University of Tennessee CoAD = MLA Student | Cameron Rodman

All things Landscape.

  • Villa Adriana an ancient artifact in Tivoli, Italy.


    Historical Context

    Classical designs such as Hadrian’s villa enjoy a wealth of influence from preceding eras, current ideologies, philosophies, & religions. They also greatly influence future designs.

    Historically, classical design sought to emphasize symmetry and emphasize humanistic and philosophical values. During the Roman Emperor Hadrian’s reign as Roman Emperor from 117 AD to 138 AD the city held itself as the locus of man. Rationality and order dominated design both in architecture and garden design. This time experienced practical and pragmatic approaches and developed technological advances such as water engineering.

    No longer did man see nature as a mystical & sacred place where divinity resided. Nature was now subservient to the control of man and design. Mythical Gods were soon transformed into allegorical ideals which were then applied to the ruling aristocracy of the time. As humanism took hold, site designs abandoned the previous methods of designing with nature with its embedded symbolism and positioned design in such a way to emphasize the importance of the Roman city and its ruling elite.

    If all roads lead to Rome, these villas would have a relation to Rome whether by road or symbolism. Like the structures of Rome, the Villa was designed to express material wealth, imperial power, administration, and a sensual enjoyment of plants, water and open-air living. Buildings were designed with inward focused spaces. This is not to say that there was no appreciation for nature in the garden or surrounding landscape. Landscape was appreciated within these buildings and their spaces. They were controlled by engineers and reflected in frescos.

    Villas (or country homes), were thematic. Often compared to modern day theme parks, the Villa utilized symbolism to communicate a message. The design of spaces and placement of art made allusions to other places, to myths, and to literature. The villa was a place of allegory which articulated human aspirations and power where confidence is placed in man’s ability.


    Set aside the Aniene River and south of the town of Tivoli, Hadrian’s Villa is estimated to have been approximately 120 ha. (300 acres). It is situated between two valleys with a southeast-northwest orientation. It was constructed between 118 AD and 138 AD. It is speculated that this location was chosen either due to the prime higher elevations already having inhabitants; due to the land being under the ownership of Hadrian’s’ wife, or due to the proximity of water.

    Hadrian’s Villa was a setting for an imperial court. Here Emperor Hadrian lavished upon his guests and administrators the wealth which he held. While no principal axis exists, an overall master plan seems to be in place. This supposition is based on the villas extensive infrastructure of water works and tremendous amount of earth moving which took place. Hadrian’s villa focused not only on the detail of areas but on the over spatial volumetrics of each space.

    Landscape design and architecture was conducted differently in Roman times. Gardens were the main canvas that landscape designs were expressed on. These were most often the properties of the rich aristocracy. Also important during this era was the technological strides made in hydraulic engineering.

    Key Features:

    The Pecile

    The One Hundred Rooms

    The Tower of Rocca Bruna

    The Canopus

    The Pretorio

    The Great Baths

    The Little Baths

    The Golden Court

    The Quarters of the Vigiles

    The Heliocaminus Baths

    The Greek and Latin Libraries

    The Maritime Theatre

    The Temple of Venus

    The Palestra


    AD 118 – A.D. 138 Construction

    AD 138 Emperor Hadrian Dies

    15th Century excavations by Pope Pius 2

    16th Century excavations continued by Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este to obtain works of art

    18th Centruy Excavations by Piranesi and others. – Continue sporadically until 1870

    1999 UNESCO Site World Heritage Site

    2006 Listed in 100 Most Endangered Sites by World Monuments Watch


    Phillips, R., Foy, N., A Photographic Garden History (New York, Random House, 1995).

    Richardson, T., The Garden Book (London, Phaidon Press Limited, 2003).

    Rogers, E. B., Landscape Design: A Cultural and Architectural History (New York, Harry N. Abrams, Inc.,

    Publishers, 2001)

    A Really cool website documenting the artifacts and other information.

    For more photo graphs of Villa Adriana go to my website here:

  • Vote for the next Student Representative to ASLA's Board of Trustees.

    Cast your vote for the ASLA student representative! It’s that time of the year again. Monday morning, ASLA will open the voting polls for the student representative to the Board of Trustees. This position is the direct line between the students of ASLA and the Board of Trustees. I encourage...

  • Peter Walker: An influenced Modern style. Interview Pt. 2

    -The following is the 2nd portion of my Interview with Peter Walker.- Peter Walker’s Minimalist style In the 1950s and 1960s “two major schools existed at the time - Minimalism, an offshoot of conceptualism, and then Pop” (i.e. Andy Warhol). Walker was interested in Carl Andre...

  • Peter Walker Interview: Modern Design Part 1 of 2

    Peter Walker has been reinventing himself as a designer for the past 40 years. A current partner at PWP Landscape Architecture, Walker has become known for his Minimalist design flair, relationship to the Modern style, and numerous additional achievements. One thing which has remained consistent...

  • Monster Park - Bomarzo Italy

    The Sacred Woods (Sacro Bosco) in Bomarzo, Italy has held an air of enchantment about it since its rediscovery in 1942. In 1542 Count Pier Francesco Orsini (1513? – 1584), a military captain, inherited this land and began cultivating a garden of bizarre proportions, both in size and...

  • Gateway Communities: Norris, TN | UTK-MLA Studio Finals

    To say that this semester has been grueling would be an understatement. My classmates and I have been yearning for our winter break. Among the many courses that we took (Planting Design, Urban Social Geography, Advanced Grading and Drainage, Intro. to Sustainable Design Thinking, and more) studio...

  • Landscape architecture leads the way for multiuse development!

    For other articles on landscape architecture check out my website at Many dreams for innovation and development have started off with the simple act of breaking ground and a plan. Hedstrom Design, a Knoxville based landscape architecture firm, has had the opportunity to...

  • Foothills Parkway for the 2016 centennial!

    Conceived in the early 1900’s the Foothills Parkway set out to be a window looking into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. At the time, America was experiencing an age of motorization which enabled people to travel greater distances and enjoy scenery that was previously unavailable to...

  • UTK's Phi Mu Sorority House gets a fresh start from Landscape Designer Brandon Orrick.

    With recent campus projects and campaigns comes the newest additions of student housing. All of the sorority houses in the university are completing their finishing touches on their housing as the year begins. Graduate landscape architecture student and Landscape Designer Brandon Orrick, had the...

  • The 9/11 memorial. Understanding Peter Walker's inspiration.

    Twelve years have passed since the tragic 9/11 attacks in New York City, the Pentagon, and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. In just a few short years the 9/11 memorial in New York is planned to be completed. Many people have had the experience of walking the grounds and looking over the fountains in...

  • Gatlinburg Streetscaping and Underground Utilities Generate Economic Growth and Provide a Unifying Look.

    What started out as a thesis by an University of Georgia Landscape Architecture graduate student, was transformed into a 19 year long $24 million dollar community transformation. Curtis Stewart, a graduate from the University of Georgia and now Associate Professor at the University of Tennessee...

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About this Blog

I currently maintain a blog which features monthly firm interviews about their firm and specific projects in the Knoxville or near Knoxville area. Readers can also find information on photography, current trends in representation, or even social equality issues.

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