Designing our impact on the land to minimize damages.

Where you do something is as critical to the outcome as what you do there.

The Setting

Always consider four elements of the habitat or what scientists call "inorganic conditions" of existence.

W E A L or weal, the acronym and root word for wealth.

All places exist in a watershed.

Therefore – know the contours of your watershed.


The mountains in Utah capture winter snow and retain the water in streams and underground for the remainder of the year. They are referred to as a source of value for watershed protection.


§ Solutions grow from place?

Know where the sun is in relation to your plan:

because sun angles change from winter to summer with respect to the exposure of buildings that absorb & reradiate heat, shed water, & use electricity.





Keep resources on site, to the greatest extent possible.


Geothermal as a source of independent energy comes in two varieties: 1) direct, active generation of electricity, or 2) indirect, passive use of relatively constant ground temperatures for heat and cooling.



The ground stays at a more constant temperature at depth relative to the surface. Using subterranean air reduces the amount of heating and cooling of air above the ground that penetrates buildings and residences.

Wind as a source of useful (electrical or mechanical ) energy?

moving windair and water

Windmills aligned in Palm Springs, California to optimize the capture of funneled air form the seashore to the deserts.

Landscape: is it natural or is it artificial, like engineered land?


The wall here creates a particular range and thus a small scale with respect to the trees and the actual condition of the landscape. The rocks in the wall are an example of keeping (using the indigenous sources) resources in place, while removing the scattered rocks form the soil. The height of the wall establishes the lower threshold for the scale of this setting. The tree trunks have varying sized girths wit respect to the length , width and height of the wall so that the canopy of the tree cover sets the upper limit of the scale of this setting. This wall then is larger than the height of the forbs and grasses in the field, but much less of a wind-break than the row of trees growing beside the wall.


Scale refers to the relative or proportional size and extent of structures, natural features, or identifiable parts of a setting in relation to one another.

Table Mountainmtn

As seen above Table Mountain in Capetown South Africa is of such a size that it overwhelms the buildings in the Cape flats that suggest the scale of this natural feature is much greater in size than the human built settings below the larger mountain.



Explain the directions of the key sites with respect to how the winds, currents, and sun affect the island's varied habitats that you imagine are integral to your design.


William Cullen Bryant's home has several features to enhance its southern exposure, in the Berkshires.

Porches to shade and simultaneously bring the outdoors into the house frame.


Acquiring a balance in artifice is the design elements, features, fabric and integrity of this and any structure on the land. The porch provides shade from the summer sun, but allows for the lower sun angle in the winter to warm the exposed portion of the structure.



River Basin is a term we will use to integrate or bring together the above elements of the habitat and the community.

Connecticut River Valley actually divides Vermont from New Hampshire -- as a boundary-- but in the eyes of artists here and of George Perkins Marsh it was an element in the landscape that brought the New England states through which it runs together into a watershed of common interests among Vermont, New Hampshire. Massachusetts, and Connecticut. Estuaries are the most productive sections of the rivers where they meet the sea.

Shoreline considerations:

Surges can alter the shoreline and not merely damage structures in the over wash zones.

Sea level and tidal changes

The consequences of development along the shore, adversely affected this underwater coral as part of a larger coral reef ecosystem:

corals feedingnight

Coral bleaching in the Florida keys, evidence of extremely warm water temperatures that drive the symbiotic algae out of the host animal polyp. Corals are feeding in the second and at night in the third picture with healthy endosymbiotic algae as their partners.

food web coral link


Monk seals are now extinct, but once were supported by the productivity of the coral reefs of the Caribbean Sea and West Indian Ocean.