TRANSLATIONS IN SPACE

It is the small things of architecture that interest me, the often overlooked details, rather than who is building the next worlds tallest building, or where. I prefer the molehill to the mountain. I will take the small historic adobe church in Taos, New Mexico over the Burj Khalifa in Dubai any day.
I find myself attracted to the way architecture affects its surroundings. How the lights of certain elegant buildings illuminate the midnight rain and color the falling snow at dusk. I admire the way great buildings exchange their long shadows over a summer’s day and hold the passing reflections like so many secrets.
Mies Van der Rohe once said architecture was “translations in Space”. Last year I saw several different versions of these “translations”. One day it was the burning Sicilian sun lighting up the stones of a 5th century ruin in old Syracuse and a few days later the walls of a 15th century palazzo reflected, along with a gondola, in the dark cool waters of a small venetian canal.
It is not that I totally dislike todays towering masterpieces of modern architecture. One problem is simply that I am afraid of heights. Unlike some photographers I do not go to the top of tall buildings and lean over with my camera. I am content to stand firmly on the ground, looking up, dazed as a tourist. I have read that the great skyscrapers can move as much as five or six feet at the top in the wind. I like to think of them up there, swaying, as if they were dancing in the sky, while I stand on the sidelines far below, looking up, pointing a camera, waiting to cut in.

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