Landscape Architecture at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
The Post-Graduate programme in Landscape Architecture, which has been running at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki since 2003 as an Interdepartmental Programme of Post-Graduate Studies involving the School of Architecture, Faculty of Technology and the School of Agriculture, Faculty of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Environment, administratively supported by the School of Architecture, is the first of its kind to be offered in Greece.
To this end, a scientific staff of high standard, mostly from the AUTh, has been assembled, with a 50-year tradition in teaching and research in the field, though external colleagues are also involved, as are guest landscape architects, engineering architects, agriculturists, foresters, and other specialists, all of whom are active in the field of landscape architecture and other closely-related fields of interest.
The exceptional interest expressed from the very outset is encouraging, with 80 candidates from all over Greece competing for 16 places, which are now 25 after the new Ministerial Decree for each two-year operating programme. The high qualifications of candidates also bode well for the positive development expected for the programme.
Within the context of the courses, important issues in landscape architectural research and design are dealt with, as is clear from the titles of the courses and their content. In the diploma dissertation, emphasis is placed on landscape architecture projects which, as applied or research issues, are of current concern both within Greece and internationally.
Landscape architecture in general is enjoying a stimulating period of renewed vision. Throughout the world, because of pressing and growing problems – environmental, cultural, financial and artistic- landscape architects are being called upon to develop new ideas and alternative perspectives for a very wide range of projects. Apart from their traditional range of activity, i.e. parks, gardens, and public outdoor places, the current range of applications, which has expanded since the war to include large-scale public works, infra-structure, reclaimed post-industrial sites, fields or parts of cities, as well as locations which, in many instances, are virtually abandoned or “in-between” areas.
As a result, an extensive array of qualifications in a variety of domains and skills is required to practise landscape architecture - coordinative and imaginative as well as technical and administrative. And since these qualifications and skills are increasingly triggering specialist applications, the role of education in the domain of landscape architecture is crucial, not merely in the transfer of detailed, thorough knowledge, but also in the development of a critical personality and of creative inventiveness– in sum, a combination of authenticity and responsible guidance in study.
In the light of these considerations, the programme is a product of experience and knowledge, adapted to Greek reality and demands, as well as to Greek university and professional conditions.
The Post-Graduate programme is based on the collective effort and serious academic maturity which, for many years now, has distinguished the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Landscape Architecture, on Greek and international fronts.
History and Prospects
The Joint Post-Graguate Programme of Studies in Landscape Architecture, which started in the spring semester 2003, has been organized by the School of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering and the School of Agriculture, Faculty of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Environment of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and is the first complete Programme of Studies in Landscape Architecture to be offered in Greece.
Landscape Architecture was first taught as an independent course in Greece in 1967 in the School of Agriculture, and in 1974 in the Department of Architecture of the AUTh During these fifty years, a high level of co-operation has developed and been maintained between the two Departments which has resulted in joint programmes of landscape planning, scientific projects and doctoral theses, and has culminated in the preparation, submission and authorization of the new Postgraduate Programme of Studies.
Landscape Architecture is a multi-dimensional science par excellence, since it includes the planning of the landscape as well as its management. Current trends in landscape planning are expressed through the creation and maintenance of sustainable landscapes, small or big, historical or cultural, natural or man-made, where various scientific and artistic aspects are necessarily interwoven. Thus, the courses which have been selected for teaching in the Postgraduate programme in Landscape Architecture provide the required background in ecology and biology, as well as in planning, society and history. The tutors are equally divided between the two Schools, and fully cover the range and needs of the objects of study of the Programme.
The Post-Graduate programme in Landscape Architecture has three main aims:
- To supply students with specialized theoretical knowledge, so that they can comprehend the basic principles of Landscape Architecture.
- To lay the foundations for the correct methodology of research and to provide the impetus for post-graduate students to carry out further research.
- To furnish them with professional qualifications which will mark them in their future careers as expert scientists in this specialization
Throughout the years of its operation the Post-Graduate Programme in Landscape Architecture is acknowledged nationwide and is established as a permanent and continuous source of education, inspiration and research at the AUTh.
Ioannis A. Tsalikidis