Archive for architecture

i c e l a n d

Posted in architecture, art, beauty, iceland, landscape, light, lighthouse, mountains, scent, senses, symbology, time, travel, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 25, 2014 by dacarc

the alchemy of a place


indescribable, dreamy, mystical, stunning, disorienting


the visible elements:

lush green fields rolling under jagged peaks, washed in swaths of violet lupine




stark glaciers falling into the ocean’s horizon







endless lava deserts, blanketed in thick moss




split chasms, cracked earth fissures


photo by tim girvin


milky blue lakes of steaming minerals, thrusting from deep underground





heavy timber structures emerging, of the earth, stone-walled, turf sheltered






rushing waterfalls, slicing over sheer rock mesas downward to the sea







mist-shrouded peaks, veiled mysteries




never-ending light, midnight sun


standing stones, cairns, and rock-circles





ice-shards, crystalline boulders streaming over black sand shores





ancient codes, runes, and magical sigals




bands of wild horses, roaming over lush green valleys




the people, shielded by the powers of their natural island-world








the invisible elements:

the scent of green, wet stone, salt-waters



the desolation of no-where




the absence of night








dark histories, volcanic destructions




the chilled misted, crystalline air




the heat of underground forces




a place of mystery


photo by tim girvin


a magic place






and the enduring strength of the people



i c e l a n d


japan spring

Posted in architecture, beauty, japan, landscape, light, marketplace, travel, trees with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 13, 2014 by dacarc

endless reminders

that beauty is sacred

in the care of the natural world

in the fine details of architecture

in the elaborate displays of costume

in the bolting sleek speed of the the shinkansen

in the still fluidity of raked rock gardens

in the balance of shelter and wilderness

in the clear pathways of deep bamboo groves

where you feel the spirits gathered

in celebration of all that is

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time architecture – spain.6

Posted in architecture, energy, spain, time, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 26, 2012 by dacarc

i’ve considered the theory that time isn’t real – that it is simply our perceptive distance from the energy imprint of an event, a construct of our human condition that places us in this world in a way that we can comprehend, that it is simply a human limitation, not a reality.

the narrative time confluence that we frame our world and our lives around is simply a fabrication.

the concept of flow is interesting in it’s relationship to this reflection – that we are part of this flow, the vast confluence of an infinite number of occurrences, all interwoven – like an unfathomable cosmic river that we are dropped  into, in our present moment, and if we could simply swim upstream or leap downstream, we’d still be in that flow, just in a different place.

is that why those structures that manifest layers of imprints become magnetic to so many of us? why thousands or millions continue to be drawn to those places  – generation after generation?  is that where we can see this flow and sense the echo of those events that occur upstream or downstream? is that why we want to create that physical imprint – so that we can re-discover it, generations later? i wonder..

world of wonders – soul of place

Posted in architecture, dreams, energy, landscape, memory, time, travel, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 5, 2010 by dacarc

 what is a place of wonder? why are some places full of wonder. what makes a place wonder full? 

treasure cave - cliffs of taktsang monastery, bhutan

which is more full of wonder – the creations of humanity or natural wonders? how would you choose only seven?

great buddha at kotoku-in temple, kamakura, japan

how do some places capture the essence of a culture,  an era, a civilization, an empire?

great wall of china

do places of wonder hold the power of the dreams, the collective spirit of a people?

holding sun and ocean

where are the energy lines, the intersections of spiritual resonance, epicenters of power?

borobudur and mount merapi - java, indonesia

are there places where your dreams are entwined with those that have come before?

humayun's tomb - delhi, india

i’m wandering in the world of wonders, looking for the soul of place, seeking the spirit held within our dreams.

bamboo forest - kyoto, japan

year of light

Posted in architecture, light, time, Uncategorized with tags , , on January 1, 2010 by dacarc

seattle space needle - 2010


wishing for you 

a new year 

reveling in  light 


the scent of place

Posted in architecture, bhutan, florence, fragrance, memory, scent, time, travel, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 30, 2009 by dacarc

how do we create captivating places that hold in our memories – that draw us back over and over, that linger in our minds, pulling us to them again?  in the design of places, i’ve been thinking about captivation and memory.  why places draw my attraction or repulsion, why places pull me in – and what is striking about the nature of memorable places?  

rose window

rose window



the power of the link between memory and scent deepens the connection to the experience of place.  the more i’ve explored the idea, my experience is heightened – like smelling in technicolor.  many of my most powerful memories of places can be triggered by scent.  

last summer, i met lorenzo villoresi in his atelier in florence – surrounded by thousands of essences he has collected from travels all over the world, i asked him about the idea of scent in architecture or place, rather than the personal fragrance that he is most known for creating.  he shared this book with me “invisible architecture, experiencing places through the sense of smell”, a wonderful exploration of this concept.  

lorenzo villoresi - florence, italy

lorenzo villoresi - florence, italy


in the hills above florence we explored one of the few iris farms dedicated to the production of the essence.  as he explained, the iris essence is nearly 10 times the cost of most essences “notes” as the nose calls them.  the rare iris essence is extracted from iris bulbs – the flower has no scent.  the bulbs are re-planted after shaving off the bottom two-thirds, macerating, drying and powderizing.  

iris bulb harvest - tuscany

iris bulb harvest - tuscany


iris collection arbor - tuscany

iris collection arbor - tuscany


dried iris bulbs - tuscany

dried iris bulbs - tuscany


 i still remember being stricken by memory through scent when i picked up an old perfume bottle from a friend’s dresser, and was overwhelmed with the memory of my babysitter from preschool years, whom i hadn’t seen or thought of for more than 10 years – her presence was powerfully evoked to that moment through her fragrance.  it wasn’t dragon’s blood – i don’t even know the name of that perfume, but i know that i can recognize that scent again 20 years later. 

dragon's blood - pharmacia in florence, italy

dragon's blood - pharmacia in florence, italy


i gravitate toward the scent of wood, wet fir, earth, leaves and tangled underbrush from the misted forests of my early childhood – those scents transport me back to the earth in my mouth and leaves in my hair as i tumbled down a fern-covered ravine.
forest path

forest path


about six months before i travelled to bhutan, bertrand duchaufour created a fragrance for l’artisan, the french perfumer – named dzongkha – that is the national language of bhutan. this fragrance he created was based upon his travels in bhutan – when i found this fragrance i was very intrigued.  dark, smoky, woody – scents that i love, gave me a preview of what i was to experience in the himalayan temples of this small buddhist kingdom.  i fell in love, with both the fragrance, and the place.  i’ve kept that fragrance close since that journey, and it transports me there.
bhutan temple

bhutan temple


i’ve been imagining a place – a new project, a building made of materials selected based upon their embodied scent. no drywall, no paint, no glues – beyond non-toxic.  pure materials, and their response to wind, sunlight, chill, and rain – the changing of the seasons, the climate, the cycles of day to night.  would that place be memorable? 

a sense of time

Posted in architecture, bhutan, dreams, java, light, morocco, ruins, time, turkey, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on March 30, 2009 by dacarc
spinning prayer wheels - clockwise - bhutan

spinning prayer wheels - bhutan

architecture is design in at least four dimensions.  there are more dimensions i wonder about, that physicists theorize on – 10, maybe 11 dimensions – though they are not physically evident.  translating the others into concrete, or even words, is an obscured, mystical and magical act –  like the infusion of spiritual and magical powers into layered metals in the making of the keris blade. 

this master keris maker – a national treasure of java (who passed away only months after our time together), told of the final fusion – made during days, maybe weeks of meditation – no eating, no sleeping – a trance-like state where the spirit and magic of the blade is evoked.  it is physically manifest in the intricate layered metal patterns on the finished blade, and serves as powerful protection to the family for whom it is made – it takes about one year to complete the process of folding and fusing metals in the creation of one blade.

javanese keris master - national treasure

javanese keris master - national treasure

keris maker's workshop - java

keris maker's workshop - java

what dimension is this?  on a neverending exploration into realms only glimpsed, returning to the fourth dimension seems simple.  time is powerfully and clearly the fourth dimension that is embodied in architecture – and when not considered as essential to the foundation of a design – it is powerfully and tragically missing.  architecture defines the passing of the day – dawn to dusk to midnight, the passing of the season – heat, wind, rain, snow, the passing of eras, the rise of empires, the dissolution of cultures. 
istanbul mosque

bursa mosque


bhutan - rammed earth structure

bhutan - rammed earth structure

when i look at buildings i see time – forgotten or treasured.  i see the evidence of time – through the weathered patina of materials, the craft and construction of the culture, the purpose of the structure reflecting the industry of its time.  i see the line and wave of people moving from one place to another, mixing across cultures and landscapes – the alchemic mix of east and west, islam and christian, buddhist and animist, merchant and shintoist, dutch farmer and frontier settler… 

skagit valley barn

skagit valley barn

i see strata of time, layered one over another. of one time, re-made anew, or left to dissolve..

essaouira morocco

essaouira morocco

palouse agricultural outpost

palouse agricultural outpost

as we draw, we can move from left to right (width), forward and backward (depth), and upward and downward (height).  in time, we can only be in the present, being taken toward our future.  in our minds, we go back – our memories – in our minds, we go forward – our dreams. 

in studying the sufi concept of time – it’s beyond the inevitable past, present and future line – it’s the whirling, cycling, spiraling continuum, no beginning, no end…it is a connection from the infinite to the present, from the present to the infinite – that is the hand, upward, the body, whirling, the feet, grounded.

whirling sufi - istanbul

whirling dervish - istanbul

my son reminds me that everything we see in the present moment is actually in the past – due to the fractional amount of time it takes for light to move through space.  the idea that our reality is not real – that is well proven – our brains are designed for survival, not reality – and our perception of reality is limited by the capacity of our senses along with the contained past experiences our brain has stored – which means even with the aid of telescopes and microscopes we can still only percieve less than 25% of what actually exists. 

infinite invocation

infinite invocation

as we create buildings, we reference what has been known, and anticipate what will be – the act of architecture is fusion of the past, present, and future.  memories, senses, and dreams – together.  if we take great care in that orchestration, it can be beautiful.  it can be perfectly imperfect, wabi sabi, impermanent, organic, cyclic,  temporally ambiguous, time shifting, both of the past and the future.  transformational.
sinan's bath - istanbul

sinan's bath - istanbul

seeking beauty, always.