To conceptualize a Governors Island park, Adriaan Geuze turned to a schoolboy favorite.
“Silly moments. That’s what I call these early drawings with markers. I have a photo in my hands, and I draw right on top of it. A photograph of a landscape puts people immediately inside the reality of what is already built. Of course, marker drawings don’t have the nuance of AutoCAD or another 3-D program. They are blunt and hyperbolic. My concept for the Hills, a 10-acre park on Governors Island, was a green ‘broccoli’ in the middle of the water—that’s a serious metaphor. So marking the green shapes on the photo was efficient, because the client, the Trust for Governors Island, recognized the idea immediately. Your brain couldn’t assimilate a very detailed sketch of all of New York Harbor, with accurate volumes and contour lines, right away. Those came later, along with the aesthetics, when we moved into AutoCAD.
I have no computer on my desk at the office of my firm, West 8 Urban Design & Landscape Architecture, though there are seven computers on the desk next to me. We also have a cupboard full of markers, always in these commercial-type colors. Terrible colors, not subtle watercolor shades. But the combination works for me. The only problem is: If you drop a marker on your shirt, the ink will not wash out. My sleeves are very compromised.”—Adriaan Geuze