One of my favorite texts, as an architect, is Martin Heidegger’s Building Dwelling Thinking. It asserts that without buildings we can’t really experience the world. The pause and refuge buildings provide give us orientation in a landscape, allowing us to “dwell” there. Buildings make landscapes meaningful to us.
Many old structures at Ghost Ranch, New Mexico — where Georgia O’Keeffe lived, painted and immortalized the incredible landscape — clearly demonstrate Heidegger’s poetic thesis. On the other hand, a group of mid-century bunkhouses I came across during a recent visit to Ghost Ranch are buildings few would accuse of adding any meaning to the landscape. What are in one sense jarringly banal structures also happen to be thoughtful designs in the best traditions of modernism: climate-attuned, economical, cleverly winking toward both old west grit and Palm Springs modern. Their peculiar relationship to the landscape only makes them more interesting to me.
— Larry Sykes, Denver, Colorado