ARCHITECTURE AND LANDSCAPING
E. John Knapp gave a talk to the Greater Muskegon Landscaping Club that was later reprinted in the Michigan Society of Architect's Monthly Newsletter. In that talk, Knapp summed up for his audience his philosophy on architecture and landscaping.
1. Knapp presented to the audience the idea that it was possible to change one's entire attitude toward landscape architecture or as he said he preferred, "gardens."
2. He suggested that his audience use only words and no slides or drawings so that everyone can build their own mental picture of a beautiful site or scene, for example a flowing winding stream or a cliff overlooking a beautiful valley. He asked the audience to envision what they needed in that space - a sun shade, a wind-break, a roof to protect from rain, i.e. a building? What reason is there for a building? The answer is to protect us from the elements. And here is where Knapp shared his most important message - that there is power in considering the building or indoors as a whole with the outdoors where all of the elements converge. He called that unity "Nature."
3. Goal is to "capture a place, an area space to live in NATURE, not INDOORS. And this very principal is the secret of all really good contemporary architecture. To build a shelter and yet retain awareness of our surroundings.
4. Surroundings are more than trees, grass etc., "We are surrounded by attitudes and ideas of other people. Can your neighbors enjoy your land? Can you enjoy theirs...How many people do you know who are able to enjoy their outdoor door tulips from their indoors. How many homes were planned form the attitude of an awareness of your surroundings? Knapp challenged the audience to expand their attitude, and that they should include living on the "entire land, and not limit ourselves to a building, (to) watch how your ideas, change and grow."
As he summarized, "the 'Contemporary Spirit' recognizes the beauty of our complete, or entire plot of land--This principle makes it integrally available throughout our entire home; yes, and our schools, and our churches and all other structures too to state clearly and unequivocally, 'What reason is there for a building? What can any structure of many do for us?' If designed correctly, it will inspire an awareness of our surroundings."