LUCIA PHINNEY

Education: 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.



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