By Laurie Olin
"Twenty-eight years in the past I went to England for a three-month stopover at and leisure. What i discovered replaced my life."
So starts off this memoir by way of one among America's best-known panorama architects, Laurie Olin. Raised in a frontier city in Alaska, knowledgeable in Seattle and long island, Olin came across himself upset along with his task as an city architect and approved a call for participation to England to take a respite from paintings. What he stumbled on, in abundance, was once the serendipity of a human surroundings equipped over the years to answer the land's personal personality and to the folks who lived and labored there. For Olin, the English nation-state used to be a palimpsest of the main eloquent and relocating kind, but whose manifestation was once of normal structures intended to guard their population and extra their work.
With evocative language and beautiful line drawings, the writer takes us again to his advent to the scenes of English state cities, their historical universities, meandering waterways, and dramatic cloudscapes racing in from the Atlantic. He limns the geologic histories stumbled on in the rock, the near-forgotten histories of place-names, and the new histories of educate strains and car routes. evaluating the expansion of creating within the English geographical region, Olin attracts a few sobering conclusions approximately our glossy way of life and its expanding separation from the landscape.
As a lot a plea for saving the trendy American panorama because it is a passionate exploration of what makes the English panorama so ordinarily English, Across the Open Field is "an affectionate ramble via genuine areas of lasting worth."
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Extra info for Across the open field : essays drawn from English landscapes
It is not a numbing quietude like the oppressive silence and weight of the midday sun in the tropics, but rather a calm openness that allows one to move about and to think clearly, to concentrate thoughtfully, uninterrupted for pleasantly long periods of time. Despite the occasional farm machine or airplane purring past overhead, it was in Buckland that I was reintroduced to life before transistors and recaptured a sense known in my childhood but forgotten since of how the world sounded to Lincoln and Beethoven, to Samuel Johnson and William Kent on their rural sojourns.
Although the literature and history of architecture are extensive, that of the history of the landscape seemed at first to be quite small. Later I realized that the history of everything else was really the history of the landscape. Everything related. The literature that told the story of the landscape was unending. My early suspicion that the invention of the eighteenth-century landscape garden was neither so simple nor so homespun as the more popular texts of the day asserted was eventually to prove true, as scholars have shown in the nearly thirty years following my initial visit to England as they dug deeper into records and events of the period.
Another, consisting of two levels with the dam disguised by a well-placed clump of trees, clearly uses devices I absorbed at Buscot and Stourhead. Matters of craft as utilized in such work are not merely an issue of technical details, but central to the realization of design ideas. Likewise knowledge of the many examples of large-scale tree moving and planting and of agriculture (especially soil preparation) and industrial logistics proved to be of great help later when my office became engaged in large urban projects, such as the streets and esplanades of Battery Park City, New York, and the streets, parks, and squares of Canary Wharf, and Exchange Square at Bishopsgate in London, as well as projects for corporate and private estates.
Across the open field : essays drawn from English landscapes by Laurie Olin