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American Society of Landscape Architects


April 2008 Issue

Visual Fugue
Landscape architect Mikyoung Kim, ASLA, draws on training as a musician and sculptor to create unique fencing for art-oriented clients.

By Marty Carlock

Visual Fugue C/O Mikyoung Kim, ASLA

The house overlooking Farrar Pond in Lincoln, Massachusetts, is architecturally unique, and its owners wanted a fence to match—something unusual. Already on site to design the grounds, Mikyoung Kim, ASLA, was asked to design a fenced dog run for their German shepherd. Luckily, Kim is also a sculptor.

Kim knew chain-link was out of the question, yet she felt the fencing had to be see-through—no wooden slats, for instance. “I began with the idea of creating some kind of system,” she recalls.

“I had been watching nature videos with my son (then three) about cellular construction.” She conceived the thought of a fence that looked organic. Her earliest drawing was two-dimensional, but its form evoked leaf shapes or skeletal structures. Instead of vertical bars, the barrier employed parallel bars slanted first one way and then the other—not alternately, but growing and diminishing, changing direction like the veins of a leaf.

Kim studied sculpture in college, but her first love was music, particularly baroque music. And particularly Bach.

“My major concentration was in counterpoint,” she explains. “So I was thinking in terms of structuring the fencing like that, working with a set visual rhythm and producing variations on it...being systematic and being constructively rational.”

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