Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the infamous architect, was once quoted for saying "Architecture starts when you carefully put two bricks together. There it begins.". It was a statement that both matched the architecture of his time, and his own personal style of design. A statement that speaks of a time when architecture meant order, symmetry and near scientific precision.
The things I write above most likely wouldn't make any sense to a child. And let's face it, just about every child would run around playing and exploring new places, rather than reading about architecture. That is just pure common sense. But does a child's complete ignorance towards the study of architecture make it uncapable of understanding his or her natural and urban surroundings? Well this one certain, notable tree I found on the island of Hven, while wandering around with my camera, got me thinking about the more simple and primal connections we humans have towards nature and architecture. It got me thinking about deeper connections - Such as the personal relations to say, places in nature. Small personal landmarks, that we remember from our early childhood days, till the days, in which our time ends. Small personal landmarks of strong memories and joyful experiences, that are often situated in a natural environment, where we often tend to escape the everyday stress, that with time, becomes an everday element of modern urban life.
So once again, what does all this talk about nature, children and personal landmarks have to do with this tree I'm writing about? Well, frankly, just about everything. You see, once you look closer at the tree, you'll notice that there are numerous planks leaning against the tree (as seen on the photo above). You see, this large, old tree is situated on a rather tall hill (perhaps the highest point in the area around it), and what the children (I assume that this is the doing of children) have done, is to attempt to get even higher up by adding these planks to the tree. And by adding them also making space for seating and creating a common meeting place. THAT is the magical beauty of this certain natural landmark. The children gathered to create this natural landmark better for them, using nature's own tools - thus creating a place that is comfortable to us humans, while also leaving the area's nature completely unharmed. It is such examples of harmonious architecture between man and nature that we must strive to achieve. A perfect harmony. Not only is it a strong example of the close connection between man and nature, but it also the birth of a landmark. This tree will most likely be remembered by the children as time passes and they grow old. And once they reach an age in which they too enter the busy urban life, that most of us experience in our daily lives, they will always remember this one magical tree - a personal landmark of a time when things were simple and innocent.
As you may remember, I quoted Mies in the beginning of this post. The message in his saying is crystal clear, but I believe it to lack the emotion and experience that architecture should be. Therefore I would say, that "Architecture starts when you playfully build with nature. THERE it begins."
- Andy Minchev
(This post has been a personal expression of the writer's experiences with architecture)