Lessons from the Lawn serves as a primer for reading and experiencing architecture, while the Academical Village is a project of enlightenment, curiosity, and mannerist irreverence.
This project demonstrates the utility of heuristic thinking serving as an introduction to the central core of the book: the primer of spatial and material elements, which guides individuals and groups to analyze, engage, and initiate the constructed environment. It provides a broad overview to the analytical method Waldman has developed over half a century of teaching and practice, framing its relevance of architecture at the scales of both the garden and the city and the importance of understanding “building” as a verb. Waldman reflects here on how his lessons are all around us, first chanted as nursery rhymes, then synthetic carols, if not complex chora, to reveal the utility of orientation and the profound effects of gravity. Finally, this book lands readers on the Lawn in an essay on the contemporary relevance of Charlottesville’s Landscapes of Aggression of 8/11/2017 and resilience founded on the eschatological catalyst of Fallow Ground. Jefferson kept journals all his life at Monticello and later at Poplar Forest of both natural conditions and human consequences and made plans accordingly of building up and tearing down to make a covenant with the world, again.
In the recurrent darkness of the winter solstice, when the human imagination is stressed to cling onto the few enduring self-evident truths, the prismatic pragmatic mind articulates a primer of archaic if not primal necessities: a hearth and a well. For citizens, if not aspirational revolutionary leaders on the other side of the Atlantic in Arcadia, bringing pragmatic instrumentality and accountability to the heart of darkness in America is the goal where the wild serves the chaos of terra incognita as a paramount existential necessity. For half a century of teaching and practice I have tried to serve in the assigned role of promoting citizenship as a field guide for getting lost as a pre-requisite for a stranger’s curiosity. The tales of “Harold and the Purple Crayon,” “The Three Little Pigs,” “Humpty Dumpty,” and Jack & Jill’s mortal disaster, all foreground these lessons and carols. Joseph Rykwert in The Dancing Column (1996) prefaces architectural space in the acts of dancing as Kwinter hears the ever-present resonating also in archaic shaman chants, and punctuating congregational carols if not massive chora. National anthems and pledges of allegiance are always performed in the spatial and political agora below as well as acropolis above.