Thursday, December 15, 2011

2012 Location announced!

Travis Price has just returned from scouting the Spirit of Place 2012 project site in, drumroll please.......FLORENCE, ITALY! The project will be an international memorial to commemorate Amerigo Vespucci, the Florentine explorer for whom America was named. In July-August 2012, the Spirit of Place team will build the project at the Renaissance-era Belvedere fortress (seen above) overlooking the city of Florence and the Duomo.

If you'd like to become involved with Spirit of Place - Spirit of Design by participating in the build or contributing to this great cause, email Kathleen Lane at To read about our last build in Nepal, click here. You can donate by clicking on the "Donate" icon above right.

Stay tuned for more news! 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Wonderful news! The Spirit of Place - Spirit of Design Finland and Nepal projects were both selected for design awards from the American Institute of Architects/DC Chapter. The Kalevalakehto of 2010 in Helsinki, Finland received an Award of Merit for Architecture and the Memorial to the Ancestors in Namje-Thumki, Nepal of this year received the highest award, the Award of Excellence in Architecture. Congrats to the Spirit of Place -Spirit of Design team!

Continue following along as we prepare for our next adventure in 2012!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Spirit of Place - Spirit of Design Nepal 2011 time elapse

You are invited! "Design Story Tales"

You are cordially invited to a wonderful series of events including a fantastic evening with your architect/design friends at Travis Price Architects. This series of unique evenings described by photographer Ken Wyner as "Design Story Tales" will be spent with some of Washington's finest architects, designers and entrepreneurs. 

Monday, September 19, 2011
National American Institute of Architects

Travis Price will present his newest book, The Mythic Modern


Friday, July 22, 2011

Nearing the end.

in ArchDaily

Spirit of Place - Spirit of Design made it into ArchDaily. Check it out here.

Monday, June 27, 2011

9th and final work day video

But don't think this is all, we still have celebration day

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Day 7 in video

Internet finally started to work so I spent most of the day down with the ladies after the community women's meeting and not up with the students on site, though you'll see how the students ended their day.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Day 6 in video

Day 9 on site

The landscaping was installed on the final day of construction along the beautiful rock paths surrounding the memorial. Hydrangeas, which grow plentifully in the area, lined the borders.
 The reflecting grave to the open skies is immediately put to use.
 Butter lamps kept in the niches.
The day ended with a game of volleyball: Nepali vs. Americans but ended up a blend of the two teams, no score kept, though competition was fierce.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Day 8 on site

And we're back in our respective homes and ironically enough, the internet has been out ever since arriving back. Go figure! There's still a bit to report on so be on the lookout for how the memorial wraps up. Believe me, you'll want to see the beautiful closing celebration.

Day 8 began to see the wrap up of the project. With an added fire pit made of stone and finished in slate, the memorial can now be used as a destination and resting place for visitors. The glass was installed on the grave and the inside painted black to symbolize the void looking in and the reflection to the heavens looking up. The locals created pathways and prepped the area for the landscaping. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

4th day in video

Day 7 on site

Day 7 saw the near completion of the flooring. The slate tiles were laid down while Karna, the master mason, carefully cut the pieces down to form a perfect puzzle piece grid. With extra materials, a fire pit was conceived with stone and slate. 

Our daily transport from our hotels in nearby Bhedatar to the site in Namje:
School children from a local village dropped by for the afternoon and formed an assembly line to bring more rock up while singing their favorite tunes.
 The fire pit:

Third day video

I'm still catching up from the chronology of the videos so please bear with me.

We spent the day in nearby Bhaktapur visiting the beautiful and plentiful temples and royal palaces before heading to a reception at the US Ambassador's, Scott H. DeLisi, residence.

Monday, June 13, 2011

2nd day video

We arrived back to Kathmandu yesterday after a beautiful and rainy inaugural celebration for the memorial to the ancestors of Namje Thumki. The village planned a beautiful ceremony complete with song and dance and even handed out certificates and beautiful gurkha knives to all the participants. More on the celebration once the chronological posts line up. Yesterday we spent the day at Tamal, a touristy shopping district where it's just as much bargaining as it is to look. We also had wonderful tour of the Odegard rug factory where we were shown the full process, from raw silk/wool to beautiful finished rug. Today we toured Patan and its immaculate museum which provided us with a more in-depth view of the spiritual culture of the area. This afternoon we attended a speaker series at the Institute of Engineering, Pulchowk in Lalitpur hosted by Spaces magazine where Travis spoke about Spirit of Place and Professor Sudarshan Raj Tiwari from the Institute spoke about the meaning of spaces of the sacred sites of ancient Kathmandu, followed by a tour of the architecture facilities. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Day 6 on site

The walls were set in place and finally the glass to cover the grave placed in the middle of the memorial arrived. It took ten guys to carry it up the mountain to the site. Meanwhile, the students were, ahem, lucky enough to help carry the slate up to the site. One by one. By one. A challenge presented itself when the team had to figure out how to drain water from the glass to the edges of the slate tile. Below, the locals unboard the extremely heavy piece of glass.
 The slate tiles that the students carried up.

 Travis laying out the tile to see check out the configuration.

 The stone surrounding the glass will be jagged and will be quite the feat if walked upon to gaze into the reflection of the glass/ancestors.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

First day on the job

Internet has been installed in the village of Thumki at the women's co-op. It's the only internet available to the people in the whole region for the present and no doubt will open up the world to them and allow us to keep in contact with our new friends once we leave. Take a look at our work from the first day.

Day 5 of building

After a cow-killing monsoon that felt like we were trapped in a war zone, the electricity went out for two days and we're just getting back up and running again. That didn't put a hold on construction, however. Day five brought us the start and near finish of the inner layer of the stone walls. Lots of pouring and mixing of concrete, and laying of stones. The Namje villagers continue to bring supplies like stones and sand via baskets on their backs. It's quite the sight. And in sandals no less! Working side by side with the villagers has definitely brought the spirit of the place to life.

We received a special visit from some monks from Dharan who evaluated the site then spent anhour in meditation.

 The local children like to impress us with their English. "Hi, how are you?" "What is your name?"
The niches at the top of the walls can hold butter candles.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Opening dance ceremony

We arrived to the village of Namje and were greeted by the amazing locals who created quite the entertainment. It felt like the Nutcracker watching the different dances from the surrounding villages.

Day 4 on site

Day 4 brought the end of the outer walls and the start of the inner. The bamboo scaffolding construced was just as beautiful as the structure itself. first they created a space through the stone then laid perpendicular bamboo pieces alongside the wall with wood planks on top. 6" niches were created in each wall to hold a butter candle or buddha. By this time, the students had figured out the rhythm of laying the stone masonry.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Greeting from the village

Nearly in tears.

Day 3 on site

For more photos and videos check our Facebook site and YouTube channel.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Day two on site

For more photos and videos, check out our Facebook and YouTube sites.

Below, is what we arrived to on the second day of construction. The first day is always a big learning curve as the students are taught how to build and slowly get the hang of it. We also experienced major internet difficulties as, silly us, thought that we could use the internet connection usb's we previously bought in Kathmandu on the top of a mountain in faraway Namje. With the help of Rajeev Goyal, the former Peace Corps worker in the village and major lightening force behind the water pump projects and permaculture farm, the internet has now been brought to the village as of two hours ago and surely will change it forever. The second day brought an upward climb to the 7 feet walls we were trying to finish by the end of the day, but it took a bit longer since they were also fitting in a 6" niche to each wall for future buddhas or candles.