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Boundaries by Maya Lin
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Boundaries

by Maya Lin

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0684834170, Hardcover)

After designing the starkly symbolic Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., when she was still an undergraduate, Maya Lin might have been doomed to spend the rest of her architecture career vainly trying to top herself. But 18 years later, her concerns clearly have nothing to do with self-aggrandizement. In Boundaries, Lin's lucid, soft-spoken collection of writings, she discusses how her work evolves, after a lengthy gestation, as a way of heightening viewers' awareness of a specific environment and perception of the passage of time. This temporal aspect can be a sequence of historical events (as in the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama) or a purely aesthetic quality, like the shifting play of light over a grassy field of sculpted earth (Wave Field at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor). "I like to think of my work as creating a private conversation with each person," Lin writes, "no matter how public each work is and no matter how many people are present."

Understandably, Lin writes in greatest detail about the Vietnam memorial, a high-profile commission fraught with controversy because of its unusual form as well as the age, gender, and ethnicity of its American-born architect. But this engrossing, amply illustrated book also details the thinking and experimentation behind myriad other projects, including elemental sculptures, interiors, and furniture designed with an unusual degree of consideration for the user's needs. Influenced by her ceramist father, Lin always gravitated toward working directly with malleable materials--an experience that complements the rational precision of plans and blueprints (the Vietnam memorial first took shape as a mound of mashed potatoes). Boundaries reflects the same blend of close analysis, intuition, and quiet humility that marks Lin's public projects. --Cathy Curtis

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:35:44 -0400)

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