Monday, March 2, 2009

Building & Landscape Integration

I sketched this a summer or so ago. I cropped the view to show a powerful relationship between the famous covered bridge in Waitsfield and the great rock abutment which forms part of its foundation on the village side of the Mad River.

So much of our practice in Vermont relates to this diagram. We're always building and designing in relation to our landscape. It's inescapable. The river in our valley is a formative element which shapes the linear form of the village where our office is located. The covered bridge springs across it touching both sides of the river in a manner which engages and frames the landscape within the bridge abutments. The wood clapboard, shingle roof and heavy timber trusses speak of the landscape in union with the enormous boulders supporting it's structure.

Like the famous Japanese temple at Edo which is always in a state of building and re-building, this bridge is constantly being touched by craftspeople, timber framers in a continuous cycle of care going back generations. There are elements on the bridge which date back a hundred or more years and others which date back to last fall. The bridge is an example of a living system happening in time.

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