[boo-struh-FEED-n] noun: an ancient method of writing in which the lines run alternately from right to left and from left to right
In 2013, Salt Lake City introduced to the world its Boustrophedon, a tribute to the dialog between the disciplines of poetry and architecture. Selected stanzas of North America’s great poets were painted upon the Sixty-Nine and Seventy blocks of downtown Salk Lake weaving themselves through alleyways, streets and buildings of its booming arts district. Viewable from the air to the ground plane, the Boustrophedon is the first of its kind and scale, educating the public while creating a cultural landmark unique to this western city.
Poetry is inextricably linked with architecture. Simile, personification, paradox and rhythm are each devices imbued in anthropogenic build form. The Boustrophedon remains an exemplary case. Open spaces are literally transformed by the written word. Poems weave their way back and forth in a rhythmic dance upon the surfaces of Sixty-Nine Seventy, anchoring each to the other with the creativity of our literary greats.
The Boustrophedon personifies Salt Lake’s commitment to sustainability physically, fiscally and socially. The low cost creation of community open space is complemented by the reuse of construction waste to form strategically placed canopies. The templates used to paint the Boustrophedon are reintroduced into four pavilion structures. As the sun makes its pass throughout the year, shadows cast by the pavilions dynamically express the poetry upon the ground.
Here’s to you, Salt Lake City. You have impacted a community, a nation and the world with an artistic gesture blending literature with architecture. In a city defined by the road less travelled, this IS the place where the arts, history, culture and goodness illuminate the road to enlightenment.