It’s true. A building is incomplete without landscaping. When building and landscape design are working together the effect is not only beautiful and functional, it is somehow comforting.
Landscaping plays an important role in that it prepares the visitor for what happens inside the building. The exceptions being government buildings and highly sensitive office buildings, with security stations at the entrance, and will hardly surprise visitors with a startling contraposition design.
Encountering a transparent, easily-interpreted landscape setting for a building, (the importance of an easily navigated parking lot cannot be overlooked); the stranger senses a welcome for first-time visitors.
The budget is often tight so that landscaping goes begging for enough funding to get the job done correctly. Calling for a careful balance between beauty and amenity, it is amenity that usually ends up on the cutting room floor.
Reconsider the sacrifice with the thought that simplicity very often opens the door to amenity and still accomplishes a purpose that recognizes the building design.
It happens occasionally. Through some quirk of happenstance, the inside of the building doesn’t reflect the outside. A renovation, perhaps under the owner’s guidance, takes a turn and somehow the interior simply marches to another tune. How does the landscaping design respond: with hints of the inside while still maintaining the exterior demeanor.
An old structure with an antique exterior that cannot be changed is being transformed into a suite of offices for a law firm. A complete interior demolition is required to make room for all the functions it needs to accommodate. The owner prefers clean space and modern furnishings. A modern-design planter that speaks to the inside of the building features a material that relates to the buildings exterior, thus satisfying both program elements.
All buildings will have a main entrance and landscaping that offers an interpretation indicating such qualities as prestige, congeniality or serious business that will characterize the building. You can see how this is accomplished here. Without revealing their purpose, or identifying them, the landscaping (or not) indicates the relationship between the building and the visitor immediately.
There can’t be enough said about lighting being an essential part of landscape design. Owners can see the advantages and designers can use it to emphasize the building’s main features, to tie the two designs together or as a stand-alone feature doing double duty as a retention pond on a rooftop.
Found objects can sometimes create an atmosphere that compliments a building without a direct design reference, but instead refers to the activities inside the building—again creating a sense of comfort for those approaching the building.
Day Care Center
As the design develops and so many ideas are running rampant across the sketch flimsy, thinking of the building as a datum has brought many a good design into being. Visitors to buildings may not consciously know how they’ve been prepared for the experience, but they can feel the difference when they haven’t.
Landscape design is truly essential to any building. If you disagree or you have some suggestions of your own, feel free to comment below.