B.Arch., New College; M.Arch., University of Virginia
Background: Lucia Phinney has noted
that conventional representational practices of architecture give no voice
to natural conditions and processes. While common sense reveals a vital
biotic and meteorological milieu, drawings and models of new construction
invariably portray buildings as sited in a context of blank surfaces.
Seeking to remedy this lapse, her research and studio teaching are directed
towards the rescue of the natural world through representational means
that reveal rather than erase the incredible potential for natural systems
to effectively engage and inform the places we make. Drawing on the history
of painting, poetry, drama, and music, where hypotheses about the relationship
between nature and the human condition are a constant thematic presence,
her students invent methods to represent the natural world that bring
its processes into the consciousness of architecture. When architecture
and natural process are represented as structurally and metaphorically
engaged, it is possible to imagine and to design places that accomodate
the full range of our pragmatic and poetic aspirations.
Lucia Phinney has addressed these issues outside of the classroom through
"The Covesville Odyssey," a hypothetical reconstruction of the
island landscape and home of Odysseus (a metaphorical tale of how humans
dwell in the natural world); and through the research and design associated
with the management of the gardens, fields, and forests of a farm in the
Virginia Piedmont. Her recent work has been published in House Beautiful;
Elle Decor; Storage, by Sally Clark; Architects House Themselves, by Michael
Webb; and Eighteen Houses, W. Jude LeBlanc, ed. Currrently a student in
Landscape Architecture at the University of Virginia, her master's thesis
will examine the potential for constructed microclimates to invigorate
public life in cities.
A Lecturer at the University of Virginia since 1981, Lucia Phinney has
been a Distinguished Lecturer since 1996.