Friday, January 29, 2010

Moroccan courtyards and gardens

Last night I attended a lecture and book-signing at the Horticultural Society of New York by Achva Benzinberg Stein, Director of the Landscape Architecture Program at City College of New York, focused on her 2007 book, Morocco: Courtyards and Gardens (The Monicelli Press). Both the lecture and book, through the analysis of Moroccan courtyards and gardens, provide compelling insights into how public spaces are organized and created as response to physical/environmental, cultural/historical, and practical/social dimensions. The Moroccan example also demonstrates how functional and beautiful public spaces can be created, in resource sustainable ways, in a variety of challenging climates and environments. Finally, Benzinberg Stein helps us see, and rethink, the design of public spaces and "gardens" that are more hardscape than planting (for very practical, but aesthetically rewarding, reasons).