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Land Formations

Research Open House 2023

Cathryn Dwyre,

The Land Formations research is part of the ongoing work of co-principal of pneumastudio Cathryn Dwyre’s design practice with Chris Perry. The research has a dual focus on landscape imaging and 3D point cloud production, alongside research into the specific histories of land formations, from cultural grottoes to natural caves, dynamited railroad tunnels, and more recently, land art and its associated geologic formations. Work that grew out of this research has been featured in the In the Round, On the Flat exhibition and the 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale’s Italian Virtual Pavilion.

The research has been led by field work consisting of site visits, archival investigation, filming, and scanning of chosen formations in the eastern and southwestern United States and France. The previous semester’s focus was on France, including Ledoux’s Salt Works, the Grotte de l’Hermitage in the Jura region, and the Grande Cascade in the Bois de Boulogne, Paris, among others. The Grotte de l’Hermitage sits within a mixed old growth forest composed of stone that was prized for its suitability for millstones during the Industrial Revolution. An exemplar of the forest dweller’s home, the Grotte de l’Hermitage was a space for political fugitives and, specifically, the secret 18th century society of anti-imperialist forest advocates Bons Cousins Charbonniers.  The current semester’s research is compiling documentation from a land art tour in the summer of 2022, including Amarillo Ramp and Spiral Jetty by Robert Smithson, Sun Tunnels by Nancy Holt, and Double Negative by Michael Heizer. This work also investigates the indigenous Snake Mound, and the Ancient Pueblo city of Chaco Canyon.