In 2002 or so, architect Malcolm Wells (the illustrator of Liquid Gold as well as many books on underground homes) mailed to his friends color copies of his alternative vision for a Twin Towers memorial.
Mac was unimpressed by Liebskind’s and others’ proposals for a tower that thrust into the sky tauntingly.
Mac’s vision was for a bowl planted on every other level with plantings that insulated and oxygenated the site. Offices would be built into the earth.
A theme of healing, not aggression.
(I hope to find Mac’s original text soon.)
View from Hermit Island (from Unofficial Hermit Island website)
Thanks to the hermit, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001 will be memorable to me even without the catastrophe that branded the date—”Nine Eleven”—into history.
The weekend leading up to Nine Eleven started in the dashing fashion typical of that eventful 2001 for me. Anja Brüll and I left Concord, Mass. early Friday evening, driving through the dark to the Harvard Forest center in central Mass. to meet my friend Bob, Harvard Design School’s landscape-ecology professor, and his class of 25 landscape-architecture students. We showed slides illustrating our version of Design with Nature: Me on landscape-based wastewater-cleaning methods and Anja on her Bio-Dome atrium that sheltered an Eden that could clean water and soil. Anja’s presentation proved far more popular. Who could blame these students? They, like most, were entranced by this tall, lean 31-year-old German with wavy blonde hair and form-fitting pants and jacket who planned to clean the world’s polluted industrial sites with her cooling tower-shaped greenhouses.
Bob thought we were staying the night there, but we left late, driving for hours down dark country roads to the highway and more dark roads to Brunswick, Maine, passing a brightly lit subsection of a 9-floor steel ship under construction at the Bath shipworks, turning at the “chocolate church” landmark, and pulling up to a charming 18th-century house to meet up with my friend Abe Collins and his friend Mike. We found them in the kitchen at 2 a.m. nibbling grapes and cheese, and giggling. Abe and Mike were either inebriated or high or both, but Mike sobered up to give us a tour of the charming sea captain’s house in which he grew up. In the morning, we piled into Abe’s beat-up Isuzu truck, stopped for blueberry scones and drove on to our destination and Mike’s inheritance: Hermit Island.
Hermit Island is a spit of land connected by a causeway to one of Maine’s Continue reading
In the 1970s and ’80s, British brothers Lorne and Lawrence Blair chronicled their journeys in Borneo and the Spice Islands in the dazzling and memorable documentary, “Ring of Fire.”
The jovial, monocle-wearing Lawrence led the adventures, accompanied by his lanky, handsome brother, Lorne. I watched a re-issue of the documentary on public television in the ’90s. So much of it has stayed with me, including the epilogue, which begins with Lawrence’s early death after breaking a leg. Here, Lorne describes how the family prepared Lawrence’s body to be “dissolved by the sea he so loved”…”there’s none of this morbid intoning from the pulpit ‘dust to dust, ashes to ashes,’ there they are. You’re not saved from it. You have to touch it. So in a way it’s purifying, actually. You know by the end of it… they’re gone.” (story begins around 4:00):