[Image: “Vaulted Chamber” by Matthew Simmonds].
While writing the previous post, I remembered the work of Matthew Simmonds, a British stonemason turned sculptor who carves beautifully finished, miniature architectural scenes into otherwise rough chunks of rock.
[Image: “Sinan: Study” by Matthew Simmonds].
Simmonds seems primarily to use sandstone, marble, and limestone in his work, and focuses on producing architectural forms either reminiscent of the ancient world or of a broadly “sacred” character, including temples, church naves, and basilicas.
[Image: “Basilica III” by Matthew Simmonds].
You can see many more photos on his own website or over at Yatzer, where you, too, might very well have seen these last year.
[Image: “Fragment IV” by Matthew Simmonds].
Someone should commission Simmonds someday soon to carve, in effect, a reverse architectural Mt. Rushmore: an entire hard rock mountain somewhere sculpted over decades into a warren of semi-exposed rooms, cracked open like a skylight looking down into a deeper world, where Simmonds’s skills can be revealed at a truly inhabitable spatial scale.
5 thoughts on “Shell”
"…an entire hard rock mountain somewhere sculpted over decades into a warren of semi-exposed rooms, cracked open like a skylight looking down into a deeper world".
This sounds like the multi-level structures built into the fairy towers of Cappadocia region of Turkey. Some have, after a thousand years of soft sandstone weathering, cracked like eggs to reveal half-exposed rooms, vaulted churches, vertical crawl ways, and dark corners leading further into the rock.
Sculptor/architect Ra Paulette also works in this "medium" in his live-in cave homes in the NM desert: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxcftjJ39BU
My mother has an entire series – "Sacred Spaces" – of fantastical architectural scenes carved into stone: http://www.cfmgallery.com/Ailene-Fields/ailene-fields-sacred-spaces.html
Makes me think of the underground Basilica of Porta Maggiore,exposed accidentally by rail works. The main difference is the basilica is concrete poured into moulds carved in situ from the living rock, which was then carved away to expose its form.
Almost like a photographic negative.
That Project exists already, although never built. It's called Tindaya mountain, in the canary islands. By Spanish stereotomic sculptor Eduardo Chillida.
This post and the previous one also call to mind the Pueblo cliff dwellings at Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado.