September 29, 2016

Adriaan Geuze’s Very First Sketches of the Hills on Governors Island

To conceptualize a Governors Island park, Adriaan Geuze turned to a schoolboy favorite.

Image courtesy of West 8 Urban Design & Landscape Architecture.

“Silly moments. That’s what I call these early drawings with markers. I have a photo in my hands, and I draw right on top of it. A photograph of a landscape puts people immediately inside the reality of what is already built. Of course, marker drawings don’t have the nuance of AutoCAD or another 3-D program. They are blunt and hyperbolic. My concept for the Hills, a 10-acre park on Governors Island, was a green ‘broccoli’ in the middle of the water—that’s a serious metaphor. So marking the green shapes on the photo was efficient, because the client, the Trust for Governors Island, recognized the idea immediately. Your brain couldn’t assimilate a very detailed sketch of all of New York Harbor, with accurate volumes and contour lines, right away. Those came later, along with the aesthetics, when we moved into AutoCAD.

Image courtesy of West 8 Urban Design & Landscape Architecture.

I have no computer on my desk at the office of my firm, West 8 Urban Design & Landscape Architecture, though there are seven computers on the desk next to me. We also have a cupboard full of markers, always in these commercial-type colors. Terrible colors, not subtle watercolor shades. But the combination works for me. The only problem is: If you drop a marker on your shirt, the ink will not wash out. My sleeves are very compromised.”—Adriaan Geuze

Photography by Timothy Schenck.

> See more from the September 2016 issue of Interior Design

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