Doing, Seeing; Seeing, Doing


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  • For architect and educator Leon van Schaik, the way we understand our world is not an abstract consideration, but deeply rooted in physical experience. Our family houses and places of work, the gardens we have played and rested in, the landscapes we have travelled through and those we have come to call home—all of these inflect what van Schaik describes as our spatial intelligence. For better or worse, this understanding informs our interpretation of the world, and any attempts we might make to reshape it.

    In Doing, Seeing; Seeing, Doing, van Schaik unearths the lineage of landscape and garden ideas that have influenced his thinking over many decades spent practicing and teaching architecture. Partly auto-biographical, partly essayistic, the book unfolds as a series of journeys with friends and colleagues through their shared histories in architecture, landscape and gardening.


    From Persian paradise gardens to the mosaic burning that maintained pre-colonial Australia’s ‘parkland’ landscape, the nested arches of Edwin Lutyens to Renaissance axiality, Doing, Seeing; Seeing, Doing explores how every line drawn in our world brings a system along with it. It also demonstrates why an awareness of our own spatial histories is crucial if we are to avoid visiting those systems onto others, unexamined.


    About the author: Leon van Schaik AO, Emeritus Professor of Architecture (RMIT University) gardens and writes. Recent books include Kerstin Thompson Architects (Thames and Hudson 2021), Building a Culture (Uro Publications 2019), Architecture in its Continuums (Uro Publications 2018); Suburbia Reimagined (with Nigel Bertram, Routledge 2018), Practical Poetics (Wiley 2015), Spatial Intelligence (Wiley 2008).


    Publisher: Uro Publications

    ISBN: 9781922601179

    Format: Softback, 176pp


    Year published: 2021 (popular edition)