Saturday, October 29, 2011

Architecture, Life and Google Earth.

This image on Google earth caught my eye while perusing New Zealand's south island. It reminds me of the sophisticated type of site plan you get when you work with your surroundings. When the rivers and roads, the views and the sun all inform your site and your buildings.

A wonderful site plan, so architectural it looks like a rendering, but is an actual site along Tepako Canal Road on the South Island of New Zealand.
Alvar Aalto was a true master of integrating buildings with their surroundings and I have to thank Kieth Loftin (UCD graduate Architecture professor) for passionately explaining such things to me early in my design career and for forcing his students to draw our site and buildings with a single continuous line over and over until we generated these types of believable arrangements where the topographic lines and the buildings work as one.

Alvar Aalto Site Plan
Of particular note is the shadow line created by the formal tree plantings. It's geometry and massing set the stage for the relationship towards existing portions of the built environment, including the old farms and roads, the new roads and canal, and the surrounding fields that are neither split nor contiguous.

Mt Adams on the PCT, 2011
It is this type design which I've been aspiring too create for 20 years, but have found myself burdened with the details of running a business which continues to displace daily tasks farther and farther away from design.  Recently inspired by hiking 285 miles of Washington along the Pacific Crest Trail (September 2011) coupled with a need for a total life overhaul, I'm very seriously considering thru hiking New Zealand on their newly completed (2011) Te Araroa trail.

Te Auaroa trail, New Zealand.
The trail is 3000 km (over 1800 miles) running from the Northern most tip of the North Island at Cape Reinga all the way to the southern most part of the South Island terminating at a Bluff on Foveaux Straight.  My intent is to hike the whole way this winter (it's summer down there!) and then come back mid April and hike the entire PCT. 

dbBrad on the PCT with nothing but a backpack and happy!

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