Also thanks to everyone that helped me at the Home show.
Thanks to everyone who dropped by our booth over the weekend. We had a great interest and some fun conversations and quite a few good leads that we will be following up on.
Also thanks to everyone that helped me at the Home show.
On a recent trip to Mexico I could not help but notice the resort's front driveway, made of the local river rock. They are all carefully placed and concreted together, which must have taken some time to get done. A large fountain into the front entry, with lights on at nighttime is incorporated right in the roadway.
There are also a number of paths that wander the grounds with lovely granite edging embracing several large trees so close to the edge of the path, with their roots almost cascading over the edges.
There is an interesting tree phenomenon of the host and the parasite, and eventually the parasite tree will kill off the host tree. So many interesting things to see when you travel and look for something out of the normal.
Parks are not just for summer or good weather uses, there is this special park (close to my family’s home) in Ouray, Colorado. The Ouray Ice Park is a human made ice climbing venue operated in a spectacular natural gorge on the Uncompahgre River. The Ouray Ice Park currently has over one mile of vertical terrain and over 200 ice and mixed climbs stretching along the Uncompahgre Gorge.
Well its that time of year that Skye and I pack up and visit family back in Colorado. We enjoy doing the road trip listening to our favourite tunes and then at the end of the two days Skye loves to run in the snow and I can appreciate the quiet of the snow in the Aspen trees.
Tress have this marvellous calming affect and all can be forgotten, its like Forest Bathing that Diana Beresford Kroeger often talks about. The healing affect on the body and mind, just in time for Christmas celebrations.
Montalvo, a story in lights
Montalvo Arts Center, located on 175 acres in Saratoga Hills CA, is the location of Bruce Munro’s first exhibition of artworks inspired by a single underlying source text, C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia.
“Bruce Munro at Montalvo is the most ambitious, impactful exhibition Montalvo has ever presented,” said Executive Director Angela McConnell. “…we believe this show will elevate Montalvo—and the town of Saratoga—to increased relevance and prestige in the national and international art scene.”
This exhibit showcases the range of Munro's talents. Not only is there a beautiful garden setting (at night), and a stately manor (now an art centre), Munro adds a well laid out field of light sweeping up to the manor house.
Beyond the field of light, there are eight more ingenious exhibitions featuring in one, light entangled with recyclable soda bottles and in another, a unique illumination of garden flamingos. All very distinct from the other two installations we have seen this past year following Bruce Munro around the world.
Gathering of the Clans is an impressive installation utilizing black lights, and probably the most unique of all is Reepicheep's Wave, an exquisite, complex curtain of ever changing light coupled with an eerie auditory wave that is so fascinating you need to force yourself to look away.
It's not that we're following Bruce Munro around Australia, it's just that his art projects are showing up where we go. We travelled to Albany, Australia in October to visit family and discovered to our surprise and delight Bruce Munro's Field of Light - Avenue of Honour project which opened on October 4. Commemorating 100 years since the end of WWI and Albany as the location from where Anzac (Australia and New Zealand Army Corps) troops departed to enter the conflict.
The massive art installation features 16000 fibre optic lights displayed beneath trees planted to honour soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice. This beautiful tribute is illuminated at sunset and is free to all. Unlike the Field of Light at Uluru in Australia's Red Centre, the Avenue of Honour Field of Light is powered from mains power, not solar power and is much brighter and much easier to access.
A Landstory correspondent was in Scotland and discovered an amazing monument, called the Kelpies, dedicated to the contribution of horses in transportation throughout history.
It was completed in 2013 by artist Andy Scott, and set in a park next to canals that used horses to pull the barges along the waterways, also with other early forms of transport. It's a massive work of art, made out of fabricated steel and standing 30m high, it's illuminated at night and is visible for miles around.
Another beautiful example of landscape architecture designed to surprise and delight!
One of my colleagues recently visited Edmonton and wasted no time in visiting the new Aga Khan Garden at the University of Alberta Botannical Gardens. With nearly a decade of planning and 18 months of construction, the Aga Khan Garden, recently opened to the public. This spectacular garden is unlike anything in North America – 4.8 hectares of modern architectural beauty inspired by Mughal traditions, designed for the Edmonton region’s climate and topography.
There are clean lines with dazzling water features and perfect symmetry, the use of limestone, marble and other stone work captures the beauty of this garden. It was interesting all the gardens are of a rectangular nature, but the planting lines are curved and use a blend of grasses and flowering plants to give it a lovely movement In the breeze.
Generally the traditional Islamic garden is water and shade, not surprisingly since Islam came from and generally spread in a hot and arid climate. Unlike English gardens, which are often designed for walking, Islamic gardens are intended for rest and contemplation, thus there are many areas for viewing and sitting.
Earlier this summer I managed to juggle some time off to go four wheel driving and exploring in Washington state and the back country discovery route. This is a very remote area, which follows Mountain ridge line. We started from Portland Oregon travelling north east to the Canadian border.
As this was so remote it meant we had to carry everything from drinking water to tents, etc. The adventure took us through many types of terrain, from deep forest to open arid desert, and we also explored areas which had been destroyed by a wild fire. Some of the areas had been burned as recent as two years ago and others five plus.
From my experience when a fire sweeps through a forest it destroys everything but, the greenery will eventually grow back. It's a lot like looking at life and death at the same time. It's like a display of history in the forest. What I did learn was in some of these burnt areas, some of the older Douglas fir trees have survive as they have thicker bark, but the fire does clean the forest floor and it made us feel like being an alien in the forest. It has the isolation and remoteness that not many people would experience.
Fires in the landscape can be a good thing like in Australia, there the bush fires are a natural cycle in nature and are needed for regeneration of species. But here in North America they destroy just about everything and can take decades before they recover, and in most cases need human intervention for replanting. We need to think about putting a value on trees that are alive and not cut down.
While completing my Masters in Landscape Architecture, I spent over a year researching and writing about the use of a garden and landscape for recovering alcoholics. Below are the highlights from a design project that resulted from my research, which is now being considered for publication:
For recovering alcoholics, taking a life that is going in a negative direction and turning it around into something positive, is a starting point in the healing process. This is the theme I used for this design when I realized that the site chosen for this project was negative space.
Just as a recovering alcoholic’s life can be rediscovered and reframed as a positive identity, a mature tree was re-framed as a gathering place in the new design. While not beautiful, the tree had character. Shade from older trees cannot be replaced in just a few years, and this tree had a wide canopy. It provided a sense of place, history or heritage.
Many alcoholics were unable to maintain their obligations in society, and they are often viewed as people who cannot be trusted. When they enter recovery, this is a hurdle to overcome because trust takes so long to rebuild. Sometimes it can never be rebuilt. That’s why new paths must be forged to carry on with a normal life again.
A big part of the social support for AA members is in the act of storytelling. It is a way to build community as stories are told and added into the collection of that group’s stories. The individual’s story is absorbed to become part of the collective story of the group that members can relate to and learn from. The group’s stories also help the healing process for recovering alcoholics who have suffered a significant amount of memory loss due to blackouts while under the influence of alcohol. A blackout is a time for which a person has no memory of their time or actions.
The healing garden has proven to be a great place for social interaction within a medical setting and is a strong component for social support. One activity directly related to landscape architecture is horticultural therapy. The sobriety park is designed to be a place where the users can work together to plant and maintain a garden. A sense of ownership is generated while caring for the plants. The garden becomes a part of them while their own history is a part of the garden’s history. When providing input into a space, they take some pride in their work and reap the rewards for their labors. Horticultural therapy can help to develop a sense of accomplishment, ownership and creative expression.
“Gardening combines physical, mental, and emotional involvement and stimulates an interest in the future. What makes horticultural therapy unique is that, unlike most other activity therapies, it is based on a living medium. Caring for a plant is comparable to establishing a contract with that plant. It requires someone with responsibility, time and energy.” (Gough 1986, 165)
Articles on the design process is a journey - a story if you will - using the distinguishing qualities of the space; it's form and function, it's beauty and utility.