Affectionate Landscape Architecture Journey in China and London

by Jun 26, 2010
by 李滢 Jun 26, 2010

Three stories and three inspirations disclose her landscape architecture journey. For her landscape architecture is not only a social profession, but also an individual growth and inspiring career.

Firstly, I am very delighted to be invited to write this article for “Youth Landscape Architecture’. I also think it does have meaning to record everyone’s landscape life in this Spring , especially, in April which is the “International Landscape Month”. Let’s give the most sincere thanks to all the landscape architects ,teachers and students all over the world.

Then, I am so pleased to share my landscape journey based on three main teachers in landscape architecture. This is due to the fact that landscape architecture is a unique profession, which is much more depending on personal talent ,passion and experience. Therefore, the teachers who have lead me and given me strength, might be more significant than the universities which I have graduated from. I am going to present three valuable sentences from my three different teachers, who are called my ‘landscape Angels’. I really hope these sentences could also provide inspiration to someone who loves landscape.

“Love nature, love society, love humans and love yourself; have your own idea”

— ChiGao, April 14th ,2006,China

Chi Gao(高翅), Vice President and Professor of Landscape Architecture in HuaZhong Agricultural University, China. Interestingly, when we met the first time, I did not know he was a professor. I just had many questions in my head and I also did not agree with some ideas of the famous contemporary landscape architects in China .I could clearly remember that I told him a lot of my own landscape feelings and he kept listening to me for quite a long time patiently. I even told him that I always skipped classes to go to feel the real sites. Finally, he said “You are right, the feeling of the sites is the most important’. In the meantime, I found that he could understand my spirit.Then, I asked him how to learn landscape well. Unpredictably, he said love nature, love society, love humans and love yourself, instead of asking me to work as hard as I can. I do believe him because I could know him as well.

Additionally, there was a feeling that a new gate has been opened by him and I had confidence to learn landscape in my own pathway. Two years later, I became his graduate student and he taught me in an bold way which is to give me permission to do everything I like in landscape architecture. That was a daring education in China recently. However, in fact he was right. Specially, on June 7th,2009, I was invited independently to give a lecture to the teachers in HeYuan Technique College. The title was“ The Beauty of Chinese Landscape Architecture’’ and I was also almost the youngest landscape lecturer in China. (CHLA,2009) I know that it does not mean how excellent I am, but it definitely demonstrates that Mr GaoChi’s an amazing educator. What I get from him is “Love’’ ,then my task is transmitting the love in landscape architecture to other students.

“You are a translator ,find your own language,love can tell you what to do; Be professional. ”

— Martha Schwartz, September 11th ,London

Ms Martha Schwartz, Associate Professor of landscape architecture Harvard University, USA. I should say that the education she has given me is absolutely fantastic. Due to the days I lived in her office&home in London, I totally understood ‘what is landscape’, ‘what is design’ and how a famous female landscape architect coordinates everything perfectly. In China, Confucius stated in ‘The Analects of Confucius’ that : ” ShengTangRuShi’’, which described the teacher let the student stay with him and apprentice there. That is considered as an instructive and traditional education method in China. Similarly, Martha Schwartz, the American professor teaches in the same way to me as Confucius. Undoubtedly, she is not only an outstanding landscape architect, but she is also an educational master.

I always remember what she have told me during those days, the quotation above is the one she told me the first day we met. I know that I must work very hard to achieve what she has taught me and I will never forget the word “Professional”. I have seen how she asked the designers to re-design a project which was nearly finished, just because of a slight error of the Base Map. She was extremely busy, however, she began to draw that Base map herself. It can be imagined that a famous landscape architect, drawing a Base Map herself in order to guarantee the professional design processes. Therefore, I learned that fabulous landscape works are based on the extremely demanding profession. Definitely, I must work hard to learn and try my best to learn all the time due to I have a long way to go in order to achieve the goal ,being humble and industrious.

Thanks all the talent designers in MSP, London: That was a warm and harmonious group and they were all my role models who gave me great help.

“Enjoy it, be ambitious, have your own landscape manifesto, maybe you can write a book in the future.”

— Pat Brown, April 14th,2010 Kingston University, London

Ms Pat Brown, Director of Landscape Architecture in Kingston University, London, who is my current tutor. In the landscape interface studio of Kingston University, most of students are local and also have work experience before. In the beginning, I was so worried due to the fact that I was the only one who had no western landscape education among the thirty graduate students. However, whenever I have a tutorial with Pat Brown, my strength will come out because she always encourages me in a very dynamic way. What impressed me deeply is the first presentation, Pat kept listening to all the presentations from ten o’clock in the morning until at proximatly nine o’clock in the evening. I was also there, honestly, most students were tired and hungry including me, because of the extreme long time. However, Pat Brown was energetic all the time, never hungry or tired any more. I could not believe that and ask her the reason after the presentation. She answered: “I enjoy it! ” This is a simple answer, but has power as ‘atom bomb’.

It is widely known that the Art, Design and Architecture school is very famous in London. which Landscape Architecture Department is in . Focusing on the individual development, Pat Brown has functional teaching methods to lead us and she also discovers the potential of every students from their own background. In China, we call it : YinCaiShiJiao, which is also has the same idea as Confucius, who is the ‘father’ of Chinese Education. Additionally, Pat Brown encourage me to have my own manifesto of landscape and she supports me all the time and also tries her best to help my landscape knowledge.

From Left, YingLi, Pat Brown and Lucy Tauber, Kingston University London, 2010

In conclusion, this is my landscape architecture education which I prefer to call it “Affectionate Landscape Journey”. The teachers are my guide, who leads me in the journey, my three teachers are all have charisma and love their students. I was precious to have the education from them. Actually, I could write the introduction of the education these schools, however, it is better to check the websites ,rather than I wrote personally. Moreover, what I could provide it to share the real inspiration I have got in landscape architecture education , hopefully, it will bring benefit to the readers. It is like the survey of the landscape design sites, the most important is your feeling about it and translate as landscape architecture to the users.

Offer my most sincere gratitude to Ms Martha Schwartz , Ms Pat Brown, Mr ChiGao and all lovely persons who I met in the journey of Landscape Architecture.


  1. Chineselandscapearchitecture(CHLA) http://www.chla.com.cn/html/c110/2009-06/38012.html
  2. International federation of landscape architecture ( IFLA) http://www.iflaonline.org/index.php?option=com_tevent&view=itm&layout=evt&id=69
  3. Harvard University http://www.gsd.harvard.edu/
  4. HuaZhong Agricultural University http://www.hzau.edu.cn/ch/
  5. Kingston University http://www.kingston.ac.uk/
  6. www.landscapeis.org



李滢,YouthLA志愿者,Kingston University

11 discussions
  1. 张林 says:

    哇噻…… 看不懂哦!愚钝、愚钝……

  2. jacklion says:

    this is a gorgeous article, which help us to understand the western landscape architectural education from your personal experiences rather than just let us know about the information of certain schools. very impressive! thanks!

  3. Luis says:

    This article really introduced good experience in learning and how great of all the teachers.Personally, I think you could talk more about how’s your thinking.How your thoughts changed during your journey. Im more interested in that.=)

    • YingLi says:

      Thanks.Maybe,you may find my idea of landscape in the future:) In September of 2010, I will have my Individual Landscape Architecture Degree show in London Borouge Tower. You are welcome.

  4. Luis says:

    Haha,I would like to attend but I cant.Europe is great.But if you will have some more information online I would like to see digital format=) Hope you have a successful show:D

    • YingLi says:

      Cheers! I will try my best. London is a fanstastic place ro study landscape and architecture,moreover the competitions among the universities in London are extremely strong. So ,love it and try all the best:) Best regards.

  5. p0p0 says:


  6. Lucy says:

    hi Ying Li! So nice to see this page and your continued commitment to your work! its truly wonderful and I hope you are very well.
    I was wondering if you could please drop me an email? It would be so nice to hear how you are.
    Many thanks Lucuy

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李滢,YouthLA志愿者,Kingston University

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