Engineers’ Delight

In the world, the very broad world of ‘engineers’, there are huge works that stun and amaze. There are also smaller works that read very clearly as the ‘engineers’ world’.

Engineers'Delight

Materials, details, scale, colors and content. Definitely ‘Engineers’ world’.

Obsession…but it feels like a fetish…

A fetish?! …an inanimate object with supposed magical powers or because it is considered to be inhabited by a spirit

I have been living the last ten years in a landscape rich with water, rich with soil and rich with plants, the Berner Oberland in Switzerland. Each day this Berner Oberland landscape inspires me. I am happy in and enthused by this Swiss Alp landscape.

But yesterday, I came across an old folder of images that stunned me. Stunned? Yes, because as I went through all 50 of them, they gradually inserted themselves. Internally, I could not understand how the barren emptiness of the Rub al Khali, the Empty Quarter, could elicit such a strange, such a pulsating attraction.

It was just memories, right? Yeah, ten years ago, I lived and worked there for more than a year as the installation manager for the landscape at this resort destination–that had its own memories–but the desert–the Empty Quarter has its own magnetism.

I feel it; but I don’t understand it.

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Credits to the client TDIC, the architecture team of Dubarch/Northpoint, the interior design by Hirsch, Bedner Associates and the landscape architecture team LMS International.

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Comments on the images:

  • Something fundamental, basic. Where there is water, there is life. Where there is no water, there is no life.
  • After water, this Empty Quarter requires protection for safety of life.
  • The sand dunes are the seductive face of the Empty Quarter.
  • Why do you think the Bedouins call it Rub al Khali, the Empty Quarter? 

Islands in the Sky

Islands of trees in the clouds.

This is not augmented reality.

This is not CG.

This is not AI.

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The clouds make these islands in their own time; and they disappear these islands in their own time.

Cloud time is not human time.

Healthy, yet?

For years I lived in the Middle East, the Arabian Peninsula and the Bosphor. For years I lived in Switzerland, the Berner Oberland, Jungfrau Region.

The Middle East was always short of mature well formed trees…for various reasons–not native to the Arabian Peninsula and too heavily human populated–all trees cut up or cut down on the Bosphor.

But in Switzerland, the Berner Oberland, Jungfrau Region human population is low and trees are native.

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This isn’t a golf course. This is pastureland abutting a forest. Humans have been managing this landscape, with local records dating back over 700 years. And this is the result. I love it. I feel at ease, peaceful when viewing this landscape because of the pleasing shape of mature trees…for me, it is the hard work of stewardship–taking care of forests and pastures. Sweet!

 

5 Landscape Architecture Things

…I wish they had taught me at university. Maybe you can suggest others?

  1. All the places where underground utilities are accessed through the landscape surface with requirements and flexibility for placement.
  2. The line items most likely to be big profit items for contractors in unit price landscape construction contracts.
  3. How to write measurement and payment clauses for landscape construction contracts.
  4. Financial positioning and leveraging variables for landscape development in the domains of real estate and architecture.
  5. Advancement pros, cons and how-tos for landscape architecture careers in private sector versus government.

Upper Balconies

Deep in the back row of the upper, upper balconies, which are all full today, you can do whatever you want because no one will see you. Can you hear the sonata?

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Clouds fill the upper balconies. 

‘Lovers’ Caught

…something completely different…speaks for itself…

From a newspaper,

‘A livestock owner, who staked out his pen in a bid to apprehend the thief responsible for his regularly ‘disappearing’ milk, stumbled upon a couple in a compromising position instead.

Unable to pinpoint the reason his goat’s milk vanished everyday, the owner deduced it could be the handiwork of a thief. Crouched in a corner inside the pen, the owner made sure he could clearly watch the entrance and pounce on the thief when needed.

An hour later, a GMC Suburban vehicle stopped near the entrance. Stepping out of the vehicle, an Asian driver and a woman entered the pen and hastened into a room located on the far side.

Waiting awhile, the owner tiptoed towards the room expecting to catch the couple pilfering his goat’s milk. He found no thief and as he barged into the room he froze in his tracks.

Right in front of him, the couple were engaged in a sex session. Shocked to see an uninvited stranger they jumped up in surprise and tried to flee.

Refusing to budge without an explanation, the owner demanded they produce their identity cards that revealed their respective nationalities. The amorous couple further disclosed that they used his pen as a regular rendezvous for their animated meetings and also helped themselves to the available goat milk.

When the owner insisted on producing them at a police station, the woman burst into tears pleading to be forgiven. The Asian too followed suit. Not wanting to blow the issue into scandalous proportions, the owner let the couple off the hook.

*end of story*

My comment–happened in Kuwait twenty some odd years ago, when reporters just told a good story without trying to take a political position or without trying to change the world. I found the story fun to read and without heartburn. Can’t remember the last news story I’ve read this year that came without heartburn. 🙂

I did some landscape stuff while in Kuwait.

KuwaitUniversityMPFurnishings

Not far from Basra, and with a whole lot of Iranian, Iraqi and Palestinian influence.

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And then time passed.

 

Landscape meet Garden

I’ve been writing landscape adventure stories the past couple years, and in a strange fashion, the narrators of each story have taught me new perceptions of landscape architecture and design.

For example, the narrator of Crystal Vision explained to me that landscape harbors danger for humans and that garden is safe and primarily provides for quiet introspection and also for active and regular energy exchange. The narrator explained further that both landscape and garden are deficient if not dominated by plants sustained by adequate water.

Yeah, it did make sense to me, anyone else agree?

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It all happens at the town’s edge.

Walkable Neighborhoods

…just around the corner…

As The Twilight Zone’s Rod Serling might have said: …a street in any town…

My two cents worth… What is at the heart of a comfortably walkable neighborhood?

1. Public ways that have human scale. Like the above.

Comment: Originally built before autos—but still able to accommodate wagons and animals. How can these be built today and meet your local and regional health and safety requirements? Maybe it is time to rethink health and safety requirements?

2. Social communities where people are truly respectful of neighbors. Like the above.

Comment: Where true respect exists, people do not worry about personal effects (see lower right above) being defaced or stolen. Or covered with graffiti and tags which often these days are the first signs of disrespectful neighbors.

Care for a walk?

Cross Cultural

Lived lots of years in foreign countries–foreign cultures.

Cross-cultural are experiences in which I have been face-to-face with people and behaviours I did not understand and often did not agree.

…as opposed to multi-cultural which is theory only.

In my work as a landscape architect in those foreign countries and foreign cultures, I had to build major projects. Had to reach workable agreements in difficult cross-cultural conditions. Learned so very much from so many different people.

The links below track some of my cross-cultural journeys.

They are all HD, all less than one minute long, and they are all growing from the Empty Quarter, the Rub al Khali.

ArabiaFelix

Rub al Khali Enigma: the Empty Quarter in the Arabian Peninsula, what it is.

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Atlantis

Dreams: how to get from dreams to fiction to reality, Atlantis Dubai 2008.

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Qasr

Empty Quarter: transforming cross-cultural realties, harsh environments into restful shelter, Qasr al Sarab 2010.

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GolfAcademy

A Golf Academy in the Empty Quarter?

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