a distance it looks like a bed of crimson tulips. As one approaches
it becomes clear that the vast red spread on the slope above
Paradise Pond across from the Lyman Conservatory is a sea
“Red!” as it’s
sparely titled, is actually an architectural sculpture designed
and produced by 26 students in the landscape studies studio
and the introductory architectural studio, taught by lecturers
Jeffrey Blankenship and Kirin Makker.
Though it’s tempting to
back up and seek a familiar shape in the swath of flags, it
is abstract in quality, says Blankenship. The “flowing
wave” of flags was intentionally placed without a design
in order to draw attention to the landscape there.
The sculpture succeeds. Many
passersby stop to stare and ruminate on the shape’s
intent of “Red!” was to give their students the
experience of a simplified architectural undertaking, say
Blankenship and Makker, one that is manageable enough to devise
and complete in a short amount of time but that includes all
the elements of more intricate projects.
“The original idea for
this project came out of practicality,” says Blankenship.
“We wanted to have a really quick, one-week project.
We wanted to go through the entire design process using a
minimum of materials.”
In this case, two: 5,000 red
flags and the ground in which they’re implanted.
Even within that simple scope,
the landscape and architecture students learned about space
limitations, blueprint design, managing to budget, adjustments
to scale, efficient use of available materials and surroundings,
objective and function.
“We were able to examine
a lot of the little details that you have to work with in
architectural projects,” says Makker.
In addition, said Blankenship,
students learned how to collaborate, negotiating personalities,
opinions and ideas, all while having fun working together,
another of the project’s objectives.
Considering the attention “Red!”
draws, the project must be considered a success at a bargain.
Cost of materials: $275. Lessons learned: priceless.
"Red!" will remain
on display through September 22.