Posts Tagged ‘where not to build’

h1

The seen can also see.

February 13, 2017

Land for Sale

House for Sale

Which is better, house or the hilltop?

Strip Mine

German Castle

Anyone who has driven down an interstate through a hilly or mountainous area in the US has seen these places.  I often wonder what piece of psychology makes a home owner want to live on top of a mountain enough to cut off said mountain top?

Strip mining  for example – I think I just compared a house to a strip mine – is understandable.  Miners must cut off the mountain to get the coal, which makes them a lot of money.  It is what they value.  Big box retailers like Walmart do this too, which is also understandable.  They want to be seen from the freeway.  It brings them more customers.

Historically, people went to considerable trouble to build on promontories as an act of defense, because the locations were hard to attack.  They were very visible, and of course, the seen can also see.  Which may be key to my question.  Maybe the mountain top home owner likes the view.  For a second this is believable, certainly it is what he or she would tell anyone inclined to listen.  Then one realizes that the little house half way down the hillside most likely has an equally breathtaking view, until a “Pile-A-House” was plunked into the main site line, that is!

Romantically – Has the mountain top home owner romanticized the historic castle?  Does he or she think the pile of bricks, mortar, wood panels and asphalt shingles is somehow it’s equal, or perhaps better.  Is there a place for the natural mountain top in this line of thinking?

Unfortunately, I don’t know the answer.  I do wish they would stop it, though!  One thing I know is that a good architect could fit a house up there without making the neighbor want to move.  More population must mean less nature.  Careful consideration of where not to build leads to challenges about how we actually do.  Challenges best met by an architect.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Advertisements
h1

Where not to build.

September 14, 2012

As noted by a sometimes visitor to this blog, the Navajo word for beauty is Hózhó.  The reference reminded me of a studio project I did way back when I was in architecture school.  As you can see from above, it does not contain a building.   The course took place in a location about half way between Taos and Santa Fe called Ojo Caliente.  It was a pretty amazing trip, not a little because we spent time traipsing across the desert with a Native American guide.  Intellectually, the take away from the project had, of course, to do with the importance of harmony between man and the environment, but there was something more which I neither can, nor care to define except to say that it follows me still.

I was raised on a truck farm.  Our neighbor grew Christmas trees for the local market.  At some point he lost interest and the trees that were still in the field were left alone.  Several, accidentally aligned in a semicircle, somehow grew together with large bows fanning out on the ground.  In winter the snow piled up on the limbs and one could stand in the circle and experience silence.  Eventually the place was sold.  The new owner had three daughters with a doting grandfather/handyman.  One day I passed my favorite copse to find that a club house, like an over sized dog house, was plunked exactly dead center.  After that I never saw the children play there, mostly no one went near.  So you see, I already knew that the most important thing to know about building is where not to build.