Wildland Fire Stories

This venue for nighttime storytelling examines the boundary between the urban and the wilderness.  The site for this project was Washington Park, where one can stand at the edge of the forest and look out at the twinkling lights of the city.  The architecture operates according to an annual ritual, in which returning wildland firefighters gather to orchestrate a bonfire and tell their stories to the urban public.  Firefighting involves much hard, dangerous and dirty work, but also compelling encounters with the sublime forces of nature.  The design emphasizes the line that firefighters establish to control the movement of a fire, preventing it from approaching the civilized urban condition.  At this line, the city meets the forest, the wild meets the urban, and the people who dwell on either side come to communicate about their experiences.

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