Ivan Velazquez


Crissy Field is 100 acres of park in the shoreline of San Francisco, just east of the golden bridge. This site began as a marsh and seasonal home of Ohlone Indians, and later hosted Spanish and Mexican ships, a Grand Prix raceway, an historic army airfield, and a U.S. Coast Guard station during WWI and WWII. However, back in 2001 the conversion into a national park was completed, and the landscape architect in charge was George Hargreaves. Among the landscape architect’s work there are the olympic parks of Sydney and London. As a Harvard graduate and ex professor at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, and it is remarkable to note that throughout his trajectory, Hargreaves has demonstrated an affinity to design and to embrace large scale spaces. “Large Parks” is a book in which he explores the dynamism and versatility of these spaces. In this particular case, for Crissy Field, Hargreaves’s work involved the restoration and rehabilitation of natural wetlands and dune fields along bay waterfront. However, within his design Hargreaves amplifies forms in the land, in this case the topography of the site pops up pieces of land that simulate gigantics waves going off shore and attacking it, see top right photo. In a sense, the design intent was to accentuate how on a flat surface landforms can highlight the site. On the other hand, Crissy Field integrates also diversity of recreational uses and at the same time it reinforces the context of historical landmark.





The section above illustrates how to graphically show a part of the landscape, and also it shows the ecological relationships for this specific site: from hydrologic cycles to removal of forest cover due to rapid runoff, erosion and lack of percolation. Not only does the section reflects elevation changes in the terrain, and changes in the geography, but it also provides to the designer with a better understanding of microclimates prior to placing plant communities in a piece of land that transitions from a plane to hillside and eventually to a lake. Last, the mission of all sections in essence is to reveal elements that are usually hidden in a plan view.

Floor of the forest

On Saturday, April 20, I arrived at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles before ten in the morning. Throughout the day, intriguing paintings, large scale monuments, and human made artifacts unfolded one by one before my eyes inside the museum galleries, making my visit inspirational. I also enjoyed an array of art from artists such as: Latifa Echaktch, Llyn Foulkes, Adam Helms, and Jason Meadows.

Moreover, around noon, a dance performance, “Forest of the Floor,” by Trisha Brown, captured the attention of the museum visitors, including myself. The stage was opened by two dancers climbing onto an sculpture positioned in the centre of the museum’s courtyard. The installation itself consisted of four vertical, black metal posts that were holding a horizontal squared plane, elevated four feet off the ground. Seen from above, the Floor of the Forest revealed itself as a collage that was threaded with multi color clothing, arranged arbitrarily on a grid formed by thick brownish ropes that were tied perpendicularly each direction. Suspended in the air, the two dancers started with what would be a 20 minute presentation full of their careful and painstakingly slow movements. The dancers remained soundless and no music was playing as they danced, but more intriguingly, they would dress and undress themselves from the clothing that hung, and they would do this horizontally. A normal activity that we all perform standing up.

Every time the dancers repositioned themselves on the elevated grid; they negotiated with gravity to stay in the platform as if searching one another inside this network, also enabling them to give a sense of location in the grid to their audience. But as the sequence of the dancers advanced, I myself decided to reposition myself a story higher to photograph their moves from an aerial view before leaving the museum at the end of the performance. Being upstairs, I was able to see how the dancers became also a human collage when suspended in the elevated grid, and I also noticed that I was dancing too by taking different perspectives to capture my shots. The end of the presentation concluded my visit as well, and I concluded that this sculpture enables different perspectives of the vertical and horizontal planes.


Stadtlounge, Switzerland
Artist Pipilotti Rist in collaboration with Architect Carlos Martinez, 2005

This piece of public art intervenes in a pedestrianized area within the street environment revealing how pedestrians interact differently and perceive their environment in a unique and unaccustomed manner.




Rolling Bridge, London                                                                    Heatherwick Studio, 2004

This opening bridge reveals motion as it transforms from a conventional, straight bridge, into a circular sculpture: an object that usually stays static within the landscape.




Aurland Lookout, Norway

Todd Saunders and Tommie Wilhelmsen, 2002


As dramatic as the this bridge emerges into space, it creates an interaction between a man made structure and nature. And, in as sense it reveals a distinct horizon: a bridge inside in the open room of mother nature nature.

NARRATIVE BLOG #3, When one thinks of San Diego area, we think of beautiful seashores and magnificent landscapes under mild climate. However, Border Field State Park is an interesting public park located in the far southwestern corner of the 48 contiguous states, in an undeveloped desert floodplain in San Diego. Although the park is within the city limits of San Diego, there are no buildings within two miles of the city or highways. To access the fence that divides the US and Mexico, vehicle access is limited but there are dirt walkways for a mile west to the beach and another 1/2 mile to the border between the United States and Mexico. In the park itself, there are several wild native and non native species sprout all over that share the space with helicopters from above and INS motored vehicles on the trails. In the distance on the US mountain hills, a government truck is positioned, giving its occupants a sweeping view of the park. Nevertheless, once one walked to the beach, one does not see anyone swimming, but visitors can enjoy sunbathing on the sand. The walk is nice and pleasant and may appropriate for people who like jogging and riding horses. Right at the border fence, two worlds collide. On the US side its deserted and quiet, but on the Mexican side, across the fence, lies a neighborhood of Tijuana, with houses, stores, neighborhood streets, and a large bull ring. In conclusion, this is the southwestern corner of the United States. If this pesky ocean had not been encountered, this beautiful fence could have been made even longer. NARRATIVE BLOG #4, My visit to Border Field State Park in San Diego provided me with a new life experience. I had always thought of San Diego as an area of clean seashores and compelling landscapes. My journey however commenced at a dirt parking lot located in the surroundings of the Tijuana River. As I started wandering off an upcoming asphalt paved trail, I noticed I was facing east and that this path was directing me towards the ocean, which made me expectant of the ocean breeze. As I walked further in the park I saw a diverse mix of vegetation formed of tumble weeds, native willows, ice plant, and other voluntary species growing in the human deserted surroundings. The space looked a nature park designed for riding horses and hiking adventurers. In the middle of my walk I looked up because I heard helicopters monitoring the area. I also figured there were various U.S. Border Patrol vehicles positioned on top of the eastern gentle hills behind myself protecting the border area. However, as I arrived on the beach I noticed it was very pleasant to be being sunbathed. As I started walking south on the sand I looked down at multiple brownish sea algaes dragged inland by the waves. Last, I continued my walk towards the border fence where two worlds collide. Once I arrived there I observed that the U.S. side was quiet but that on the Mexican side, across the fence, lied a neighborhood full of colorful houses that appeared occupied. Some observers from the other side waved at me with a smile on their faces and I replied back. The fence itself was made out of thick rusty iron and continued to stretch inland towards the immense endless ocean for about sixty feet. I spent about twenty minutes exploring the surroundings and the fence structure itself, and my last thought before my returning was that if this pesky ocean had not been encountered, this fence could have been made even longer.