Last November Patrick McAfee and I had a series of email discussions about the arch we had been asked to build in California this winter. Knowing my love for ruins he came up with an idea to construct a classical pediment arch ( these are Patrick's drawings you see here) incorporating the big red sandstone 'sticks' from New Mexico for posts we used in the seating areas we built last year.
I liked the concept too of creating an architectural vista where one could look through an arch and see another one at a distance, a replication, not necessarily an identical copy but often reasonably close. The vista would frame a particular view. Patrick wrote " It's an 18th/19th century concept associated with follies and Arcadia that I'm sure you are aware about. "
When we arrived there we decided to try to site a single arch, having the bridge that we were also still building, framed off in the distance.
We described the pediment arch to Kyle Schlagenhauf, a skilled California based stone craftsman, who had joined us this year at Gualala to build too, and asked if he and Sean Smyth would like to take the project on.
They in fact were really excited to do it. Building it using dry stone construction methods would be quite a challenge but Kyle and Sean proved they were certainly up for it, and together with Matt's help, pulled it off brilliantly.
Tomorrow there will be photos of the actual arch being built and more description of the process.
All the proportions on classical pediment arches are worked out so as to maximize the visual appeal of it. The height of the opening, for instance, being determined by doubling the diameter of the circle made by the arc of the arch. ( As seen in this drawing Patrick did for us when we were seated around the dinner table )