Here & There and the Genus Loci

Genus loci:  "the prevailing spirit of a place, implying the conscious act of developing the character of a given place rather than imposing a foreign character on it." *

Emil Nolde,  Landscape in Red Light.

Emil Nolde, Landscape in Red Light.

Adapt to your environment, said Alexander Pope some two hundred years ago, create spaces that speak of and to their origins, he entoned: be relevant. Tap into the genus loci. Where the genius locii of lore were protecting spirits of a place, they now stand for a game-changing philosophy in landscape and architectural design.

So then do we design to preserve and protect, or may we interpret?

Meanwhile, down the ages, equipped with a guileless, peripatetic, Stanislavski-esque mode of being, the world has been my library of ways of being, an unfolding collection of universal stories of unwavering diversity, mud-hut after sky-rise after alpine chalet after breeze block. I was the mud-hut, the sky-rise, the alpine chalet and the breeze-block.

From the imperative to be a cultural sponge, what has emerged is a curiosity for the kaleidoscopic nature of innovation and an appreciation for metaphor: the art of translation, which admits the lense of authorship. This genus loci resides de facto in an outsider's interpretation, for the human touch is laced with creativity.

It is perhaps primarily a sensitivity for the here; it says : stop, look, value. A great premise that yet yields nothing without the imagination. In factoring in the genus loci we posit aesthetics as the cultural render given to substance : a vehicle of expression not static, rarely singular, with a true voice. We unleash the irrepressible genie.

 The origin stories of my projects and their formative influences are that of an insider outsider.


*Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture Copyright © 2012, 2002, 1998 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved