Living above the Ground


Italo Calvino’s The Baron in the Trees described the story of an Italian boy who spent all his passionate life on the trees without ever touching his feet to the ground. To fulfill his promise of never get down to the ground, and for the seek of an entire free life, when the baron was about to leave this world, he leaped to catch a passing hot-air balloon and dropped into a lake below. Despite for the philosophic metaphor as a fiction, this literary work also makes us think about the new possibilities of living with Nature, for example, creating a fantasy world of eating and sleeping in the trees, “walking” from one tree to another while communicating with the people from the world on the ground.

Living one’s whole life in the trees has become a legend forever through the pages because for normal people, it is inevitable to seek for physical comfort of living instead of a purely spiritual one. But still, the fiction inspired us to change our perspective from living on the ground for one’s entire life. Spontaneously teenagers build tree houses to escape from their parents’ protection. And the change of climate has been changing people’s living environment all the time.

Through time, from the low tide to the high tide, Mount Sant Michael become unreachable, meanwhile, the boundary between the ground and the sea is blurred. Flowing clouds, continuing water, and growing plants through seasons are telling us stories about time. Architecture in this sense is not a sculpture nor a machine. It becomes alive while functions as part of the changing nature. Imagine if one can stand on the plants as Calvino’s baron does in his entire life, depending on the plants’ height in growth from season to season, he/she could enter to his house from different levels- through the door, the window, even as the Santa Claus, from the chimney.


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