Terrence Parker, a landscape architect and artist, is the Principal of Terra Firma Landscape Architecture in Portsmouth, NH, and is one of the commissioned artists for the public art display at the Foundry Place Garage with his piece “Working.”
Parker works with abstract and zen designs, a style he picked up in Graduate School at the University of Georgia when he studied the Temple Gardens in Japan. This style of designing around creating peace and community in landscape has inspired his work throughout his career.
I create spaces that people can gather in and develop their own community.
Although architecture is considered a profession, the line between artist and professional is blurred in his work. Often times architectural work is solving site problems, but the artist’s work is studying the site patterns and its history, which is what Parker does with his work. Through his designs, such as the arch leading to The Music Hall, or the Hammers in the rotary of Foundry Place, they tell a story about the landscapes history–the arts and the working hand. When Parker is creating a new space, he sees it as a community act, although the design may have his name on a plaque, his pieces are put together with a team of engineers and workers, like metal artist and blacksmith Peter Happny, who he worked closely with on the Hammers.
In many of his pieces, Parker has a working narrative around the meaning of his sculpture, such as the three hammers in “Working” that represent “sacrifice”, “hope” and “struggle”, but he does not want this to be the meaning for everyone. He wants the community built around his art to draw their own inspiration and interpretation–to make it their own.
He finds inspiration in the community, both in the people creating around him, but also in the spaces it provides. You can often find him working in public, like the day we caught up with him at White Heron in Portsmouth.
A new architectural icon
Originally built in 1923, the Memorial Bridge has become an iconic part of our city. It was rebuilt and reopened in 2013. The original was designed by J.A.L. Waddell and the new one echoes the look and configuration of the original, but represents a sleek, modern form that focuses on the realities of bridge design in the 21st century.