Get Across the open field : essays drawn from English landscapes PDF

By Laurie Olin

"Twenty-eight years in the past I went to England for a three-month stopover at and leisure. What i discovered replaced my life."

So starts off this memoir by way of considered one of America's best-known panorama architects, Laurie Olin. Raised in a frontier city in Alaska, informed in Seattle and ny, Olin discovered himself disenchanted together with his task as an city architect and permitted a call for participation to England to take a respite from paintings. What he came across, in abundance, was once the serendipity of a human setting equipped over the years to reply to the land's personal personality and to the folk who lived and labored there. For Olin, the English nation-state used to be a palimpsest of the main eloquent and relocating kind, but whose manifestation used to be of standard structures intended to safeguard their population and extra their work.

With evocative language and beautiful line drawings, the writer takes us again to his creation to the scenes of English kingdom cities, their old universities, meandering waterways, and dramatic cloudscapes racing in from the Atlantic. He limns the geologic histories came upon in the rock, the near-forgotten histories of place-names, and the hot histories of educate strains and automobile routes. evaluating the expansion of establishing within the English nation-state, Olin attracts a few sobering conclusions approximately our sleek way of life and its expanding separation from the landscape.

As a lot a plea for saving the trendy American panorama because it is a passionate exploration of what makes the English panorama so commonly English, Across the Open Field is "an affectionate ramble via genuine areas of lasting worth."

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Extra resources for Across the open field : essays drawn from English landscapes

Sample text

While the results in his work have proved to be markedly mixed, it was inspirational stuff. Thus, while I sat drawing on the downs and paced off the widths of allees, I never for a moment thought I would do anything other than strive to make new works, modern landscapes. At the same time I also knew that somehow they would be informed by all of this. I hadn't the faintest idea what the work I intended to make eventually would look like, but conceived of it as being in some way layered and built up with memories, both personal and collective, derived from specific locations, former events and presences, and finally of programmatic uses and everyday materials.

The age-old pull between the poles of city and country was as strong as ever. As soon as I was ensconced in this peaceful farming scene and had caught up on my sleep, I began to notice and truly miss the remarkable, great, and wonderful- even beautiful- things about cities. Simultaneously, I was delighted to be rid of the irritating, loathsome, and sometimes deadening or frightening aspects of modern urban life. The contrast was made all the more vivid by juxtaposing London, Dr. Johnson's "Great Wen"- my newly discovered "Great City of the World" in all of its bustling, sprawling fascination - with this sleepy little Berkshire village.

A lawnmower whirs somewhere in the distance. Someone begins to make the small, sharp noises of hoeing weeds in a kitchen garden beyond a wall. All of these noises are those of normal life in a small town or village, and can be heard and considered only because of the larger context of quiet that lies over the valley like a great golden drowse. It is not a numbing quietude like the oppressive silence and weight of the midday sun in the tropics, but rather a calm openness that allows one to move about and to think clearly, to concentrate thoughtfully, uninterrupted for pleasantly long periods of time.

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