The Everglades and the Evolution of Programmatic Space

I had the wonderful opportunity to explore the Florida everglades for an afternoon last month.  Of course, while being in touch with nature invigorated me; I could have done with more distance between myself and the alligators which turned out by the dozens!

Gorgeous birds, turtles and lush greenery exist in harmony.  The low lying brush and marsh provide water for the creatures living here but the occasional green mound is the true treasure trove.  Unfortunately, those areas are nearly impossible for human beings to even navigate with the extent of underbrush.  This is a good thing!

The natives who once lived in the Everglades made multiple camps in the periodic hardwood forests.  The white trunked trees are several hundred years old, according to our guide.  They provided a home for humans by way of shelter and high land.  Back then, your sleeping camp and eating camp were in separate forest spaces; similar to our home today.  When was the last time you slept in the kitchen?  Of course, the reasons the native Floridians kept the two activities separate was a safety issue rather than for comfort however, it is interesting to observe how design evolves.

The tower photographed is owned by the National Park Service.  It is a wonderful example of sculptural architecture but evidences how we humans desire and need the higher ground.  We constructed the soaring tower to watch over the lands at the best vantage point and to feel safe while doing it.  However, while the structure is clearly manmade, standing out like a sore thumb, the wildlife is not discouraged to stay away.  The tower’s ramp sits wide open and the human visitor must look out for the interested alligator.  About a dozen were camped out at the base on this gorgeous winter day.

If you have a chance to visit the Everglades in Florida, I highly recommend the trip!