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L&A design:”In the process of our landscape project practice, we have been thinking about the meaning of time for the landscape, how to make our garden grow in a long-term and full of vitality, so that people will keep discovering when they pass by.
As Mary Margaret says: We don’t really design the landscape, but rather we set up a system to make it work. In the Wu Men Li project in Suzhou, the L&A design team utilized the natural elevation of the site to create a natural garden with plants spreading down from above. We hope that the garden is formed through the natural growth of the plants, allowing time to use its creativity on this canvas, using the power of time to make the space and plants gradually emerge as we expect. At the same time, we also hope that this way of garden making can provide some new solutions for the long-term growth of the garden.
We made a comparison and there were many interesting changes in the Wumenli display area over a six-month period.The same scene, the same perspective, presented a completely different feeling in winter and summer.Those spaces that were reserved in winter were filled with plants in summer; those sites that were empty in winter became crowded and vibrant in summer.
▼冬夏不同季节中庭俯瞰对比 Comparison of overlooking atrium in different seasons in winter and summer
▼冬夏不同季节中庭对比 Comparison of atrium in different seasons in summer and winter
与植物“交织”的墙体 Walls “interwoven” with plants
The most unusual scenario in the Wumenli display area is the Bear Cave space, where the wall façade is made of volcanic rock to simulate the feeling of the cut and exposed rocks of the mountain. The design team embedded several patches of green space in the front field space of the bear cave, planting a large number of climbing plants and placing some bamboo poles. In the early days when the plants were relatively weak, the climbing plants were provided with paths to climb upwards, allowing the plants and the wall to correspond, forming a picture of a overlapping greenery cover.
▼冬季时裸露的墙体 Exposed walls in winter
During the six months, the plants kept growing, intertwining with the walls and even winding up the fence above the bear cave as well. The garden became more natural and vibrant, and the feeling of plants spreading down from above emerged naturally.
▼夏季植物生长蔓延开来，熊洞充满生机与活力 In the summer, plants grow and spread, and bear caves are full of life and energy
被植物“穿透”的边界 Boundary “penetrated” by plants
Considering the sustainability of this natural garden, the design team wanted to use a lighter, more invisible material to intervene in the garden that would guarantee the functionality of the material without destroying the natural feel of the garden. The final choice was to use steel wire mesh for the hilltop garden fence and galvanized steel mesh for the pathway of the hilltop garden.
▼扶手侧面采用单元方格25×25的成品钢丝网既保证安全也为植物“穿透”预留空间 Handrail side adopts 25×25 finished steel wire mesh in cell square, Both to ensure safety and to allow space for plants to “penetrate”
Over time, these “permeable” materials are gradually “penetrated” freely by the plants, and the so-called boundaries are broken down, as the materials and plants interact with each other to create a common garden language.
▼20宽5厚镀锌网格台阶表面做锯齿防滑处理，网格竖向留缝8mm，横向90mm 20 wide 5 thick galvanized grid steps with serrated anti-slip surface treatment, Grid vertical seam 8mm, horizontal 90mm
在植物中“穿行”的廊桥 Corridor bridge that “walks” through the plants
At the beginning of the design, we proposed a bridge between the rooftop garden and the hilltop garden to “walk through” the greenery, using perforated steel plates for the bridge deck and metal mesh for the handrails, hoping to weaken the appearance of the porch as much as possible, and planting Sapium sebiferum forests and various shrubs on both sides of the bridge.
▼廊桥两侧种植乌桕弱化钢板的存在感 The presence of sapium steel plates planted on both sides of the bridge
After half a year, lush plants continue to grow, thick sebiferous branches and leaves intertwined, around the metal network of shrubs Fatsia japonica and Edgeworthia chrysantha also increasingly flourishing, the feeling of “walking through” the jungle naturally created, walking in the corridor, like walking between the treetops.
▼经过半年生长已宛如丛林穿行 After half a year growth has been like a jungle through
被植物“包裹”的花园 A garden ” surrounded” by plants
In the creation of the hilltop garden, we hope to present the natural mountain landscape with dense woods and splendid mountain flowers, so that the structure of the bear cave and the secret passage to the bear cave can be naturally “integrated” in the jungle and hidden in the plants, bringing unexpected surprises to people.
Therefore, in the plant selection of the hilltop garden, we put more thought into the matching of ground cover layer and shrub layer with the bridge layer and middle bridge layer. Lower layer – cover the exposed structural surface of the bear cave with plants such as Sedum hispanicum, Bird’s Nest Fern, Leopard plant, Paperplant etc., and fill the green space with Swiss cheese plant, Zeeland, Lycopus asper, Jingliang, Schefflera heptaphylla, etc. The upper layer -Celtis sinensis and Chinese tallow are used as structural shaping trees, and red maple is used as scenery shaping trees.
The organic combination of plants and the hand of “time” interact to give more imagination to the growth of plants, so that the expected effect can be easily presented and bring out the quiet beauty of the garden in a more natural way.
被植物“柔化”的空间 A space “softened” by plants
We always expect that the same location and the same perspective will become very different under the effect of time, so we returned to our garden after half a year.
When the Wu Men Li display area was first landed in winter, the plants and environment were relatively independent, even the bear sculpture seemed isolated, and it seemed difficult to create a dialogue between the theme of the site and the space.
▼刚建成时植物与环境相对孤立 The plants were relatively isolated from the environment when they were first built
However, in the summer, the undulating waterscape, the bear on the spring, the overhanging observation deck, and the winding path are all connected with the clustered flowers and plants, the graceful Sapium sebiferum, and the tall beech trees. The plants “soften” the angles of the space and reduce the artificial traces in the space, making the space natural and relaxing.
▼半年后生长的植物弱化空间的边界 Plants growing half a year later weaken the boundaries of the space
为生长“留白”的空间 Blank space for growth
The roof garden on the second floor of the Wumenli display area is directly facing the open lawn of the city park. We wanted this space to be connected to the park space across the street, so we continued the natural and organic plant forms from the park to the roof garden and created a floral rooftop with the name ” Flora’s Land”.
However, instead of pursuing the immediate effect, we use the “blank space” method to plant flowers and plants, according to the characteristics of each plant and considering the size of its seedling state, we reserve space for plant growth and fill the middle with ground cover.
The surface is covered with ground cover, which serves several purposes: to insulate the soil, to inhibit weed growth, and to conserve water in the soil. There are two main types of ground cover, inorganic ground cover and organic ground cover. Inorganic ground covers are low maintenance and less prone to decay, but they can make the soil less aerated and affect the growth of plants. Stones, gravel, pebbles, calcined ceramic granules, and volcanic rock are the most commonly used types of inorganic ground covers.
Organic mulch mainly uses plant materials such as crushed tree branches, bark, pine needles, grass clippings, wood chips, and fruit shells, which are more ecological and natural. In terms of types, fallen leaves, straw and pine needles leaves are less expensive, but along with watering, the ground cover mulch will float up, slightly less stable and not suitable for sloping land. Bark and husk are relatively denser, suitable for sloping land, and rich in color. However, the husk has the smallest particle size and delicate effect, which is not suitable for wide area use.
We finally chose dark bark for the roof garden of the Bear Cave, which is a larger space, to create a more natural and rustic atmosphere; we chose dark fruit shells for the roof garden of the building, combined with flower mirrors to create a more delicate feeling of space.
设计师说 Designers’ view
A newly completed garden is like a brand new piece of artwork, with all the effort to refine the details and materials, it is the most “perfect” at the moment of completion, but it is also the most sculpted.
To become a modern garden with a great sense of art but without losing the sense of nature, we must always keep patience and give more time to nature, when we fully trust nature it will give back surprises and use the power of time to realize the exploration of landscape and nature.
景观设计：奥雅设计 北京公司 项目九组
采写：奥雅设计 北京公司 项目九组
Project Name: Suzhou Xuhui Wu Men Li
Project Address: Yundong Avenue, Wujiang District, Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province
Project type: Exhibition area
Land area: 3708㎡
Building area: 1100㎡
Landscape area: 2608㎡
Design cycle: 2020.6-2020.11
Completion date: 2020.12
Client: Xuhui Jiangsu Regional Group
Landscape Design: L&A Design Beijing Project Group 9
Architectural design: Shanghai Seawater Stone Architectural Planning & Design Co.
Interior Design: Guangzhou Yan Yutang Decoration Design Co.
Lighting design: Jiangsu Hongjie Wisdom Technology Co.
Construction Unit: Shanghai Meidi Landscape Co.
Writing: L&A Design Beijing Project Team 9
Photography: Xiaohua Photography
审稿编辑 任廷会 – Ashley Jen
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