. The "Wheat Parterre," designed by the Spanish landscape designer, Fernando Caruncho, is an agrarian garden in Catalonia which celebrates the changing of seasons. Large fields of wheat are divided into neat parterres by a grid of lawn pathways lined with olive and cypress trees. As the seasons change, the wheat transitions from fields of green to fields of golden brown. When the wheat is harvested in the fall, bales of hay are placed sparingly in the empty parterres as sculptural elements.


The second garden known as the "Feather Garden," was created by Sylvie and Patrick Quibel. Located in Normandy, this garden was also laid out using a grid, with large swathes of wild, native vegetation divided by lawn pathways. This garden overlays the formality of a traditional French garden on a natural landscape, and constantly changes with the seasons.


As landscape architects, one of the most fascinating things about our profession is the transitory and dynamic nature of the plants we work with, and the way in which the elements impact, age and transform materials.


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