Re-evaluating Vanbrugh’s work at Castle Howard

During the course of our work at the Yorkshire Arboretum we made some interesting discoveries about the landscape history of Castle Howard. The starting point for this is the work by Kerry Downes and the book edited by Christopher Ridgway, the Castle Howard archivist, Sir John Vanbrugh and Landscape Architecture, and it was interesting to re-evaluate their work in the light of the  surveys that we carried out during the master plan. This post looks at the landscape that Vanbrugh worked with when he laid out his designs in the early eighteenth century.

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How long do landscapes last?

In the news today is a report of Martha Schwartz lambasting Manchester City Council for destroying Exchange Square, the place her team designed in the mid 1990s. When it was built, it was much-photographed and awarded but over the years, interventions by MCC have diluted and then destroyed the space. Part of the issue here might be that these interventions should have been considered in the design stage through a more extensive consultation and assessment process, but it brought to mind a question I’ve had for some time: how long do landscapes last for?

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