Pearls of green | landscape design competition
Registration deadline: 1st November 2021
Submission deadline: 2nd November 2021
Result announcement: 30th December 2021
Gardens have existed since 1400 BC, and with time their function evolved from being places to spend leisure time to powerful displays of status. The huge gardens were symbolic of the authority of man over nature, and principles ofproportionality and symmetry were used to design them. These days, the grandeur of the garden was looked over, rather than its leisure purpose.
Different places have green spaces designed for a range of purposes, tailored to the geographic location as well as social settings. The designing of these spaces was considered an art, combined with scienceand knowledge of plants, biology, and the detailing of finer things involved.
Throughout history, garden designing flourished, with influences borrowed from many cultures. Technology helped us create designs that were more efficient and relevant. But as global trends of formal, tropical, and edible gardens became popular, the regional concepts of designing were lost with time.
Does the conceptual aspect of garden designing require our attention?
The art of hiding
Miegakure is an integral concept,part of the Japanese garden culture, where elements of interest are hidden in partial or complete concealment from the viewer’s perspective as they follow a dedicated path. The anticipation that is built, acts as an incentive to continue the walk, experiencing a sense of awe, during the reveal.
With the desire to explore every corner of the garden, the visitor’s attention is immersed in the experience and they establish a connection with the art of gardening and nature itself. The origin of the Miegakure concept waswith Chinese paintings, where they employed this method, by leaving ‘blank’ spaces, that gave the illusion of elements being hidden in misty white clouds.
Alteration of perspective gives depth to any landscape. This form of garden plays with people’s visual perception by framing the views of nature in an unsuspecting manner. While this concept is not unknown, it has yet to be reproduced into space, other than in its land of origin.
How can we recreate the essence of this ancient art form into public garden design?
‘Hide and Reveal’ is the essence of this concept and this dynamism generates a sense of rhythm. With this, the movement of light and darkness, the active and passive nature of spaces, and expansion and contraction in the layout are felt intensely by the person experiencing the garden.
Brief: The challenge is to design a park that is dedicated to the ‘Miegakure’ form of garden design.
The essence of Miegakure must be extracted in the design. The entire landscape must not be discerned from a single viewpoint. A sequence of views must be created and imagined as a composition from the viewer's experience. Achieving harmony and balance is paramount.
The challenge here is making the geographical constraints of the site work in favor of the design. Playing with the levels on-site can help provide various iterations for design concepts. Transformation of spaces through framing or concealing, and the transition of the viewer’s gaze while walking on a fixed path, must be seamless.
Layout - the existing terrain must be studied to design the layout and create areas/zones in the park design. Decide on what must be retained and what can be removed with justification.
User experience - the concept of Miegakure must be used as a tool of design for the park and its representation must be presented in the form of a narrative from visitor view.
Context -the culture, heritage, and environmental conditions of the old park and the city must be taken into consideration while designing.
Sustainability - Local biodiversity must be incorporated. The design of the park must reduce air pollution, urban heat island effect and noise pollution, and other site issues. There must be no wastage of resources and harm inflicted on the site.
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