Xi’An International Horticulture Exhibition Master Designer’s Garden Plot 6 by Schwartz Partners

不光有趣,还饱含深厚的文化解读;一个如此简单又如此丰富,如此浪漫又如此真实的无尽之城。

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Photo © Martha Schwartz Partners

不光有趣,还饱含深厚的文化解读;一个如此简单又如此丰富,如此浪漫又如此真实的无尽之城。


Photo © Jake Walker

Xi’An International Horticulture Exhibition Master Designer’s Garden Plot 6 by Schwartz Partners
Xi’An, China
Completion: 2011
Size: 900 sqm

MSP was one of nine international landscape design firms to be invited to design a small gardeninstallation on the theme of “the harmonious co-existence of nature and the city” at the 2011International Horticulture Exhibition in Xi’An, China. The garden will be seen by up to 12 millionpeople between April and October 2011 and may by left permanently as part of the legacystrategy for long-term development of the site. This project is commissioned by Xi’an InternationalHorticultural Exposition Organizing Committee. The owner’s brief specified that the designershould consider the limitations of local building materials and methods, and that the gardenshould be accessible to the Chinese point of view. Plot 6 measures about 30 meters square on aflat site.


Photo © Gen Wang王艮

Materials

The garden is composed mainly of only four elements: traditional grey brick walls and paving, willow trees, mirrors, and bronze bells. The exit corridors are covered with a flat steel and rubber membrane roofing system.


Photo © Gen Wang王艮

Historical References

The aesthetic direction was derived from a number of locally derived forms and materials. First, the loess fields and the houses that people carved from the loess incorporated arches into their facades. The arches are very typically Chinese vernacular in architecture and especially here in Xi’An, where the housing was incorporated into the soft loess landscape. As well, many of the historical structures such as the Drum Tower have arched doorways.

Grey brick walls are very vernacular to China. In ancient China, grey brick has been the main construction material for centuries, together with wood. Such walls are the most popular element to create space and protect privacy in cities, and are frequently used in palaces to express power. For many people living in courtyard houses for generations, these walls provide the separation line of the inside and outside world, city and country. Such walls have been listed as among many foreigners’ strongest impressions of China.

Weeping willow is a very Chinese tree; it has a special place in poems, history, stories, calligraphy, and painting. Willows have been intensively used to express the feeling of missing friends or home, and feelings of nostalgia. The willow is often a depiction of woman, for its soft, subtle, lissom and graceful figure.

As early as in the Sui and Tang dynasties, weeping willows were planted on the banks of the Bahe River in Xi’An. In early spring, catkins blew off and drifted about in the air, just like snowflakes. The drifting of catkins has since become considered one of the eight noteworthy sights across the Central Shaanxi Plain. Again in the Sui and Tang dynasties, a courier station was set up near the Baqiao Bridge, where the current Horticulture Exhibition site is located. It was a usual place for natives of Chang’an to see off east-bound guests. The custom developed of breaking off a wicker of willow and giving it to the departing friends or relatives in hope that they would make a longer stay, because the two words “willow” and “stay” are homophones in Chinese. By giving a wicker to friends or relatives, they also meant to wish that their cherished friends or relatives would have a new life wherever they went, just as a wicker continues to come up wherever it is transplanted.

The weeping willow branches hung with over 1000 small tuned bronze bell wind chimes. The sonic pitch of the bells is aligned with the width of the corridor below them.

The Chinese especially love vivid color and ornament their trees with both bright colored light and with bells.


Photo © Gen Wang王艮

Concept: An Endless City

The theme of this installation is “City and Nature”. It is a simple theme that allows many interpretations. The bottom half of the garden is made of brick and is a maze of hallways and corridors. The city has a roof of green.

The “city” is entirely walled by simple, 3 meter high brick walls that seem to have no entrance. One enters the “city” through two ends of an open hallway created by a blank but totally mirrored wall facing a façade of 5 archways. These archways penetrate 1.5 meter thick walls and connected to a series of corridors. The numbers of possible archways to move through increase as one begins to walk through the space, creating a situation where people must begin to choose where to go and what route to try – an endless choice of routes through the maze. At the same time, no one quite knows where they are going and what to expect. It creates an experience of fun, discovery and perhaps some anxiety.

These thick archways lead to perpendicular hallways, none of which are parallel, resulting in a strange dislocation and signalling that things are not quite normal in this environment. The hallways are all mirrored at their ends creating a doubling of these spaces and corridors that bend and sometimes seem to go into infinity. As one goes through the doorways and hallways, some of them lead to “dead-end” rooms that are completely mirrored spaces and immediately remove you from the bricked environment. If one continues deeper into the maze, you come to a mysterious grove of willows, an illusion created by a 3-sided room with mirrored walls that endlessly reflect the willow grove to create a sense of endless forest.

As one starts to go down the exit corridors, it is only then that the real surprise of this garden is revealed. The mirrored surfaces are all 1-way mirrors allowing the people in the corridors to watch all the people moving through the maze and in the mirrored rooms. The viewers are able to watch the others perform without the people in the maze knowing. This arrangement provides endless entertainments, quite like the currently popular “reality” TV shows, and allows the viewers a vicarious view to performances and amusement thanks to the people who are performing completely oblivious to the fact that they are being watched. The only thing that is more amusing than looking at ourselves, is watching others when they don’t know they are being watched! The corridors are a “fun-house” where people laugh and photograph the performance in the maze from the sides.

At each end of the transverse corridors are mirrored walls which create an illusion of infinite space. As one penetrates the last of these corridors, one enters a dark, enclosed exit corridor and is confronted with a wall of one-way mirror facing a mirrored garden room with a grid of willow trees and bright green groundcover that seems to go on forever. Exiting via one of two dark covered corridors, one discovers that many of the mirrors they had encountered on the way through the transverse corridors are actually one-way mirrors, through which they can observe others from the hidden dark corridor.

The combination of living willow and solid grey walls is an expression of the harmonious co- existence of nature and city. The garden is a minimalist work of contemporary land art that speaks to the antiquity and timelessness of China, the flexibility and durability of its culture and people. It is Ying and Yang, light and heavy, dynamic and eternal, masculine and feminine. It is rich by its own simplicity. Everybody can sense it in their own way.

Photo © Gen Wang王艮


Photo © Gen Wang王艮

2011年西安园艺世博会主题为“城市与自然和谐共生”,并邀请了9家国际景观公司来设计大师园,MSP就是其中之一的受邀单位。该园从2011年4月展出到2011年10月,结束后将作为永久花园保存下来。业主是西安园艺世博会委员会,他们简短明确的指出:设计师要考虑到当地建材及施工技术的局限性,还要符合中国人的审美。6号基地30米见方,面积为900平方米。


Photo © Gen Wang王艮

材料

园中只有四个要素:传统灰砖砌墙与铺地,柳树,镜子,还有铜质风铃。疏散走廊上方是彩钢板加橡胶防水卷材的屋面系统。


Photo © Gen Wang王艮

参考历史

本地的形式与材料主导了美学设计方向。黄土高原人们进入房间都要经过一个拱门。拱门是中国特别是西安传统乡土建筑的典型要素。这是黄土高原上的景观。同时,像鼓楼这样的历史建筑中也有拱形门道。

灰砖在中国非常普遍。和木材一起,一直是主要的建材。灰砖墙被广泛运用,创造出城市空间,提供隐私保护,还经常出现在皇宫中。灰砖墙也是四合院内外世界的风格,很多时候也是城市以及国家的分界线。这样的墙已成为外国人对中国的最强烈影响之一。

垂柳是一种很中国的树。在中国的诗歌,历史,故事,书法还有绘画中拥有特殊地位。垂柳表达了想念朋友,家乡以及怀旧的情绪。也常常被描绘成女人:柔软,含蓄,轻盈,优雅。
西安的灞河早在隋唐时期就种植柳树,春天时柳絮飘扬如同雪花,因此此景还成为关中八景之一。同时期灞河附近设立了驿站,也刚好是园艺博览会的位置。这是长安人接送东行来客的地方。人们通常会折下柳枝送给客人,希望他们能够停留更长时间。“柳”既是“留”。同时也希望朋友们在新的生活之地,可以像扦插的柳枝那样成荫。

垂柳上挂了1000多只小风铃。风铃的音波间距与走廊的宽度一致。

中国人喜爱用色彩鲜亮的彩灯和铃铛装饰树木。

Photo © Gen Wang王艮

概念:无尽城市

“城市和自然”是一个简明的主题,可以拥有多种理解。花园的下半部分是砖墙围砌的迷宫,上面就是绿色的屋顶。

“城市”仅仅由简单的3米砖墙组成,看上去没有入口。人们通过开放的走廊进入,走廊墙面面对5扇拱门,并把他们倒映出来。拱门穿透1.5米的厚墙,连续成一个走廊。人们在其中就像漫步太空一样。人们必须有目的,必须尝试。但是在迷宫中尝试会是进行很多次。没有人知道前面是什么。在这里,人们会感到有趣,但是也会有点焦急。这些走廊并不是平行的,因此给人混乱,陌生,异常的环境体验。在一些地方制造出无穷镜像或者扭曲。这些镜像诱惑人们进入死胡同。如果你能继续深入,回来到一个神秘的小柳树林,这里三面镜面制造出无尽的森林的假象。

外围的疏散走廊是花园的真正惊喜之地。里面无尽迷宫城市的游客们,就像是表演者。在疏散走廊的人们看着他们,而他们并不知道。这具有无穷的乐趣。现在很流行的“现实”电视节目,就是人们观看别人的生活获得乐趣,当然被观看的人们并不知道自己受到了监视。这个外走廊是一个侧面观看“有趣内部”的机会。
走廊末端横墙上立着镜子,创造出无限空间的幻觉。当你一一穿透这些走廊,最后会进入一个黑暗的,封闭的疏散走廊。这里的方向被限定,同时面对着布满柳树,明亮的绿色无尽镜像花园。在离开的过程中,会发现那些在路上遇见的镜子,实际上他们都是单向镜面的。因此可以在黑暗的走廊中,这些镜子的背后,观看花园的一切。

鲜活的柳树与坚固的灰墙呼应了自然与城市和谐的主题。这个花园是大地艺术,它表达了中国艺术的深远和简约,民生和文化的包容和悠久。这是阴与阳,轻与重,活力与永恒,男与女。是如此简单,又如此丰富。每个人都能通过自己的方式去解读。


Photo © Gen Wang王艮


Photo © Martha Schwartz Partners


Photo © Martha Schwartz Partners

Project Team
Principal Design Director: Martha Schwartz
Project Manager: Don Sharp
Project Designers: Liangjun Zhou, Mattia Gambardella, Chris Wong, Tao Jiang
Associated Team: Professor Wang / Atelier DYJG

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