Philosophy and Landscape Architecture

Principal Investigator:

Adriana Veríssimo Serrão

Funding Institution: FCT
Date: 2010-2013


FCT Project PTDC/FIL-FIL/100565/2008

A framing category of world perception since the beginning of modern times, the Landscape becomes a problem with the simultaneous rising of awareness regarding the degradation of existence´s natural basis. Presently, Nature being a reality in crisis and actually threatened by the danger of extinction, restrictive definitions as ´sight´, ´scenery´, or ´background´ can no longer be accepted. Nowadays, to talk about Landscape remits us to a totality, an interaction system of a multiplicity of natural processes, while simultaneously being a real space, ground for all of life´s spheres and development condition of human communities.The grim diagnosis of the value loss of nature and its implications on an entirely mechanized civilization are present, since the first half of the Twentieth century, in Georg Simmel´s (1913) and Joachim Ritter´s (1963) essays dedicated to the landscape function in modern societies, and on Ronald Hepburn´s (1966) writings on contempt over the natural beautiful. However, it is only from the 1970´s on, with the pioneering interventions of Theodor Adorno (1970), Rosario Assunto (1971) and Arnold Berleant (1997), that the recovery of the intrinsic meaning of the natural and the urgency of understanding nature outside anthropic parameters imposes itself. At the same time, the consideration of the landscape´s distinctive aesthetic qualities gives consistency to the view that the qualitative aestheticity of the natural world is intimately related to its moral value.

The project PHILOSOPHY AND LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE assumes the pressing interest of an approach to the Landscape as a synthetic category that, recognizing the symbiosis between the horizontality of the visible surfaces and the profoundity of invisible processes, surpasses the more restricted notions of ´territory´ and ´environment´, with which it should not be confounded. Between the inapprehensible totality indicated by the idea of Nature and the dispersed singularity of natural elements, the Landscape category occupies the mediation place of a concrete totality containing in itself not only all the natural dimension, but also a human trace. Landscape Studies are lacking of interdisciplinary approaches. So, the specificity of this Project lies on the previously unseen conjunction between philosophy and landscape architecture, different areas of study, converging on the consideration of the Landscape as a total and integrated phenomenon. This Project sustains itself on a strict and well-founded collaboration taking place over the last years between the Philosophy Centre of the University of Lisbon and the Prof. Caldeira Cabral Landscape Architecture Studies Centre. This collaboration has been taking place at such levels as teaching, thesis supervision, and research, resulting in joint publications and seminars.

Research Team

Adriana Veríssimo Serrão, António Queirós, Ana Nolasco da Silva, Paulo Frazão Roberto, Andreia Cardoso.


Adriana Veríssimo Serrão, Filosofia e Arquitectura da Paisagem. Estudos, Lisboa: CFUL, 2013

Adriana Veríssimo Serrão (coord.), Filosofia e Arquitectura da Paisagem. Intervenções, Lisboa, CFUL, 2013, 287pp.

Adriana Veríssimo Serrão (coord.), Filosofia e Arquitectura da Paisagem. Um Manual, Lisboa, CFUL, 2012, 381pp.

Adriana Veríssimo Serrão (coord.), Filosofia da Paisagem. Uma Antologia, Lisboa, CFUL, 2011, 502pp.