Aesthetic Creation Theory applied: A tribute to a glacier

Alexandra Van Zyl*, Rudi Van Etteger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In 2016, Rudi van Etteger, Ian Thompson and Vera Vicenzotti reflected in JoLA on the relevance of aesthetic theory for landscape architecture in their paper, ‘Aesthetic Creation Theory and Landscape Architecture’. They explored the aesthetic creation of art through the eyes of philosopher Nick Zangwill. The discussion remained theoretical, so this paper builds on their work by applying Aesthetic Creation Theory (ACT) to a specific landscape design proposal, thereby testing its implications for the design process. The proposed design pays tribute to a disappearing glacier in a National Park in New Zealand by using aesthetic experience to engage with the loss itself. The described phases of Insight, Intention and Action guide the development of an explicit and grounded rationale for aesthetic decision making. The case confirms the legitimacy of applying aesthetic theory to landscape architecture, but also reveals its vulnerabilities. It offers a means to reflect on and discuss the relationship between theory and practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-63
JournalJournal of Landscape Architecture
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2021


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