Dr Jan Woudstra
PhD, MA (Cons), Dip Hort (Kew)
Department of Landscape Architecture
Reader in Landscape History and Theory
+44 114 222 0609
Full contact details
Department of Landscape Architecture
My research activity has been guided by a general concern for the quality of the built environment. It has aimed to increase knowledge within the landscape profession and to challenge perceived notions about landscape design and research.
This has included turning practical issues, which unlike theoretical discourse were not previously considered as a suitable academic subject, into internationally recognized scholarship. For example, research in the history of planting design has been pioneering and it informs and challenges notions of innovation. Yet there has also been research into theoretical issues, in order to encourage different approaches and attitudes in the profession.
Following my training in landscape design, horticulture and conservation at Frederiksoord, the Netherlands, the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, and at the University of York, I worked as a landscape architect and historian.
Initially in landscape consultancy, I was employed with Travers Morgan in London, contributing to some of the largest conservation schemes of the time, including the restoration of Chiswick House Grounds and the reconstruction of the Privy Garden at Hampton Court Palace that was completed with his own practice EDA Environmental Design Associates in 1995.
I simultaneously studied at the Department of Geography of University College London, completing my PhD entitled `Landscape for Living, Landscape theory and design of the Modern Movement´ in 1997.
From 1988 I've taught on a part-time basis at the course `Conservation of Historic Parks and Gardens´, later re-named as `Landscape Conservation and Change´, at the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London and have been employed at the University of Sheffield since 1995, where I teach landscape architecture and history. I was Honorary Editor of Garden History from 1998 to 2005.
- Research interests
History and theory of the modern movement in landscape architecture
One of Jan´s main interests, which was also the subject of his PhD, is the exploration of international design trends during the twentieth century in order to achieve a fuller understanding of contemporary philosophy and the processes of design.
This is done via the work of individual designers and selected design projects. Research projects include the analysis of designed landscapes, exploring such landscape architects as Leberecht Migge, Heinrich Friedrich Wiepking-Jürgensmann, Hermann Mattern, Wim Boer, Jan Bijhouwer, Mien Ruys, Christopher Tunnard and Peter Shepheard.
Some of this work is undertaken in association with Professor Peter Blundell Jones, School of Architecture, University of Sheffield and concentrates specifically on domestic scale schemes on which both modernist landscape architects and architects have contributed.
Critical reviews of past housing landscapes have been undertaken and include the work of Peter Shepheard and of Span/ Eric Lyons.
Large scale comparisons of international trends; the issue of memory
With a considerable understanding of modernist fashions it is possible to put current trends in context. Jan´s perspective with reference to landscape architecture is with respect to `working with the existing´, as opposed to providing fashionable `new carpet´ approaches that treat any site as a blank sheet, thereby lacking references and thus meaning. His subject area reflects both conservation issues and new design, at various levels and scales.
This is important as it embraces not only issues of memory and authenticity, but also sustainability, ecological diversity and social equitability. Research in this field aims to make a profound impact on the landscape profession by influencing both theory and practice and has included the following:
- general assessments and analyses of current trends in landscape design; parks, gardens and housing
- attitudes and approaches to landscape and garden heritage
- detailed analysis of the work of individual designers within their context; thus far a number of landscape architects have been subjected to critical review: Henry Wise (forthcoming), Daniel Marot, Lewis Kennedy and Robert Marnock, besides the aforementioned modernist designers.
History of hard landscape detailing and planting design
An important aspect in the success of designed landscapes is appropriate landscape detailing, combined with adequate maintenance. Like with anything else fashions evolve, and as they do our perception of appropriate detailing changes and historic methods of maintenance are forgotten.
As a result even historically important `heritage´ landscapes change, and it is this aspect that requires to be guided by a full understanding of the implications of change, which for this reason merits separate study.
Initially Jan´s research in this field was led by conservation work he was undertaking while in private practice and concentrated on detailed analysis of fashions in planting design and hard landscape detailing in order to repair or reconstruct them. Lately research in this field has been directed towards assisting the improvement and refining of archaeological techniques, by working in co-operation with archaeologists.
- Landscape Modernism Renounced: The Career of Christopher Tunnard (1910-1979). London and New York: Routledge.
- Landscape modernism renounced: The career of Christopher Tunnard (1910–1979). Taylor and Francis.
- The Regeneration of Public Parks. JSTOR.
- The Story of the Privy Garden. London: Barn Elms.
- The Regeneration of Public Parks. Taylor & Francis.
- Culzean country park – how an iconic Scottish landscape used designation to secure a sustainable future. Landscape Research.
- Reviving traditional burial rituals with feng shui: changing landscapes in China. Mortality. View this article in WRRO
- View this article in WRRO 'One of the ablest landscape gardeners': Edward Kemp (1817-1891) in a nineteenth-century professional context. Garden History, 46(Supplement 1), 31-50.
- Designing the garden of Geddes: The master gardener and the profession of landscape architecture. Landscape and Urban Planning, 178, 198-207. View this article in WRRO
- ‘Thoroughly Chinese’: Revealing the plants of the Hong merchants’ gardens through John Bradby Blake’s paintings. Curtis's Botanical Magazine, 34(4), 475-497. View this article in WRRO
- View this article in WRRO Recent issues in the conservation of public parks in Great Britain: A case study of a Heritage Lottery Funded project at Weston Park, Sheffield. Ochrona Zabytków, 2016(1), 163-194.
- View this article in WRRO Fruit cultivation in the Royal Gardens of Hampton Court Palace, 1530-1842. Garden History, 44(2), 255-271.
- Park policy and design of public parks in London, 1900-1945. Die Gartenkunst, 27(1), 119-138.
- Some modernist houses and their gardens : part 6: Alvar and Aino Aalto's house at Munkkiniemi. Die Gartenkunst, 26(1), 107-122.
- Social order versus natural disorder in the Chinese garden. Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes, 34(2), 151-175. View this article in WRRO
- From bosquet a l'angloise to jardin a l'angloise the progression of the mingled manner of planting from its inception to its decline and survival. Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes, 33(2), 71-95.
- The influence of Robert Marnock on Bretton Hall, 1825-34. Garden History, 41(1), 96-115.
- The Nature of Cities: Ecological Visions and the American Urban Profession, 1920–1960. Journal of Urban Design, 17(2), 311-312.
- Some modernist houses and their gardens, part 5: Stennäs Revisited: Gunnar Asplund’s summerhouse in Stockholm’s archipelago. Die Gartenkunst, 24(2), 303-328.
- The gardener's calendar: The garden books of Arbury, Nuneaton, in Warwickshire (1689-1703). Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes.
- Repairing broken continuity: garden heritage in the historic villages Xidi and Hongcun, China. Historic Environment, 23(1).
- From landscape of gods to landscape of man: Imperial altars in Beijing. Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes, 31(4), 231-268.
- The “Sheffield Method” and the first Department of Landscape Architecture in Great Britain. Garden History, 38(2), 242-266.
- Some modernist houses and their gardens; part 4: A Nordic Jamaica: Olle Engkvist’s villa with wintergarden and flowering meadow in Stockholm. Die Gartenkunst, 22(2), 309-326.
- The Italian Garden at Chiswick House. English Heritage Historical Review, 5, 110-133.
- 'Eight Views' versus 'Eight Scenes': The History of the Bajing Tradition in China. LANDSCAPE RES, 35(1), 83-110.
- Explorations: Department of Landscape, University of Sheffield. European Architectural History Network Newsletter(1), 18-26.
- The re-instatement of the Greenhouse Quarter at Hampton Court Palace. Garden History, 37(1), 80-110.
- View this article in WRRO ‘The exactness and nicety of those things’: Sir John Reresby’s garden notebook and garden (1633-1644) at Thrybergh, Yorkshire. Garden History, 36(1), 135-193.
- The Eco-cathedral: Louis le Roy’s expression of a “free landscape architecture". Die Gartenkunst, 20(1), 185-202.
- ”Making Green the Motherland”: Greening the Chinese socialist undertaking (1949–1978). Studies in the History of Gardens & Designed Landscapes: An International Quarterly, 32(4), 312-330. View this article in WRRO
- 'In agriculture, learn from Dazhai': Mao Zedong's revolutionary model village and the battle against nature. LANDSCAPE RES, 32(2), 171-205.
- In Agriculture, Learn from Dazhai’, Mao Zedong’s revolutionary model village and the battle against nature. Landscape Research, 32(2).
- Robert Marnock and the creation of the Sheffield Botanical and Horticultural Gardens, 1834-40. Garden History, 35(1), 2-36.
- Advanced horticultural techniques in Korea: The earliest documented greenhouses. Garden History, 35(1), 68-84.
- What is edging box? Towards greater authenticity in garden conservation projects. Garden History, 35(2), 229-242.
- Some modernist houses and their gardens: Part 3: Sir Peter Shepheard’s house and garden, 21 Well Road, London (1977-82). Die Gartenkunst, 19(2), 399-410.
- Some modernist houses and their gardens: Part 3: Sir Peter Shepheard’s house and garden, 21 Well Road, London (1977-82), 19(2), 399-410.
- Robert Marnock and the creation of the Sheffield Botanical and Horticultural Gardens, 1834-40. Garden History, 35(1).
- ”Striped plants”: The first collections of variegated plants in late seventeenth-century gardens. Garden History, 34(1), 64-79.
- The early eighteenth century wilderness at Stainborough’. New Arcadian Journal, 65-84.
- The Great Parterre at Chatsworth: Refining non-invasive archaeological methods as investigation techniques. Garden History, 32(1), 49-67.
- The Planting of the Pleasure Garden of Squerryes Court, Westerham, Kent, in 1718. Garden History, 31(1), 34-34.
- From counter culture to eco-cathedral. The continuing legacy of Louis Guillaume le Roy. Dutch Crossing, 27(2), 269-280.
- Some European approaches to twentieth-century cemetery design: continental solutions for British dilemmas. Mortality, 8(2), 189-208.
- Bibliographie der vor 1750 erschienenen Gartenbücher. Garden History, 31(1), 118-118.
- Pioneers of American Landscape Design. Garden History, 31(1), 117-117.
- The Sckell Family in England (1770-1830). Die Gartenkunst, 14(2), 2011-220.
- Some modernist houses and their gardens: Part 2: The House of the North and the Pleasure Pavilion [Pavillon der Gartenfreude] Mattern House 1932-4 by Hans Scharoun, with garden by Hermann Mattern and Herta Hammerbacher. Die Gartenkunst, 14(1), 123-134.
- Louis G. le Roy: Natuur, cultuur, fusie/Nature, Culture, Fusion. Garden History, 30(2), 267-267.
- The Use of Flowering Plants in Late Seventeenth- and Early Eighteenth-Century Interiors. Garden History, 28(2), 194-194.
- The Corbusian Landscape: Arcadia or No Man's Land?. Garden History, 28(1), 135-135.
- Recovering Landscape: Essays in Contemporary Landscape Architecture. Garden History, 28(1), 169-169.
- The Florilegium of Alexander Marshal in the Collection of Her Majesty the Queen at Windsor Castle. Garden History, 28(2), 292-292.
- Hillier's visitor centre, Romsey: a project by David Lea. Architectural Research Quarterly, 4(3), 205-218.
- The enamelled mead: History and practice of exotic perennials grown in grassy swards. Landscape Research, 25(1), 29-47.
- The ecology of exotic herbaceous perennials grown in managed, native grassy vegetation in urban landscapes. LANDSCAPE URBAN PLAN, 45(2-3), 107-121.
- Some modernist houses and their gardens, part 1. Die Gartenkunst, 11(1), 112-122.
- Danish Landscape Design in the Modern Era (1920-1970). Garden History, 23(2), 222-222.
- KENNEDY,LEWIS, LANDSCAPE GARDENER AND HIS WORK AT BUCKHURST-PARK + WITH APPENDED CATALOG OF HIS WORK. APOLLO, 135(362), 215-221.
- Tom Bloemers, e.a. (eds.), The Cultural Landscape & Heritage Paradox: Protection and Development of the Dutch Archaeological-Historical Landscape and its European Dimension. BMGN - Low Countries Historical Review, 127(1), 3-3.
- DEALING WITH THE CONSEQUENCES OF CLIMATE CHANGE IN HISTORIC PARKS AND GARDENS IN THE UNITED KINGDOM, Historische Gärten und Klimawandel (pp. 337-348). De Gruyter
- Detailing and materials of outdoor space: The Scandinavian example, Reformation without end (pp. 53-68).
- Introduction, A History of Groves (pp. 1-12). Routledge
- Pückler’s britische Inspirationen: England als “unerreichtes Vorbild” In von Velsen N (Ed.), PARKOMANIE Über Gartenlandschaften des Fürsten Pückler (pp. 126-133).
- Altars in China, Encyclopaedia of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures (pp. 285-291). Springer Netherlands
- Climate change and historic gardens in the United Kingdom In Rohde M & Krellig H (Ed.), Historic Gardens and Climate Change: Recommendations for preservation (pp. 88-91). Leipzig: Edition Leipzig.
- 2.2 From Health to Pleasure, Architecture and Movement (pp. 102-111). Routledge
- From health to pleasure: the landscape of walking In Blundell Jones P & Meagher M (Ed.), Architecture and Movement The Dynamic Experience of Buildings and Landscapes Routledge
- ”Much better contrived and built then any other in England”: Stoves and other structures for the cultivation of exotic plants at Hampton Court Palace, 1689-1702 In Lee MG & Helphand KI (Ed.), Technology and the Garden (pp. 79-107). Dumbarton Oaks Pub Service
- Altars in China, Encyclopaedia of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures (pp. 1-7). Springer Netherlands
- The Rodas in the Low Countries; on the rise and progress of horticulture and gardening in The Netherlands and Belgium, Marcellino e Giuseppe Roda: Un viaggio nella cultura del giardino e del paesaggio (pp. 93-103). Savigliano: L’Artistica.
- A naturalistic backdrop: the predominant paradigm for European modernist sculpture gardens, Urban naturmark I landskapet- en syntes genom landskaparkitektur: festskrift till Clas Florgård (pp. 289-307). Uppsala: SLU Service/Repro.
- The rise of formal education for gardeners in Prussia and Great Britain In Krellig H (Ed.), Prussian Gardens in Europe: 300 Years of Garden History (pp. 308-313). Leipzig: Edition Leipzig.
- Landscape first and last, Eric Lyons and Span (pp. 34-51). London: RIBA.
- The changing nature of ecology: A history of ecological planting (1800–1980), The Dynamic Landscape: Design, Ecology and Management of Naturalistic Urban Planting (pp. 33-80).
- The planting of the Privy Garden In Thurley S (Ed.), The King's Privy Garden at Hampton Court Palace 1689-1995 (pp. 43-78).
- Pavilion Gardens, Buxton: An example of a regeneration scheme in the Urban Parks Programme In Jong E, Schmidt E & Sigel B (Ed.), Der Garten- ein Ort des Wandels: Perspektiven für die Denkmalpflege (pp. 239-250). Zürich: Hochschulverlag AG an der ETH.
- Malcolm Dick and Elaine Mitchell, eds. Gardens and Green Spaces in the West Midlands since 1700. Hatfield: West Midland Publications, 2018. Pp. 212. £16.99 (paper).. Journal of British Studies, 58(2), 411-412. View this article in WRRO
- Tom Williamson, Gerry Barnes, and Toby Pillatt, Trees in England: management and disease since 1600 (Hatfield: University of Hertfordshire Press, 2017. Pp. x+229. 61 figs. ISBN 9781909291966, Pbk. £16.99). The Economic History Review, 72(1), 406-407. View this article in WRRO
- Maria Teresa Parpagliolo Shephard (1903-1974): Ein Beitrag zur Entwicklung der Gartenkultur in Italien im 20. Jahrhundert. Garden History, 33(2), 302-302.
- Noguchi in Paris: The UNESCO Garden. Garden History, 33(2), 301-301.
- Thomas Church, Landscape Architect: Designing a Modern California Landscape. Garden History, 32(1), 142-142.
- C. Th. Sorensen: Landscape Modernist. Garden History, 29(2), 231-231.
- Baume und Straucher in historischen Garten: Geholzverwendung in Geschichte und Denkmalpflege. Garden History, 29(1), 107-107.
- Gartenkunst des 20. Jahrhunderts: Garten- und Landschaftsarchitektur in Deutschland. Garden History, 29(2), 227-227.
- A Garden for Eternity: The Codex Liechtenstein. Garden History, 29(1), 108-108.
- The Great Herbal of Leonhart Fuchs: De historia stirpium commentarii insignes, 1542. Garden History, 29(2), 218-218.
- Garten Ordnung/ Darinnen ordentliche warhafftige Beschreibung/ wie man aus rechtem Grund der Geometria einen nutzlichen und zierlichen Garten... anrichten soll . Garden History, 29(2), 218-218.
- Parks and Gardens of Britain: A Landscape History from the Air. Garden History, 27(1), 185-185.
- Von Muskau bis Konstantinopel: Eduard Petzold ein europaischer Gartenkunstler 1815-1891. Garden History, 27(2), 256-256.
- The Klingenberg Garden Daybook, 1659-1722. Garden History, 26(1), 106-106.
- Naturschutz und Denkmalpflege: Wege zu einem Dialog im Garten. Garden History, 26(2), 218-218.
- Dutch Flower Painting 1660-1720. Garden History, 23(2), 256-256.
- Book reviews. International Journal of Environmental Studies, 30(1), 63-75.
Conference proceedings papers
- View this article in WRRO Obstanbau in den königlichen Gärten von Schloss Hampton Court, London (1530-1842). Stefanie Krihning (ed.), Obstgärten, Produktionsstätten, Bedeutungsträger, Kulturdenkmale: Das Brixner ‘Pomarium” im geschichtlichen und gartenbaulichen Kontext/ Frutteti, Luoghi di produzione, ogetti simbolici, monumenti culturali: Il ‘Pomarium” di Bressanone nel contest storico dell’arte dei Giardini, Vol. 8 (pp 154-167). Görlitz, 29 October 2015 - 31 October 2015.
- The history and development of groves in English formal gardens (1600–1750) (pp 67-85) View this article in WRRO
- Jacobus P. Thijsse's influence on Dutch landscape architecture. NATURE AND IDEOLOGY (pp 155-185)
- View this article in WRRO Peter Blundell Jones obituary Historian of architecture who saw the human side of modernism.
- Edward Fawcett [Obituary].
- Research group
Current research supervision includes the following topics:
- History and development of Scenic Sites in Korea
- Garden typologies and urban development in Shanghai (1850- 2010)
Recent research supervision includes:
- Claudia Leticia Martínez Velarde, ‘Landscape-led approaches for the regeneration of low-income housing: A cross cultural assessment of social and ecological sustainability’, PhD, 2010
- Lei Gao, ‘Breaking and repairing’: Conflicting values in the historic gardens of China’, PhD, 2010
- Kairan Li, ‘Landscape improvement and Scenic Sites in pre-modern China: a critical review’, PhD, 2009
- Sang Jung Yoon, ‘History and conservation of gardens in Korea’, PhD, 2009
- Vivienne Rose Parrott, ‘Moon, magic and Elysium: A study of the design of Uraniborg, the observatory and home of Tycho Brahe on the island of Hven, Denmark (1576-1597)’, MPhil, 2008
- Jijun Zhao, ‘Thirty years of landscape design in China (1949-1979): The era of Mao Zedong’, PhD, 2008
- Hae Joon Jung, ‘Landscape as Heritage: a Critical Assessment of the Value-based Approach for the Use of Protecting Korean Scenic Sites’, PhD, 2015
- Manoochehr Salahi Moghadam, ‘Cultural Landscapes in Iran: The Past, Present and Future of Binalud, a Rural Mountain Landscape’, PhD, 2014
- Hossein Donyavi, ‘Agriculture and water management in the Iranian mountains: traditional methods as a basis for a sustainable future’, PhD, 2014
- Sally O’Halloran, ‘The Serviceable Ghost; the forgotten role of the gardener from 1630 to 1730’, PhD, 2013
- Teaching activities
Module co-ordinator for:
- LSC 118 Histories of Landscape Architecture
- LSC 304 Site Planning for Housing
- LSC 330 Site Planning for Sustainable Housing