Monday, October 25, 2010

Site Vist

Walking. Listening. Making connections between patterns. Initiating conversations – wood to stone, water to earth, evergreen to ephemeral. This is how I begin.

There’s a nervous anticipation I feel on my way to a site visit – questions – what is the narrative of this place? What is the client’s intention? How does that intention manifest now and where do narrative and intention overlap? How can I foster a dialog between people, places and systems? Exploring human imperative towards order (ectropy) and systems tendency towards chaos (entropy) and their interwoven natures fascinates me. With any installation, I ask what life it will have upon completion as well as what life it will have 5, 10 & 20 years from now.

On site, I can immerse myself in the reality of what is there and begin to understand its relationship to a broader context. Noting details that include existing plantings, how people use the space, infrastructure, and building footprints, I begin to learn the narrative of the place. Every time I visit a place I relearn how to observe and am always amazed by the myriad of ways people and landscape effect each other.

As important as getting to know the site is grasping the context it resides in. All around are indications of systems processes, too many to list, a whole organism within which the site nests. I always feel like I know a place better by walking as much as I can - physically observing how the landscape functions or doesn't as a dynamic system.

Inevitably, over the course of the project, I learn more, and my relationship with the place evolves. There is something invigorating though about that initial nervousness, and the process of being in a new place – which I thoroughly enjoy.