All images © 2019 Choi+Shine Architects
November 2019 - January 2020
Georgetown, Washington DC
Jin Choi and Thomas Shine
James Axley - PhD, MS, MArch, BS
(Emeritus) Professor Yale School of Architecture
This project was inspired by our accidental encounter at dusk with a great heron at the canal in Georgetown. With its full wings, a great heron glided down to the water, soundlessly and motionlessly, as if it had arrived from a different time. The elegant form in its great scale and the timelessness of the creature with its quiet presence offered us a symbolic link between historic Georgetown and the future of the city, and between the industrial origins of the canal and its future revitalization planned for the residents and visitors. The Heron represents the continuously evolving nature that beautifully coexists in the heart of this historic place.
The Heron creates a unique sense of place with intricate, calm and simple objects. It is composed of individual feathers made of hand crocheted lace in an unusual scale. Generally, lace is small in scale, and often private, used as an embellishment for a special celebration. Shown in a large scale in a public place, this lace creates a sense of surprise which contributes to the memory of the space.
The Heron interacts with the water and daylight during the day: the reflected daylight from the rippled water surface make the lace glisten, while the reflection of the lace forms mirrored images on the water, blurring the spatial boundary between the water and sky. At night, the light adds an ethereal dimension: while their elongated shadows on the stone walls create a theatrical effect, the reflections on water further define the space and challenge the perception of the familiar cityscape. With its tip gently pointing upwards to the sky and outwards to the vibrant city of Georgetown, the Heron symbolically takes off to the future of the city while emphasizing the cohabitation of nature with the historic city.
The feathers levitate above the canal, creating sequential views from the bridges above, or a cinematic experience from a stroll or bike ride along the canal. Each feather meets the water and the bridges differently, allowing for the variations of perspectival effect from different sight lines. The Heron creates a spatial experience for the viewers, prompting interaction with the art and among people. The mysteriously glowing lace feathers, hovering above the historic canal in the heart of the vibrant city create a sense of place that is unique to Georgetown.
The contrast of the softly glowing diaphanous feathers in feminine curvature against a masculine urban space interrupts our mundane and coherent everyday, creating a sense of surprise that ignites imagination. The project aspires to evoke a sense of wonder though this unexpected encounter, which forms a lasting visual poetry as a prelude to the renewed canal due to arrive in the near future.
If you would like to participate
in our future crochet projects,
please send us an email to:
skim [at] choishine.com
The design and images of Heron are copyright 2019, Choi+Shine Architects and may not be used without written permission. Heron™ is a trademark of Choi+Shine Architects.
The images and design copyright 2019-2021 Choi+Shine Architects, LLC. All rights reserved.
“Heron” is trademark of Choi+Shine Architects.
Contact: Choi+Shine Architects for written permission for image use.