My work has taken me across the globe. I have visited every continent barring South America, have lived permanently in 5 countries and worked in many more. Yes, I am very lucky to have been too so many wonderful places and have learnt a copious amount from each of these experiences but it is not all ‘fun in the sun’.
Some of the downers include acquiring visas (particularly for countries in Asia) and long travel distances + airport delays. For instance travelling from my home (in Canada) to Vietnam will take anything upwards of 24 hours. But for me the the hardest thing is being away from the family….Skype has helped but it is still not perfect.
I enjoy history, meeting new people, tasting local foods and experiencing different cultures so I look to infuse myself as much as possible when I travel to new places for work if possible. In addition to this, I have no problem travelling some distance if it means visiting a golf course I have always wanted to see in that region. I remember visiting a site in Rotterdam (The Netherlands) and then driving the span of the country to visit Noordwijkse GC and Koninklijke Haagsche GC.
I draw a lot of my inspiration from the places I visit and the things I see and this is not only confined to the site. I make every effort to identify what makes the greater area unique (this could be something as simple as Rice Padi fields) and then incorporate this, as much as possible, into the design. On a few occasions I have asked the client to simply drive me around the area such that I can get a good feel for the place. If I am lucky I get to experience this anyway when we drive between our residents and the site.
Why do you ask is this important? Well a ‘sense of place’ is so important in my view and this certainly stands for any golf course….if I am playing golf in the desert then I want to feel like I am in the desert. Any design should as much as possible conform with the surrounds and this includes the greater surrounds as well. This is a completely different topic that I will explore in my next blog.
You have to like travelling if you do what I do and I am indeed fortunate to have seen so much already. I have certainly developed as an Architect based on what I have seen around the world and I intend to see so much more.