25. “Installations by Architects : experiments in building and design” by Sarah Bonnemaison

In anticipation of the first lecture from the Connection Lecture Series with Anderson Anderson Architecture on Wednesday, October 5th (7 – 8:30pm), this week’s library pick is Installations by Architects : experiments in building and design by Sarah Bonnemaison.

In this work, Bonnemaison has compiled fifty different installation projects by architects that span the last twenty-five years. Each project has been grouped under the following themes under critical discussion: tectonics, body, nature, memory, and public space. Anderson Anderson Architecture’s installation can be found in the third section, “Nature.”

Anderson Anderson’s piece is entitled “Prairie Ladder,” and (oddly enough) it resembles the shape of Portland’s intermediate aerial tram support tower beside Interstate 5. It was erected to offer “a different viewing position, one elevated forty-two feet (thirteen meters) above the ground on the uncultivated landscape of Connemara Conservancy […] in northern Texas” (95). It consists of a steel ladder rising at a slight angle to a translucent fiberglass boat-shaped box. Upon entering the structure, the viewer can experience a birds-eye view of the almost infinite expanse of the surrounding area. In this way, Anderson Anderson with Cameron Schoepp have reinvigorated an idea dating back to Henry David Thoreau by creating an environment where viewers find themselves “suddenly neighbor to the birds; not by having imprisoned one” but by inhibiting an alternate space where they can cage themselves “near them” (a quote from Thoreau, 101) in order to study nature from a new point of view and without imposing on nature in order to do so.  More information about the “Praire Ladder” project can be found here.

Other artists included in this collection are: Philip Beesley, Diller + Scofidio, John Hejduk, Dan Hoffman, and Kuth/Ranieri Architects. Interviews and critical discussions about the installations are also provided.


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