This thesis presents research concerning the nature and underlying principles of
landscape architecture. The whole research study is explorative; it is not about testing
a presumed hypothesis, but it is a search for a better understanding of the theoretical
groundings of landscape architecture. This thesis reflects the course of this
exploration and addresses the outcome drawn from the study.
The research was initiated by the concern arising from the widespread
misunderstanding of landscape architecture in a particular country, Taiwan. While
landscape architecture is recognised as a modern environmental profession with an
Anglo-American history, the concept of this western -imported profession remains
obscure to many Taiwanese people. A common question asked is: What is landscape
architecture? This question is more profound than it appears, as it challenges the
professional identity of landscape architecture. Knowing the shared theoretical stances
of the field will help to strengthen the identity and cohesion of landscape architecture.
Therefore, this research asks two key questions: What are the shared theoretical
principles of landscape architecture? How are these core theoretical principles taken
into account in practice, especially when applied in a specific cultural/local context?
Through analysing a set of landscape projects in Taiwan, the universality and
applications of the core landscape theories are explored and discussed. A further
in-depth case study further explores the subcategories of landscape theories that were
emphasised or emerged in the Taiwanese projects to learn more about the landscape
practice in Taiwan. This research aims to achieve better understanding about the field
of landscape architecture and the Taiwanese landscape practice.