Alex MacLean

Books: Taking Measures

By Alex MacLean & James Corner

Forward by Michael Van Valkenburgh

Yale University Press, 1996


This book gives the impression of being handcrafted, as if each copy were its own special volume. It is a loving appreciation of the land, space, and forms that architects, builders, road crews, and farmers have added to the America that can be seen from above. Corner (landscape architecture and regional planning, University of Pennsylvania) has contributed the essays and commentary that give the book its flow. His drawings are the work of a keen imagination capable of startling points of view. But it is MacLean's aerial photography that forms this beautiful volume, giving heart and light to the land and all that is upon it. The dignity of Iowa farms, the quilted surface of agriculture in North Dakota, and the amazing markings in the Mojave somehow merge to give a sense of a sculpted nation waiting for MacLean to fly over it at low altitude to photograph and glorify.

This book combines breathtaking aerial photographs and exquisite map-drawings of the American landscape with thoughtful essays that explore how various cultures have forged the landscapes in different regions of the country and what the possibilities are for future landscape design. The authors demonstrate that landscape representation is more than descriptive-it can also instruct and construct how people perceive, shape, and transform the land.

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Forest Clear CutNorthern MaineFilm, Ref #: LS_4122_08
Field FireColumbia Area, South CarolinaFilm, Ref #: LS_1294_27
Revetments Along the Missouri RiverMissouriFilm, Ref #: LS_3091_34
Cone of Iron OreAshtabula, OhioFilm, Ref #: LS_4365_29
Rice FieldsSacramento Valley, CaliforniaFilm, Ref #: LS_4442_35
Road Grid Correction JogCastleton, North DakotaFilm, Ref #: LS_4745_02
Field RollsShelby, MontanaFilm, Ref #: LS_4749_31
Square Lot HomesteadFargo Area, North DakotaFilm, Ref #: LS_4755_02
Railroads Across the Survey LandscapeCasleton, North DakotaFilm, Ref #: LS_4759_20
Field with Tractor LinesMunich, North DakotaFilm, Ref #: LS_4769_27
Navaho Spring Line FieldsTuba City, ArizonaFilm, Ref #: LS_4795_33
Desert Oasis Housing DevelopmentMojave Desert, CaliforniaFilm, Ref #: LS_4804_25
Circles of GreenFarmington, New MexicoFilm, Ref #: LS_4811_04
Road Hairpin Turn Along ContourTehachapi, CaliforniaFilm, Ref #: LS_4835_01
Windmill FieldNear Palm Springs, CaliforniaFilm, Ref #: LS_4848_20
Pivot Irrigator Construction BedSan Juan Basin, New MexicoFilm, Ref #: LS_4852_12
Sky Harbor International AirportPhoenix, ArizonaFilm, Ref #: LS_4804_32
Drainage Dikes Along RoadsidePhoenix, ArizonaFilm, Ref #: LS_4857_19
Canal From the Colorado RiverWest of Phoenix, ArizonaFilm, Ref #: LS_4887_14
Mississippi Long LotsHermitage, LouisianaFilm, Ref #: LS_4968_22
Field ContoursLancaster County, PennsylvaniaFilm, Ref #: LS_1944_12