Equinox LineA site-specific private commission in Neddernhof, nr Hamburg, Germany
In 2007 Hans Edmund Siemers asked me to return to Neddernhof to make another proposal for the park. He indicated that he was interested in the area around the most Easterly lake, which he had recently excavated from its original rectangular tank-like shape to something more organic. Every time I come to Neddernhof it is either in the spring or autumn and my visit on this occasion was in the autumn. I noticed that the high ground close to this lake was very beautiful and was clad in tall pines. It has a site line running East West towards the house connecting through to the Eastern entrance. The site line was partially obscured by the trees. East West is where the sun rises and sets at the equinoxes. Hans Edmund was born around the spring equinox, so I felt there was a connection here.
In this area of Germany and in neighbouring Denmark there are many historic long barrows and chambered tombs made with glacial boulders. I had a hunch that an oval mound, cut in two by an East West path and sited along the East West axis by two big standing stones would draw the walker towards the house and lakes and at the same time mark the Equinoxes and Hans’ birthday. I suggested to Hans that we might need to cut down a few trees to achieve the site line. He enthusiastically agreed and said that he had long wanted to do this to let more light into the area so that it would revert to heath vegetation and increase the biodiversity. When I returned the following year to make the work, I was quite shocked that he had taken down a whole swathe of trees. But in fact his hunch was right and all sorts of heath-land plants have established themselves and the place has the feeling of great lightness.
My initial idea was to have quite a high mound with a 2 m. stone lined cut through it, but that height was thought to be too dangerous for children and we reduced it by half. Six years on it is amazing to see how this piece has become integrated into the landscape, how it is much used by the local community and how even horse riders gallop through the gap.