Daybook: Therapeutic Gardens and How Time Heals

daybook 5.5 1988
idea doodles, notes and an MLA student who loved sunset breaks

For the final design project in Chip’s studio, we were given the challenge to design the landscape for a yet-to-be-built AIDS Hospice in San Francisco. This was my first introduction to designing a therapeutic landscape, long before all the great books that are now out on the subject, so I cobbled together research from articles (Like Roger Ulrich’s article on views through hospital windows.) and interviews.  I found a nurse who worked with people in the advanced stages of AIDS and she helped me understand what happens to the human body and mind for people with AIDS. I didn’t sleep much, thought about the project obsessively, drew all the originals with my Mickey Mouse technical pencil that I decided was lucky, and rendered the final drawings in water color. I thought for sure one of the reviewers would finally say something helpful or at least that one of them would appreciate the level of care, research, and creative effort that went into this project. Alas, it was not to be. Oh well, I got over it after about a decade (or two).  Eventually, I learned to see reviews as a smaller part of the design education then they felt like while I was a student, and to turn the generally negative experience I had into something more positive for students whose work I review.  And that many more people in the world (like people with AIDS) are dealing with way bigger heartaches than my hurt feelings for being a misunderstood artist. I’m still alive and still have the lucky pencil.

daybook 5.6 1988
at the design review and my thoughts on what Ronald Reagan dreamed of at night
daybook 5.7 1988
design jury comments, mostly about my cartoony drawing style and how it isn’t working and odd observations about death, and me imagining what a jaded conifer would look like at a bar