The Thames At Greenwich, London The Mekong River, Bangkok, Thailand Pool Left: Waterfall At Lauderbrunnen. Right: Fountain In Lac Leman, Geneva, Switzerland

About this talk

Running time: 26 minutes

The late Sir Peter Shepheard, knighted in the UK shortly before this talk, practiced architecture in London with his partner Gaby Epstein.

He was also Professor of Architecture and Environmental Design at the Graduate School of Fine Arts, University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, USA, where he was Dean from 1971 to 1979.

From 1969 to 1971 he was President of the Royal Institute of British Architects, following which he became President of the Institute of Landscape Architects. But his first love was always ecology and nature, and his drawings of birds and other living creatures are famous.

In his talk, he discusses water as a designer's material: "of all the materials used by a landscape architect" he says, "water is one of the most misunderstood". Yet it is so important "as a symbol of everything that is rich, abundant, sexual, delightful, and so on. Therefore we must treat it so that it fulfils this symbolic function".

The appearance and behaviour of water; the design of margins and fountains; reflections - these are all aspects on which he elaborates, reminding us that the symbolism of water in temperate climates may be entirely different from what it is in Italy or Spain.

Peter Shepheard

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