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The Garden of Cosmic Speculation [Hardcover]

Charles Jencks
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

18 Sep 2003
Telling the story of one of the most important gardens in Europe, created by the internationally celebrated architectural critic and designer Charles Jencks and his late wife, the landscape architect and author Maggie Keswick, this book looks at The Garden of Cosmic Speculation. It is a landscape that celebrates the new sciences of complexity and chaos theory and consists of a series of metaphors exploring the origins, the destiny and the substance of the Universe. The garden is full of ideas, associations, games and memories; Jencks weaves his personal account of the garden's creation into an investigation into the revelations of recent science, using landscape and design to shed light on the way we can now conceive of the Universe. This book is illustrated with year-round photography, bringing the garden's many dimensions vividly to life.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Frances Lincoln Publishers Ltd (18 Sep 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0711222169
  • ISBN-13: 978-0711222168
  • Product Dimensions: 30.4 x 26.2 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 665,642 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Charles Jencks divides his time between lecturing, writing, and designing in the USA, the UK, and Europe. He is the author of the best-selling The Language of Post-Modern Architecture(re-issued as The New Paradigm in Architecture, 2002). He has also written numerous other books on contemporary arts and building, including What is Post-Modernism? (fourth edition, 1995) and The Architecture of the Jumping Universe (second edition, 1997). His celebrated garden in Scotland is the subject of his book The Garden of Cosmic Speculation (Frances Lincoln, 2003) and in 2004 the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, won the Gulbenkian Prize for Museums for his design, Landform Ueda. Landform projects have also been completed in Europe, and his current concern is working with Cern on an iconographic and green project. He is the author of The Iconic Building, the Power of Enigma, (Frances Lincoln, 2005), Critical Modernism, (Wiley 2007), and The Architecture of Hope with Edwin Heathcote, on Maggie Centres (Published by Frances Lincoln 2010). The Story of Post-Modernism, Five Decades of Ironic, Iconic and Critical Architecture (Wiley, 2011) brings this resurgent tradition up to date while his recent landscape work is summarised in The Universe in the Landscape (Frances Lincoln, 2011).

Product Description


... a fascinating read, esoteric and enjoyable. It expounds the process involved in serious design - rare in garden books ... essential for anyone considering making a garden, or indeed any creative work (Christopher Bradley-Hole Gardens Illustrated)

As a brave and thoughtful experiment in the study of nature in all its aspects, both book and garden are well worth lingering over (New Scientist) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Charles Jencks is the author of several best-selling books on architecture. He divides his time between lecturing, writing and designing in the USA, in the UK and in Europe.

To visit Charles Jencks' website click here --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
When you design a garden, it raises basic questions. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is possibly one of the most interesting and visually stimulating I have ever had the enormous pleasure to read. I cannot express the true profoundness of the work of Charles Jencks.

The Garden of Cosmic Speculation tells the story of one of the most important gardens of the 21st century, it has been viewed as a unique response to the age old conflict between art and science.
Based in the borders area of Scotland, the Garden of Cosmic Speculation is a place to explore the fundamental aspects of the universe.
Created by the internationally celebrated architectural critic and designer Charles Jencks, he has explored some of the most profound questions that haunt us, through his shaping of his life-times work, The Garden of Cosmic Speculation.
He asks such questions as:
"What are atoms made of and how should we conceive of them? How does DNA make up a living organism and why is it essential to celebrate it in a garden?"

Charles Jencks has mastered visual metaphors, creating a truly unique way of thinking. He has taken it upon himself to challenge frequently misunderstood concepts such as the "Big Bang" and the "Selfish Gene"

This Garden is a celebration of the universe and nature, both intellectually and through the senses, this book guides you through his process of the design of the garden and presents a view of the universe quite different from the standard model
Visually stunning, and thought provoking, the combination of photographs of the garden and explanations into the science that inspired it does the garden justice. In fact, you come out more in awe of Charles Jencks and his brilliant mind than before, realising his vision to view the universe in a different way.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Garden of Cosmic Speculation 4 Jun 2009
An excellent publication,picture representation of the garden layout
is absolutely first class.Having visited the garden in May the book gives
an excellent account.Sadly the garden is only open for six hours on the
first Sunday in May each year.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing book for an amazing garden 4 Jan 2010
This is a very well written and presented book that explains the thinking behind this extraordinary garden. The good quality images provide excellent coverage of the many unique features of this garden and show many of Charles Jencks' original design drawings, a must read for any serious landscape designer or interested amateur. This book is second only to physically being in the garden itself, an unforgettable experience.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Garden of cosmic specualtion 8 Jan 2012
By pen
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
arrived promptly and in excellent condition. Was pleased to be able to track this book down and enjoy reading it after visiting the garden
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.4 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where Science Meets Art, Philosophy, and the Environment 18 Dec 2008
By Dr. Debra Jan Bibel - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having some knowledge and professional experience in the sciences, philosophy, and art, I looked forward to receiving this book. I was not disappointed. It is a sumptuous feast of design and thought. The marriage of art and science is hardly a new concept, even in gardens through the ages (Shlain's Art & Physics. Parallel visions in space, time, and light; Gamwell's Exploring the Invisible. Art, science, and the spiritual). Of interest is the garden itself and whether this book effectively presents the history, concepts, and appearance of the landscape. The garden covers an extensive plot of land, 30 acres, in Scotland. A distinguished bevy of scientists, philosophers, designers, artists, and craftsmen assisted architect Charles Jencks in successfully fulfilling his brave conceit of feting modern scientific principles at Portrack House. If mathematician and logician Lewis Carroll had lived in this century, his Alice might have explored this garden. But this is not some museum of science exhibit; it is steeped in the artistic interpretation of scientific structures and functions as well as their implications, all in large scale, in additional to more explicit scientific equations, nomenclature, and text. Fundamentally, however, it is still a formal garden, with well-trimmed foliage, grasses, and blooming plants, where one strolls and wanders, open to sensory stimuli and quiet contemplation. I find it first rate throughout. Featured are DNA helices, messenger RNA and ribosomal formation of proteins; the wave-particle behavioral duality of nuclear subunits; Waddington-like developmental landscapes suggesting black holes and waveform attractors; a water cascade over bifurcating forms after the Big Bang; and sensory representations assisted by aromatic thyme and breeze-activated chimes. The 257-page book is filled with excellent colored photographs and drawings and descriptions that summarize and indicate rather than document and pedantically instruct. Although being in the garden is the only proper way to appreciate all the work involved, this book is the next best thing and it is one to slowly savor. You should also consider the CD of Michael Gandolfi's grand symphonic impressions of this garden.
5.0 out of 5 stars Best ever garden 13 Feb 2014
By Kathleen - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Just a gorgeous book. Highly recommend for anyone who loves nature and art.
The gardens are not only beautiful but conceived and executed in a magical way.
4.0 out of 5 stars Provocative! 11 Sep 2013
By Gillian S. - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Very interesting! The evolution of the art of the garden in our times!
How aligned is it to the actual processes of nature, or does it impose our IDEAS upon nature>
5.0 out of 5 stars inspiring 18 Aug 2013
By jenseedz - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I found this book to be very interesting. I would recommend to any landscape designer who might need a little inspiration.
1 of 49 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars WEIRD GARDEN 22 Feb 2007
By Mark Priebe - Published on
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