THursday Three

TIANJIN BRIDGED GARDENS

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These Gardens located in the Hedong District , Tianjin City, China are a whirlwind of colour and texture in both landscape and hardscape. The project, completed in 2008, was a remediation project to improve the soil and water conditions on a site that was highly polluted and full of garbage. It looks to be a bright and happy place with a variety of ‘banded’ gardens (different levels with different types of ecologies) that make the development very engaging. The designers abstracted important local patterns in their design of the park, including water borders, crop fields, harvested farmlands, rivers, marshes, meadows and pastures. According to many articles, the place has become an extremely important to the hugely populated communities surrounding it.

turenscape.com2What I like about the project in particular is the tactile nature of the design. This picture expresses that well, I can imagine how the grass would feel as I ran through it – something that some people may have never felt before. That is why I am a huge fan of city parks, urban landscapes, and anything that brings a bit of nature into the craziness of the city. The feel, the smell, the sound of grass, flowers, water, trees etc. has no replacement.

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(Bridged Garden images from http://www.turenscape.com/english/projects/project.php?id=441)

THE GARDEN THAT CLIMBS THE STAIRS

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This project is quite exciting to me. Though it is extremely simple when compared to many other designed landscapes, its simplicity is what makes it so powerful. The project done by Balmori Associates for Bilbao Jardin 2009 Competition, literally stretched the rules. Each architect was given a 100 square meter square to design a garden in, and Balmori decided to stretch that square so that the garden could extend up the staircase. What resulted is a temporary structure that created a dynamic interaction for users of the staircase. It is a contradictory feature in many ways. First, the nature of the design, that is something that attracts you and wants you to stop and literally ‘smell the roses’ is so different from the movement and transitional nature of the stairs.

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I have always thought that wildflowers are rarely taken advantage of in our designs. We prefer to choose obedient and clean lined plants to line our streets and parks, but the unruly wildflower is so much more attractive! Here we can see another juxtaposition in even the materials of the project. The boxes containing the flowers are made of core-ten steel which is more of a permanent and slowly changing material. On the other hand the flowers themselves are so fleeting and seasonal in comparison.

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(All The Garden that Climbs the Stairs photos are from: https://acdn.architizer.com/)

THE EDGE PARK

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The Edge Park looks a bit more traditional now-a-days in terms of edgy (hehe) park designs (somewhat like the high line). Shapes and angles and divisions have been thoroughly explored in a variety of spaces. I like this project because it expresses the struggle between the natural and ecological forms of the river, and the geometric gridded form of the city. This project is located in Brooklyn, New York and was completed in 2011 by W-Architecture (who are also currently working on Calgary’s Riverwalk).

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I like how the park looks to be a mix of features that provides a place for everyone wishing to use it – the busy families and active people, and the people just looking for a place to sit and enjoy the views. I also think that the variations of textures, materials, and plant life are particularly well done here (though it does look like there is a lack of wildflowers!). For example the rockiness and grittiness of the river stone, contrasts with the smooth and particularly coloured pavers. It keeps people interested through variation – which is so important in public spaces – but at the same time all works together in harmony.

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 I think the only thing missing for me in this project is a greater variation in the levels at which the pedestrian inhabits. The whole site seems quite flat despite the changes in pattern and texture. It would be nice if a more dramatic change occurred to facilitate different views or frame them, but perhaps that is just my personal preference :).

(All The Edge Park photographs are from http://www.landezine.com/index.php/2011/11/the-edge-park-landscape-architecture/)

Thanks for reading the first “The Thursday Three” Posts – I hope you enjoyed the projects! I look forward to any suggestions or ideas for posts so leave a comment!

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