The hand of the engraver
Western, R.; Brown, Daniel K.
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Citation:Western, R., Brown, D.K. (2020). The hand of the engraver. Aslyum, 2020/4, 130-137.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/5258
The manner in which we dwell leaves scars upon the landscape that are often left behind long after occupancy ceases. Many derelict landscapes across New Zealand have scars too advanced for remediation. This designled research project proposes that by building upon these scars, rather than ignoring or hiding them, these scars can be reinterpreted as lessons that can help enable future generations to learn from past mistakes. Quartz Reef Point in Central Otago has been selected as the site for this designled research investigation; it is an abandoned strip mine that appears so violated that it has lost all apparent means of restoration or reuse. The damage at Quartz Reef Point strip mine has been caused by ‘scratching’ the surface of the site so severely that natural systems have suffered inexorable damage. In the art of engraving, the surface of a copper plate is also deeply scratched – and the resulting ‘damage’ to the plate allows a story to unfold. This investigation looks at how the art of engraving can be applied to architectural design processes in ways that help tell the story of severely damaged sites such as Quartz Reef Point. Hans-Jörg Rheinberger’s book The Hand of the Engraver: Albert Flocon Meets Gaston Bachelard is used to establish a framework for this investigation. In this book, the architectural engraver Albert Flocon shares dialogues with the architectural philosopher Gaston Bachelard – two distinct points of view about storytelling. The investigation proposes that when these two points of view are integrated with the voice of the architectural designer, the investigation author, new approaches for meaningful architectural interventions can be discovered to help bring the story of Quartz Reef Point to life for future generations. Using Rheinberger’s book The Hand of the Engraver as a generative starting point, the investigation asks the research question: How can the engraver, the philosopher and the architectural designer be brought together to explore new ways of looking at scarred landscapes that not only reinvigorate them, but also offer their tales as important lessons for the future? Site: Quartz Reef Point (Otago, N.Z.)
Keywords:New Zealand, scarred landscapes, landscape architecture, didatic architecture, architectural intervention, sense of place, Quartz Reef Point (Otago, N.Z.)
ANZSRC Field of Research:120107 Landscape Architecture
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