Can you feel it?

How do you know when a landscape installation reaches the level of “lasting importance?” The answer is: when you can feel it. When the curve of the pavement or rustle of rhythmic leaves evoke a sensory response, then you know you are in the presence of something great.

My favorite places become embedded in my memory because of their power to “move” me. My most memorable example was made clear during my visit to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. and the alarming sense of nearly being forced to my knees. While traveling down the granite pavers, deeper into the earth, the polished monument wall grew progressively taller in
size. This simple, yet meaningful change plunged at my chest with great power. At the start of my journey, the wall was merely a slight curb-like projection above grade. By the midway point, the granite wall towered over me. I felt this experience provided a subtle and effective manipulation of the human-scale. It lured me in as a simple curb, then swallowed me whole with its mass. But of course, this entire experience of space was controlled by where I stood and how fast I traveled along the path. As added impact and the true purpose of the monument, thousands of names of the deceased were carved into wall. A record of human lives lost.

A notable fact about this memory is that it does not represent the work of a landscape architect. Thus, I must dig deeper to reveal the distinguishable characteristics of “lasting importance” which remain unique to Landscape Architecture.

Comments (1)

One Response to “Can you feel it?”

  1. That saves me. Thanks for being so sinesble!