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  • Writer's pictureJoshua Oien

Form over function?

We routinely hear the opposite, but I don't particularly agree with this stubborn adage. Form doesn't need to follow function. As long as a work is structurally sound, it can exist just because it's desired. This eight foot tall stone cleit I built several years ago is hidden deep in the woods of the clients property. It's only discovered when stumbled upon while walking through the forest, and it's not serving any necessary purpose. It was built simply because it would look beautiful in the space.

The same line of thinking applies to many of the more conventional stone structures I'm tasked with creating, such as this recently built small garden wall. It's not retaining a steep hillside, or particularly needed for some site specific necessity, other than it visually enhances the space it's in.

The stone wall sneaks in behind a deliberately placed cascade of boulders, providing a unique transition to the existing wooden steps. Fun interactions like this aren't always planned, but happen organically as the project takes shape.

While this is a small garden wall, established dry stone construction methods are always followed, including a proper compacted gravel base, pvc drainage, geotextile fabric, etc. Aesthetic or utilitarian, a professionally laid dry stone structure should be expected to last.


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