In the body, healing is a process that takes time. It often occurs out of sight, beneath a bandage or hidden behind hospital doors. Afterward, the reminder of healing is the scar—a mark on the surface, likely to fade but not to disappear. In the heart, healing also takes time. It often occurs out of sight as well, sequestered to those lonely moments when one feels the full weight of what or whom has been lost. And although there is not always a physical marker of the broken heart that’s healed, one cannot expect to be unchanged.
In the built environment, buildings come up and down all the time. The loss of a building can go unnoticed or unremarked, but rarely does it absence fail to impact the community that it inhabited. Eventually the site may become something else, or the site can sit fallow in a seemingly endless stasis. In what way does the land need healing, though? How do we attend to the inevitable mark that a building leaves in its absence? By reflecting on healing as an act, a practice, and a way to think about building, we are equipped to pursue past memories and future goals at the same time—aware of loss, but looking forward to recovery.