Monday, September 1, 2008

Do The Wave

Maya Lin's "The Wave Field"
on the University of Michigan campus

I get asked a lot, "What does a landscape architect actually do?"
My reply is usually something like "Well, they can do a lot of different things. From small-scale residential design to urban planning, from ecological restoration to regional land planning, from GIS spatial analysis to landscape art." The 'landscape art' thing often results in a bit of confusion. Many people conjure up an images of pastoral landscape paintings and as a matter of fact, do a google search on 'landscape art' and that is exactly what you get. I think perhaps 'landscape sculpture' better captures the idea of utilizing the earth and it's flora as an integral material in a work of art. The Maya Lin sculpture above illustrates that definition at it's most basic form. Manipulating topography as a means to reveal processes.
I am guessing that the guy or gal who has to mow this particular lawn is not terribly impressed. This particular form of art is intriguing to me because it is so experiential and often surprising.

Many visitors to the sculpture are so overwhelmed by the experience that they immediately pass out, as you can see in this photo.

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