Buildings are the intersection between art and landscape and the interface between humanity and nature. They are both a sculptural form that inhabits the landscape, and a way to frame that landscape from inside.
Simon Aldridge Material Beauty
Whether intimate or very large, my work is experienced by the viewer as a specific construction that mediates between nature and the experience of being in nature. The meticulous and detailed construction produces the obvious quality of physical perfection, and that extends also into the landscape, where nature can be manipulated to represent an ideal. The work exists to both be part of the landscape, and to be the lens through which the landscape is experienced. They are what they are, regardless of scale, and they have qualities that the viewer responds to as they are experienced.
Material beauty and impeccable construction and execution. Scale and proportion. An unmistakeable closeness between life and art.
Since 1994 I had been working on proposals for ‘Sensing Spaces’ which were buildings that brought the viewer into a new understanding of a place through heavy editing of the sensory experience. In the case of the Pentagon Memorial, the idea was personal, because I had lost my art studio and my studio mate (Michael Richards) in the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center. I realized that the editing of sensory experience could make the experience of the memorial into a journey that went from the physical to the sublime - an experience of transposition which could help people to understand what had happened and at the same time give them a vision for the future.
The building consisted of 3 sensing spaces - the entry was a vertical space - a courtyard - which was almost cubic in volume. The entrance framed a view of the Pentagon building. This led to a translucent alabaster stairhall with low ceilings, whose warm glow would have both the glimmer of fire and the comforting glow of the womb. Ascending the staircase one came out into an upper courtyard which was open to the sky but had no other view. A pure moment of reflection where the physical reality of the world around was abstracted as far as possible. Bronze vases would stand in the space for each of the victims of the attack.