Architectural Autobiography

One could not better define the sensation produced by music than by saying that it is identical with that evoked by contemplation of the interplay of architectural forms. Goethe thoroughly understood that when he called architecture ‘frozen music.’” 1

—Igor Stravinsky

This quote from the great Twentieth-century composer artfully evokes in metaphoric vernacular the elegant, undeniable intersection between music and architecture—an intersection that I explore (formally and consciously) in my dual career as landscape architect and composer.

As a landscape architect, my environmental narrative is primarily a consequence of three discrete but interrelated influences: the physical environments that are particular to my life’s history and experience; the economic, cultural and educational influences that have, in large part, shaped my ideological, social and philosophical perspectives; and the parallel pursuit of music as both a passion and a vocation. I believe that the confluence of these influences has significantly moulded my awareness of the nuanced interplay between aesthetics and function and theory and practice, of the delicate balance between personal expression, utility and application, and of the order and relationships between competing needs, disciplines and ideals.

My early adulthood was spent in several geographically distinct regions of the mid-western United States: central Ohio, middle and lower Michigan and eastern Illinois. I’ve lived in “the south,” too—in the “hill country” of Austin, Texas and now the yellow-pine, ochre-clay landscapes of eastern and central North Carolina. I have also had the privilege to travel throughout Europe and Asia, but the landscapes that are imprinted most indelibly into my spirit are those from my childhood and adolescence in Appalachia.

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