Becky Heavner, MLA Blog

mind the gap

The field of landscape architecture is entering a new era. I think I feel it. Recently, I was in Austin, Texas attending a conference on landscape architecture. At the last minute, I changed my choice and entered a lecture a few minutes late. At the end, when questions were voiced, Anne Whiston Spirn, the third lecturer said, she had never seen research quite like the first two presentations. I too had been captivated by the research. These young voices had made and tested prototypes. If the profession of landscape architecture is not  doing then it is important to make and do yourself.  It was almost as if this conversion with myself  was heard. Anne turned and asked the room of people if they also felt the field was changing. I think I felt it in that room. She asked “are other landscape architects making things like this and borrowing from other fields like industrial design? People agreed, Rhino is now being used and Processing to represent the data. I thought about my own experiments. If something is happening but not verbally acknowledged, it takes longer for change to happen. It was important for this photographer to voice something that some designers know. Yes, landscape architects use Rhino, Grasshopper and Processing. But more importantly, I believe she was saying landscape architects feel the need to  make. Perhaps the field has been slipping into a gap, and now looking for a way out.

Today, I sat and listened to a sermon looking for a relevant message to take to heart. The minister spoke of a gap or void and of lost love. He said the  intensity of love can’t be understood without a gap. It is important not  to try to fill voids, but  know they exist because intensity can’t be felt without them.