Architecture has been defined as everything from "frozen music" to the "art of beautiful building." Whatever it may be, it must be useful as well as beautiful in order to fulfil its purpose satisfactorily. The rooms must be large enough to satisfy the requirements of practicability, and their arrangement must not interfere with their use. The outside of the building should express the inside, or the design will not be straightforward. It must be attractive in order to give pleasure to those who use it and those who see it. To that end every part of it, inside and outside, must be arranged to the best advantage. Stripping all sentiment from the definition, it may be said that architecture is a study of composition in plan and elevation, practicability being an indispensable minimum requirement.
The plan of a building, which is the primary consideration, is influenced directly by the kind and number of rooms required; and in the exterior expression of the arrangement of these essential units the elevation must not only express the plan, but must harmonize with its natural surroundings.
If at this point the architect will consult an experienced landscape-designer, he will find his advice of great assistance. It is important that the landscape man's attitude should influence the placing of windows, since the outlook from a house should command all interesting and beautiful features, and omit all others as far as possible. The landscape-designer, from the very nature of his work, is sure to feel more strongly than the architect the importance of exposure and outlook. It is this which makes his advice on fenestration invaluable, and the character of the elevation will to a certain extent be made or marred by the placing of the windows. The appearance of the windows from without, which will affect the harmonization of the house with the landscape by which it is surrounded, is of equal importance with their outlook from within the house. This harmonization is often further to be achieved and perfected by the grading and planting required to make the landscape agree to some extent with the house, and this the landscape-man himself should do. As far as possible, the architecture should appear to be an integral part of the landscape. In other words, it must be "in character."
In landscape design, as in architecture, the plan is the primary consideration, and no progress can be made until it has been decided upon. It is influenced directly by the kind of problem and the particular requirements of the problem. To be successful, the elevation must express the plan, and must of course harmonize with the important natural features of the landscape. The result, whether formal or not, must appear to be spontaneous.
The main factor in the development of the design at this point will be the character of the lines which dominate the landscape. If the country is rolling and sparsely settled, as in most middle Western States, it is probable that a building with informal lines, asymmetrical and of a rambling type, will seem most in keeping with the surroundings, and because of the absence of natural plant growth in the landscape, all planting features, in order to harmonize, must be used in connection with the building. If decorative planting is scattered, it will destroy unity of interest by breaking up the dominant features of the landscape, and the charm of the rolling country, as contrasted with the planting in the immediate vicinity of the house, will be minimized, with a distinct loss of beauty.
A, natural landscape of an entirely different type is brought out to advantage by many of the chateaux of Prance and the castles of the Rhine, where the precipitous lines of the crags on which they stand are repeated in the graceful upshoot of the turrets and the steep and jagged pitch of the roofs.
In city building, of course, there enters a formal element which has not been taken into consideration in the foregoing examples. Here at once occurs the differentiation of the two types of landscape architecture, the formal and the informal.
In the city, lines are sure to be straight, rectangular, and artificial. There is a primness and an unnaturalness in the constructive lines of city planning which it is necessary for landscape-architects to consider and to repeat in their designs. A certain stiffness in the arrangement of the planting, which would be entirely out of place in a country residence, is only to be expected here.
Figure 1. POMPEIAN GARDEN AS AN OUTDOOR ROOM.
City planting, necessarily highly formalized, may consist chiefly in the arrangement of the trees and shrubs in a regular way or in the selection of formal types of plants. In suburban planting, where the location partakes both of the nature of the city and the country, more naturalistic types of planting may be introduced to advantage.
So much should the house appear to be an integral part of the landscape, and so thoroughly should the elevation express the plan, that if it is found that the elevation does not harmonize with its natural surroundings, it is certain either that it does not express the plan or that the plan should be reworked.
Architectural accessories, such as gates, steps, balustrades, walls, and pergolas, are often used as enriching features in landscape-design, and as such are frequently employed in a decorative rather than in a constructive way. Where judiciously introduced, they add dignity to the design.