Modernism: Lawrence Halprin Lawrence Halprin said “wilderness areas where we can betruly alone with ourselves and where nature can be sensed as the primevalsource of life.” (Walker, pp. 153-154(1994)) This view can be seen in someof his work, however often it doesn’t seem nature as the main interest, it isused rather as focal points: such as the shrubbery and trees as seen in thelower images.
The free and natural trees are highlighted by his harshcontrolled use of brutalism in his work; generating a unique and surreal scenewhich grabs more attention and are iconic to his work. The harsh angles in the concreteintrigue and add character to the landscape making it more inviting and characterised. It is interesting that Halprin articulates that sites “…where we cantruly 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; notprivate areas where you can rarely “be alone”; so, it is curious to why he saidthis.
Conceivably he meant that his landscapes could cause you to forget about yoursurroundings 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 useof natural resources; within a lot of his work running water is a key feature, itsability to break over the harsh man made concrete and bricks gives the illusionof freedom, what is more it has a calming effect on people. What is more wateris often referred to as the building block of life, and we can assume that thisis what Halprin was denoting too when he said “primevalsource of life”. Some of Halprin’s work in recent years have has beenneglected and has descended into a damaged state within recent years; they havebeen described as dated.
Some of hisprojects have been threatened to be revitalised, perhaps due to budgetaryconstraints.Many of his landscapes can be interacted with the public; meaningHalprin’s collaborated with his wife Anna Halprin on the “PortlandOpen Space Sequence”; creating interactive fountains and plazas; it was anexperimental 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 instrumentalpieces of architecture. Open public spaces, especially plazas became the main featureof Halprin’s career as a landscape architect; and his creation of remaking thecity 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. Hecreated this effect by making his plazas and fountains interactable; allowing thepublic to enter the fountains for amusement.