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Peter Waldman is participating in the Bhutan GNH Research Project as an Architect and Academic in collaboration with others in writing a chapter on culture rendered visible at the scales of the cities, buildings and landscapes. He will make himself available to visit Bhutan in the summer and will participate in the Grounds wide discussions about GNH with UVA faculty from diverse schools and the visiting Bhutanese scholars
Waldman’s interest in and enthusiasm for this collaborative research project is grounded in three lines of his research in this University: Landscape/Architecture and Health as Well-Being with the World, most recently through the Re-Entrant India Program. For more than a decade, he has offered a large foundation course as a Humanities elective called Architecture 1010: Lessons of the Lawn, on Jefferson’s spatial manifestation of a social and political covenant with Arcadia. Through the Lewis & Clark Expedition, Jefferson was able to render visible for this emerging nation the new imperative for life liberty and the pursuit of happiness in harmony with a vast continent of resources and promise of Biophilic balances, which are the foundation principles of Global Sustainability today. The Lawn is the spatial metaphor of a national covenant of well being (happiness) with the three Natures: the Wild, Pastoral/Agrarian Landscapes, and the Urban Gardens we call Public Space or simply Common Ground.
Thomas Jefferson as author of the Declaration of Independence (1776) inserted the tri-partite concept of the right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Thomas Jefferson as architect constructed the theater of the Academical Village as a place to play out through distinct generations the shared experience of the transformation of local resources, the genius loci of cultural landscapes and the received knowledge of the Enlightenment. Waldman’s work bridging American cultural history through this architectural project has connected him with the larger University Research initiative on Design + Health working with colleagues Reuben Rainey, Tim Beatley, and Schaeffer Somers from the School of Architecture and faculty of the Schools of Medicine, Nursing and Tibetan Contemplative Practices through the Westover Project. His specific focus is on the cultural significances of material resources and modes of assembly, of the routines and rituals of construction, maintenance and renewal, of solar and lunar orientations, and of the scales of civic institutions and nomadic settlements. He incorporates Spatial Tales of Origin into Specifications for Construction. He expect to be in India with undergraduate and graduate students for the next three years 2014-2016 for a mid-summer program.