For most landscape architects, and designers in general, the name Roberto Burle Marx immediately brings to mind his painterly vision of the landscape and his inspired use of the flora of his native Brazil. Marx’s work began to gain attention in the 1930s, and, teaming up with famed architects such as Le Corbusier and Oscar Niemeyer, Marx helped create some of the most beautiful vistas ever created.
He also would eventually become one of the most influential landscape architects of the century.
Despite his great influence, however, his work has consistently been presented in the design literature as if it existed in a vacuum, disengaged from the historical circumstances that provide both shape and meaning to public landscapes.
In “Roberto Burle Marx in Caracas: Parque del Este, 1956-1961,” finally, Anita Berrizbeitia goes beyond the common formal analysis of his designs to explore the multiple contexts and cultural conditions that give rise to his uncompromising vision for gardens and landscapes.
Taking the study of Burle Marx to a new level, Berrizbeitia explores the various ways in which a complex web of political and socioeconomic circumstances and Burle Marx’s personal aesthetic intersect in the making of landscapes.
“Roberto Burle Marx in Caracas” is the only in-depth study of the major Parque del Este site—a 200-acre urban park built between 1956 and 1961—and offers an approach for future studies of the Venezuelan and Latin American landscape.
Anita Berrizbeitia is associate professor of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning at the University of Pennsylvania.
—University of Pennsylvania Press
Originally published on December 9, 2004