Strange Places That Don’t Exist [Urban Artists’ Colony]

This building is something like a monastery, a co-working studio and a slot canyon. Visiting artists spend a season here living and making art in community. It’s a vertical village organized around an extremely tall and narrow central courtyard (the canyon), with a single circulation path of connected halls, ramps and stairs (the trail) spiraling up to a skyward-pointing library and rooftop gardens (the peak).

It’s an austere experience of ascent in the middle of a hectic city, like a sudden hike in the mountains. Visitors to the building progress from the cool shadows of the courtyard floor to the sun-drenched promontory of the rooftops. Residents of this cloistered environment adjust their daily lives to the constant necessity of ascending and descending as they move from any one space to another in the building.

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Strange Places That Don’t Exist [Museum of the Lewis and Clark Expedition]

A journey into the unknown and over a horizon from East to West.

The design for this museum was about capturing the danger, the mystery and the allure of unexplored places. I conceived of this building as an overgrown ruin on a sloping river bank. The entrance is uphill to the east. The exit is at river level to the west. Cast-in-place concrete site walls rise up out of the earth and are nested upon by a kind of primitive alien thing, something like a giant cicada shell or an overturned boat hull inside of which is a gallery housing relics from the Lewis and Clark expedition.

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MAVERICKWORK is an open-ended exploration about inhabiting the world artfully. This blog is for anyone who is interested in things like architecture, mystery, invention, sustainability, simplicity, prayer, fasting, luxury, cities, rituals, stories, relief and development work, gardens and strange objects.

I’m curious about pursuing artfulness in the ways we exist at various scales: in the objects we handle, in the rooms we live in, in the cities we move through, in the landscapes we cultivate and on the planet we steward. Inhabiting the world with artfulness might happen through a humble daily chore or through a sweeping national policy. It might happen through acts of sacrifice or through acts of luxury.

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Jeffersonian Artifact

This is a scaled map of Thomas Jefferson’s Lawn at the University of Virginia. It was made from cast-off machine parts collected from a scrap metal yard. The task was to diagram a place I passed through almost every day in college. In preparation I studied the surroundings of the Lawn and I studied the scrap machine parts I had chosen to work with, and I came up with what I thought would be a straightforward language of symbols using the scrap metal pieces to represent the actual buildings and landforms that I wanted to map.

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