Spatial Concepts: Elevation Changes
We all spend our days in a variety of indoor and outdoor spaces…our houses, places of work, stores, malls, churches, parks, highways, our gardens. Yet, most of us have a very limited vocabulary for talking about what makes some places amazing and others forgettable, if not outright unpleasant. How can we communicate about place better? How can we create better, more comfortable, more meaningful spaces?
Spatial concepts should be easily accessible. With the help of Sacajawea, Princess Louise and their friends in Design Land, we can compare their perceptions to real life occurrences in nature, in architecture, and in the built landscape to help us figure out what makes the best space. We’ll start this series with exploring the concept of elevation change.
Here’s Sacajawea….standing by herself in Design Land. But, standing on the saucer…an elevated plane…her whole perspective changes. Varying the plane alters our perspective of a space.
Look at my view of Sipi Falls in Eastern Uganda…and contemplate David’s view, standing on a rock outcropping higher up.
Think about how different planes, although visually connected, define the shopping mezzanine and the waiting area at Heathrow airport.
In the landscape ISD designed, consider how we differentiated the house, the dining room and the living room of this outdoor space with changes in elevation. The spaces are separated from the others by just one step. The transitions are comfortable, while accommodating the slope. Each space provides independant function, yet flows to the next gracefully.
Manipulating planes and vertical forms successfully, and creating meaningful spaces present challenges in the landscape because there’s always the context of what’s already there. The landscape is rarely a blank slate. Sites can be flat, can present elevation changes in multiple directions, or have hills in awkward locations.
Resolving elevation and sculpting the land successfully is one of the hallmarks of quality landscape design. Working with talented designers (like us at Ivy Street Design) can take this potential challenge and create a space that feels like it is meant to be.