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Nature and architecture

Ravi Kohli

April 2021

During a conversation about architecture, nature, and community, an unexpected but welcome turn is taken by one of the participants when completing his ecomap. His eyes are on the 4th quadrant in the ecomap [Community]. The other quadrants on family, friends, and formal networks are complete. In this one, his Community is identified as the natural environment. He explains:

The natural environment is something that’s part of our human life. It plays a big part in my life … I get encouragement from nature, from the trees, when I go to the park and I look at the trees in a different way, it’s not just you walk into the park…for exercise but no, what I’m taking from nature, from the environment is …just looking up the trees, how they join together, that gives you a different pattern with the sky above, it’s not just a tree, it’s how they can join, they can encourage each other from my understanding, they just join like holding each other…

Some of the trees are very old and broken and they lean on other trees and they still hold the nature, for me it’s absolutely amazing, I can get an expression from them, it’s not just human being can help each other, look at nature, they are still encouraging, holding the weight. This is my understanding, they say “Yes, don’t worry, I’m holding you, we’re not finished here”, you know what I mean? For me, when I look in the tree, listen to the river, you know? Following that rhythm, that gave me more, be more “think positive” when I’m stressful about my daily life, I just go to this rhythm, to losing myself, just continuing in nature…

He shows me a photo he took in the park.

I tell him that the photo reminds me of inside the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, with the trees arching up and supporting each other like Antoni Gaudi’s columns.

He is training to be an architect, and knows Gaudi’s name already, and the ways colour and light work their way into stone, to make the stone sing.

I listen to this man, and suddenly the project makes a different sense. It is heading out toward non-human relationships and has already extended the borders of what relational wellbeing means. It feels like a little miracle.

A few days later he sends a short film of a bike ride to his local park. It is a soundscape of birds sensing that Spring is here. Listen


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