Places. What are places? Do you have a favorite place? Is there a place that you need to go, to get away, to clarify, to download, to decompress, to escape or just to BE? I imagine for most of us the answer would be yes. It certainly is for me. Living in Florida there really wasn’t a “place” for me to go to accomplish any of the above listed things. It was more a state of being that I had to go to, a refuge in my own mind. That state has always only be achieved when running.
But now, living in Arkansas, there is a actual place I can go. The top of Pinnacle Mountain, which is, quite literally, around the corner from my house. And, there’s nothing particularly magical or mystical about Pinnacle. It’s a mountain, much like any other in this part of the US, but for me it’s the first I’ve ever climbed. It’s the highest peak I’ve ever sat atop and quite frankly the first time I made it to the top was….well, magical. It was quiet, serene, peaceful, majestic, and a little humbling.
So, when I sat down
two minutes ago to write this post, it got me thinking about the idea of “place” and not just in the sense of identification, but in the larger sense of having something more, something intangible that evokes a response from people. As architects, it’s our job to design and construct buildings. These building serve a function, provide a necessary service to society, but more than the visceral function of a building we are creating places. If we’re not thinking beyond the basic requirements of our client’s needs for a building and moving on to the larger context of the impact on it’s surroundings, then we have failed to create, we have failed to improve and strengthen the larger fabric of our society. We have failed as architects if we do not at least try for something more in our practice.