James Rose

Dean Cardasis

University of Georgia Press in association with LALH

Paperback $26.95
ISBN: 978-0-8203-5095-0

To order: University of Georgia Press
tel. 1-800-848-6224

A volume in the Masters of Modern Landscape Design series


Winner, J.B. Jackson Book Prize from the Foundation for Landscape Studies

James Rose, the first biography of this important landscape architect, examines the work of one of the most radical figures in the history of mid-century modernist American landscape design. An artist who explored his profession with words and built works, Rose fearlessly critiqued the developing patterns of land use he witnessed during a period of rapid suburban development. The alternatives he offered in his designs for hundreds of gardens were based on innovative and iconoclastic environmental and philosophic principles, some of which have become mainstream today.

A classmate of Garrett Eckbo and Dan Kiley at Harvard, Rose was expelled in 1937 for refusing to design landscapes in the Beaux-Arts method. In 1940, the year before he received his first commission, Rose also published the last of his influential articles for Architectural Record, a series of essays written with Eckbo and Kiley that would become a manifesto for developing a modernist landscape architecture. Over the next four decades, Rose articulated his philosophy in four major books: Creative Gardens (1958), Gardens Make Me Laugh (1965), Modern American Gardens (1967), and The Heav­enly Environment (1987). His writings foreshadowed many principles since embraced by the profession, including the concept of sustainability and the wisdom of accommodating growth and change.

James Rose includes new scholarship on many important works, including the Dickenson Garden in Pasadena and the Averett House in Columbus, Georgia, as well as unpublished correspondence. In letters to his mother, Rose reveals a tenderness toward nature and faith in spiritual harmony that belies his reputation as an alienated social critic. Throughout his career Rose refined his conservation ethic, seeing recycled materials and waste reduction as opportunities to create landscapes for contemplation, self-discovery, and pleasure. At a time when issues of economy and environmentalism are even more pressing, Rose’s writings and projects are both relevant and revelatory.

DEAN CARDASIS, FASLA, is professor of landscape architecture at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and director of the James Rose Center for Landscape Architectural Research and Design in Ridgewood, New Jersey.

“As director of the James Rose Center for Landscape Architectural Research and Design—a nonprofit located at Rose’s Ridgewood, New Jersey, home—the book’s author, Dean Cardasis, FASLA, is well-placed to untangle the competing forces of Rose’s career.”
—Landscape Architecture