Rat : the site makes all the aura
cottage (pojata) on Grabov Rat: in front, lower left
monastery : central position
harbor of Bol : behind the monastery
Rat, famous beach : towards the horizon
of Sep. 9, 2007
on the site of a new building is a momentous act, at least if you
stop to think about it. That not everybody does is obvious from
all those buildings that crouch like strangers on their own land,
looking out of place or simply oblivious. Yet it may be that you
think too much about site selection. Because deciding on
the right place to build is also uncannily simple, a process in
which the advice of the senses and intuition is often your most
reliable guide. I of course came to this realization very late,
and only by most roundabout path.
momentousness of the decision was all I could think about.
Wherever I put my building, it would stay, more or less forever.
I'd have to live with the consequences of the choice as long as I
was around, and others would be stuck with it after that. Charlie
had said that key elements of my building design, its scale and
skin and fenestration, the way it met the ground and the pitch of
its roof, would be determined by this first fact. Then there were
the views to consider (from the building, and of the building),
the fall of light across its floor, the movement of air around it,
the ambient sounds, the angle at which it met the late-day sun.
Dwell too long on so many soon-to-be-se--in-stone characteristics
and the decision is liable to paralyze you. I know, I am only
talking about a hut, an outbuilding. Yet I felt that by choosing
its site - a single place out of all possible places in which to
build - I was setting this great big contingency in motion,
rolling it down the steep, one-way hill of personal and local
with any such large decision, my first instinct (if you can call
it that) is to look for a book to tell me what to do. But I was
surprised to find that the literature of architecture and building
contains remarkably little on the subject. Lewis Mumford had
complained back in the fifties that the proper siting of houses
was a lost art, and I turned up little to suggest it has since
Pollan: A place of my own, Delta, New York, 1997.
course there was more to the Grabov Rat site choosing. First of all, on
that remote and uncultivated land, could a garden of my liking be
integrally designed with the building? Am I ready to live without city
water and power? Iím not young any more (thatís politely called
advanced age, I believe), so, for how long will I have the capacity to walk
to the city, almost two miles away? And, related to my age, for whom am I
designing this building and garden, myself or the next generation?
not ask me for the blunders Iím aware nowadays. I underestimated the
exposure to winds, the notoriously unpleasant bora in particular. I was
completely unaware (and foolish enough not to think) of the millions of
insects who roam such a remote and uncultivated land. And more, of course,
Iím not ready to admit now. And, funny, when I recently visited the
Dominican monastery, I was surprised at what a good and clear view these people
have of our cottage - in spite of the fact that, among other pluses, Iíve
selected the site because of a magnificent view of the monastery.
just donít get a notion that I do not like the site!