Modernism: so, it is curious to why he

Modernism: Lawrence Halprin


Lawrence Halprin said “wilderness areas where we can be
truly alone with ourselves and where nature can be sensed as the primeval
source of life.” (Walker, pp. 153-154(1994)) This view can be seen in some
of his work, however often it doesn’t seem nature as the main interest, it is
used rather as focal points: such as the shrubbery and trees as seen in the
lower images. The free and natural trees are highlighted by his harsh
controlled use of brutalism in his work; generating a unique and surreal scene
which grabs more attention and are iconic to his work. The harsh angles in the concrete
intrigue and add character to the landscape making it more inviting and characterised.


It is interesting that Halprin articulates that sites “…where we can
truly be alone and where nature can be sensed are the primeval source of life”,
as most of his works are presented in cities and urban environments; not
private areas where you can rarely “be alone”; so, it is curious to why he said
this. Conceivably he meant that his landscapes could cause you to forget about your
surroundings such as in the busy city, and transport you to a different place,
one calmer are more tranquil. I think Halprin creates this effect via the use
of natural resources; within a lot of his work running water is a key feature, its
ability to break over the harsh man made concrete and bricks gives the illusion
of freedom, what is more it has a calming effect on people. What is more water
is often referred to as the building block of life, and we can assume that this
is what Halprin was denoting too when he said “primeval
source of life”.





Some of Halprin’s work in recent years have has been
neglected and has descended into a damaged state within recent years; they have
been described as dated.  Some of his
projects have been threatened to be revitalised, perhaps due to budgetary

Many of his landscapes can be interacted with the public; meaning

Halprin’s collaborated with his wife Anna Halprin on the “Portland
Open Space Sequence”; creating interactive fountains and plazas; it was an
experimental creation for city’s first scrape-and-rebuild urban renewal project,
its refreshing and original design set it as one of Portland’s leading and instrumental
pieces of architecture. Open public spaces, especially plazas became the main feature
of Halprin’s career as a landscape architect; and his creation of remaking the
city around interactive public spaces.

Halprin’s landscapes were so radical and valued due to the introduction of fun,
and play into a time where the cities main interest was work and shopping. He
created this effect by making his plazas and fountains interactable; allowing the
public to enter the fountains for amusement.