• Anu van Warmelo

Areas of Outstanding Beauty

Currently in my village in Cornwall there's an uproar among the residents as a phone company attempts to erect a 15m mast on the outskirts at a well-known beauty spot. This is despite the council refusing permission as it's designated an official Area of Outstanding Beauty. Corporations often get away with behaviour like this because they can afford to pay the fines, which is a subject for another day. Here I am focusing on how to get it right when putting something new into a landscape. For a start, spot the wind turbines in this beautiful Welsh landscape.

You can be forgiven for not seeing anything. Yet there are scores of them in the distance. I could see them clearly through binoculars but even when you zoom in on this photo you can only see a few specks of white. When closer I was still struck how well they blended into the hills. In Feng Shui terms I would be tempted to say the white turbines become like the caps of waves in an undulating landscape, or that the Metal (white) element is in harmony with the Water.

While the Welsh example is akin to camouflage, in Lisbon they took a dramatically different approach:

Here, surrounding the city the turbines act like a bold statement. Many of the hills are of the Fire element, being sharp and pointy, and the turbines accentuate that sharpness. The sense I got was that of awe driving through the hills, which just happened to have fires lit on their slopes so that we were having to make our way through smoke, all adding to the excitement. This is in keeping with a passionate and lively city.

So, it seems that policy makers occasionally get it right, albeit probably by accident. But both these cases show we could build in beautiful landscapes and even enhance them, if done right. All it takes is sensitivity to people, a bit of aesthetic sense and an open mind.