The life and projects of Debbie and Gil carries the essence of the poem ‘Anecdote of the Jar’ by Wallace Stevens. Their meeting, projects and life all happen to be the anecdote of the poem. Their vision and everything is just a beautiful poem.
You can tell it by the way they explain their vision to you. How the journey of discovery and arrival is utmost important and how they perceive it will leave you spell bound. Mitch highlights their enigma, “You’re telling a story through materials, through landscape, through process, through the journey”. The most amazing thing is how even after being a pioneer, they are still fascinated by what architecture and architects have to offer.
It appeals to me that they have always been those people who try to put a jar on the top of the hill and make it go harmonious just like Wallace beautifully did.
They have always been intrigued by the idea of more when all they say they like is less. I will tell you why because when they were given a choice of either hillside or hilltop. They settled for the hillside because they wanted something to ‘go-to’ living by the hillside. This idea dazzles more and more dazzles with the idea of ‘not-more’. Everyone wants more and more, that’s human need, they will be dead if they wouldn’t be needing more.
The most important attribute in anything is belief, trust; and that’s what Gil has on Debbie. They have each other to support, to acknowledge and to fall back to. The way Gil respects Debbie and her opinions have a lot to say, how much respect he has for architectural history, landscape history and conservation. They have the same instinct for things, however different their approach is but at the end of the day, ‘it is easy to work together’ remarks Gil. The idea of history and conserving it makes one more empathetic towards the major bunch. And empathy is what is needed most in this world full of cold and mono-aesthetic architecture. Old is always gold and when preserved it becomes diamond.
The one now understands the need to preserve becomes phenomenal.
Although they had a miraculous fate with respect to the clients I think, they must have most of the time. Made the client fascinated sitting around the table. The way they work as a team, the way architecture and landscape is so seamless, so organic. It fortifies the concept that Architecture and Landscape are a couple, they have blooming love and it will only suffice when both of them will come together and be 100% themselves.
They both come as an asset to each other, from the problem to make it effortless. Landscape does solve a lot of problems and acts as a ‘view’- much needed.
Landscape – close to nature has an impact on both humans and ecosystems. When you grow a small garden you share your world with tonnes of other organisms and that’s where empathy begins. A much appreciated and needed virtue in this stone world. Concreting everything has a major impact on oneself and the others. Need for green should be made loud now!
Much of everything comes from the joy of reading. If a list of books and poems fascinates you. You are bound to make people fancy words and visuals. The much-anticipated quality, which no one talks about, is reading. Poems can have an ephemeral impact on one which they might never feel but feel and respond to. They have a fancy world where one goes to push up their imaginations and fantasies. They talk about books and most of their imaginations have come from the black ink on the paper. Although they agree that the habit of reading nowadays has gone with the wind. And in the end ‘Anecdote of the Jar’ by Wallace Stevens.
I placed a jar in Tennessee,
And round it was, upon a hill.
It made the slovenly wilderness
Surround that hill.
The wilderness rose up to it,
And sprawled around, no longer wild.
The jar was round upon the ground
And tall and of a port in the air.
It took dominion everywhere.
The jar was gray and bare.
It did not give of bird or bush,
Like nothing else in Tennessee.
If you understand the gist of the poem, you will understand that everything is so similar and it just intertwines with everything in ‘Inside/Outside, the Marriage of Architecture and Landscape’.
The learnings from the podcast is much about the art of reading, relationships with one another and people around you. And the way, certain things make you feel, and how can you design something to feel in a certain way. All of this and much more is what is in those forty minutes of joyous ride with Gil, Debbie and Mitch!