Stone Wall; Retention and Walkway

posted, 10/00/06

A early conceptual, click to enlarge

A interesting story behind this conceptual drawing. A drawing that was never finished. A drawing that has become no more than a scrap of paper. A scrap of paper that has become a great reminder.

When 1st challenged to look at this site/drawing I thought this was going to be one of my most difficult and unique challenges. The homeowners had asked me to create a walkway from the back of the house, to the street, that was unique and very artistic.

I immediately thought I would have to use large blocks of sandstone to make this happen and that it would be a challenge to put them together . . . on some type of long graceful curve. The type of curve that would be long, slow, sinewy, sexy. I tend to liken that type of curve to the small of a woman’s back; you know, the perfect curve.

The above drawings were probably the 4th or 5th page of drawings, I remember having a difficult time trying to relate what I was seeing on the site to what I was putting on paper. I couldn’t get the perspective quite right, close but just not there. I remember this drawing being one of the few times I was close to being frustrated with the flow of my work.

This was a point where I could show the conceptuals, these scraps of paper to the homeowners. I went to see them, and could immediately tell something was really wrong. What was it? The concepts? The stone? The flow of the walk? Wow . . . how could I have missed so badly? How wrong I was.

The couple proceeds to calmly tell me that the wife had relapsed in her cancer treatments and the prognosis was not good. They were telling me this in such a way as to not hurt my feelings about how they were canceling the project, to take care of more immediate concerns.

They handled everything with such grace, courage, and dignity . . . very powerful moment. An event that was another dynamic reminder to live every day, every project, every moment as best we can.

I keep that scrap of paper as a reminder of how fleeting, how fragile, how unknowing life can be. She died a few months later.

By Rick Anderson

The Whispering Crane Institute was originally formed to act as the umbrella organization for the Philosophy of Design Symposium, and other seminars and workshops given by Rick Anderson and Richard L. Dube’. In the year 2000 WCI became a sole proprietorship owned by Rick Anderson. Today the WCI provides design and consultation services for Landscape Contractors, acts as a Green Industry think tank, and provides training for others in the form of workshops, seminars, and individual consulting. The WCI also provides written material, opinions, case-studies and how-to articles for industry trade magazines.

1 comment

  1. 2 comments:

    Kati said…

    How sad. It reminds me of one the Four Agreements, according to Don Miguel Ruiz: don’t take anything personally.
    6:59 PM
    Rick Anderson said…

    Okay, I was intrigued so i had to go Google the guy, very interesting.

    I think all Designer’s should learn this. It’s about the client and their site not the Designer and their ego.

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