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Z’scape：”Following the completion of HYLLA Alpine Garden, the client and we had the vision of attempting to create a lower maintenance garden with limited design intervention to maximize the restoration of native vegetation on a 3-hectare site to the east of Xupai, away from the buildings.
The design started in 2020 and the Wilderness Garden and Amphitheater were finished in May 2021, precisely a year ago. In this living, primitive and artistic space, we establish a contrast and marriage between the wild disorder of nature and the geometric structure of artificiality. In the efforts to understand and explore the complete life cycle of the landscape, we were faithful to record the changes in the year and the vicissitude of the garden. Throughout the year, we have felt both the sprouting and withering of life, witnessed the process of natural restoration in the changing seasons, and touched people’s hearts with the primal power bursting out of the land. Living in a pandemic, may the wilderness landscape of natural succession bring a touch of hope for greeness to people.”
—Liangjun Zhou, Chief Designer
▽2021 春 许拍以东荒野花园与草甸剧场原状 2021 spring xu Pai East wilderness garden and meadow theater original state
▽2021 夏 荒野花园与草甸剧场建成 2021 Summer Wilderness Garden and meadow Theater are completed
▽2021 秋 In the autumn of 2021
▽2022/02 冬 The winter of 2022/02
▽2022/05 立夏 2022/05 of summer
荒野花园 Wilderness Garden
For thousands of years, the ancient Chinese, through their meticulous observation and feeling of nature, formed the perception that there were four seasons, twenty-four solar terms with eight key points in a year. It was a complete seasonal time system, guiding their farming and livestock work, the way they produced and lived. “Budding in spring, growth in summer, harvest in autumn and hibernation in winter.” “Hunting non-pregnant animals in spring, killing beasts that damage crops in summer, wild animals that hurt poultry in autumn and predators to balance the ecology in winter. ” These poems are wisdom of the ancient Chinese who had observed the four seasons in order, the sense of the pass of time, reflecting the philosophy of following nature and maintaining a balanced relationship between man and nature. However, when it comes to flowers and trees in gardens, the world prefers a blooming scene, so most of the world’s gardens have a delicate mix of blooming flowers and trees. The ideal is “four seasons of evergreen trees, three seasons of blooming flowers”, pursued through selecting varieties of plants and pruning with utmost care. Traditional gardens are mostly attached to the buildings. The proximity also makes them easier for maintenance. The beauty of gardens are usually a display of ornamental horticultural flowers and trees, while native plants that are regarded as weeds are pulled up. The idea of beautiful gardens, dominated by human will to conquer nature is usually also a reality ruled by human aesthetics with extreme dependence on tools and pesticides.
Following the completion of HYLLA Alpine Garden, the client and we had the vision of attempting to create a lower maintenance garden with limited design intervention to maximize the restoration of native vegetation on a 3-hectare site to the east of Xupai, away from the buildings. The Wilderness Garden is named after the idea of “allowing plants to grow naturally or at will”. In the efforts to understand and explore the complete life cycle of the landscape, we expected a faithful record of the garden in the time of a year through its vicissitude. Through the changes, we would witness the sprouting of life and observe the withering of it as well. We praise its luxuriant and prosperous appearance but also feel the sorrow of its falling and death. Based on an understanding of the life cycle of the site, people could appreciate the beauty of four seasons and nature as a living picture where it reproduces, changes and renews in its on rhythm.
▽赞其蓊郁繁盛之风貌，叹其枯萎零落之风骨 Praise its lush and prosperous style, sigh its withered and scattered character
The site of the Wilderness Garden was a deserted low-lying lot of weeds to the east of Xupai, uneven in surface. It is crossed by two runoffs of melted snow water, which is also one of the sources of irrigation for the farmland in Baisha Town. Large native trees such as old pear trees, walnut trees, etc. remained on the site. The ground was covered by plants such as sticktight, Chinese silvergrass, mugwort, Oenothera, and Juncus.
▽场地原状：场地植被经过长年的自我演替达到较为稳定的生态平衡，野生繁茂且不可安全进入 Site status: Original state of the site: the vegetation of the site has reached a relatively stable ecological balance after years of self-succession
▽局部堆放石料和建筑垃圾 Local piles of stone and construction waste
In the Pan-Himalayan climate of Lijiang, the plants have evolved to a rather stable ecosystem with a variety of species and a relative self-balance. However, as the site had been abandoned for many years, piles of domestic and construction waste were left there, possibly polluting the passing streams and land. The site is lower than the Alpine Garden and can be seen from a distance from the wooden path to Xupai, but there was no access to visit due to the lush and overgrown plants.
▽向南的鸟瞰图 An aerial view of the south
Topsoil, through which plants absorb nutrients to sustain root growth, is an important resource capable of restoring ecological functions. At the same time, it is also a treasure trove of native seeds. The team first stripped topsoil from the construction area of the wooden path and collected it using protective methods. Through a series of procedures including removing rubble, plastic products and other construction waste, crushing clay, remixing and filling the topsoil, the land was nourished during the months of a prolonged rainy season, waiting for the seeds in the native soil to bud and grow. The vegetation gradually recovered naturally over time and regained its vitality.
▽2021/04 施工中（表土的再利用；利用回收的丽江老房梁木做成嵌草木台阶）20202/04 Construction (reuse of topsoil; Use recycled beams of old houses in Lijiang to make inlaid steps)
▽2021/07 建成后两个月 Two months after the completion of 2021/07
▽2021/09 建成后四个月的夏末，野花随意地丛丛绽放 In late summer, four months after the 20201/09 completion, wildflowers blossomed randomly in clusters
▽2021/10 植被基本恢复，木栈道在茂盛的地被中其间时隐时见 20201/10 Vegetation is basically restored, and the wooden plank road is hidden and visible in the lush ground
The wind also brings the seeds of coreopsis and petunias, which are common in the community. Wildflowers bloom in random clumps in late summer. The weeds are also coming back in the rainy season. The winding wooden path weaves in and out of the garden, offering visitors a safe and up-close way to experience the Wilderness Garden, creating an immersive, walkable and reflective space to connect freely with the plants and nature. The path ascends and ends at the elevated observation deck, which provides a distant view of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and a close view of the Wilderness Garden. It also forms a layered and integrated landscape with the stones placed by man and the preserved old native trees.
▽曲折的木栈道在荒野花园中穿梭，为到访者提供了既安全也能近距离深入体验荒野花园的路径 Zigzag wooden walkways weave through the wilderness gardens, providing visitors with safe and intimate access to the wilderness gardens
The natural and rustic stones remain a symbol of the site spirit and can be traced back to the ancient Naxi culture and customs of “erecting wood and stones”. The local native stones of different shapes and sizes were carefully selected and arranged. Some are in a circle as a symbol of fullness, some placed as dots along the wooden path. Sometimes they are hidden in the weeds, other times standing on their own.
▽圆圈状环绕的原石 The rough stone circled in a circle
▽巨大的原石矗立于土地之上 Huge boulders rise from the ground
In the autumn and winter when the plants are withered, the stone wooden path would have a clearer and more subtle interaction with the distant Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and the village farmland. When it is covered with snow, the site is merged as one with the neighboring landscape, leaving an impression of limitless.
▽秋冬季节的荒野花园美景 Wilderness gardens in autumn and winter
▽自然质朴的石头依旧是场所精神的象征 The natural and rustic stone is still a symbol of the spirit of the place
In the middle of the Wilderness Garden is a small piece of experimental land, left with no design intervention to boldly and authentically reveal the color and texture of the unique red soil in Yunnan. Only a few plants were replanted in this area, allowing the native plants to be observed as they sprout, leaving room for growth or the construction of small buildings on the site.
▽设计上的局部留白，露出云南特有之红土地的色泽肌理之美 The partial white space in the design reveals the beauty of yunnan’s unique red earth color and texture
▽2021/12 冬景 2021/12 winter scene
荒野花园也是野生动物重要的栖息地，为生物提供丰富的营养和庇护所。现有的核桃树和梨树的果实、地被植物的花叶蜜都是鸟类昆虫等生物天然的食物。鸟儿来这里筑巢，求偶，繁衍；植物摇曳，四季都是鸟语缤纷。被抬高 60 厘米设置的木栈道，竭力在最小程度上影响原场所，以确保动物和昆虫可以不受干扰地移动。堆放的石头不仅作为是美学元素，也为小动物提供了庇护所。
The Wilderness Garden is also an important habitat for wildlife, providing abundant nutrition and shelter. The fruits of the existing walnut and pear trees and the nectar of the flowers and leaves of the groundcover plants are natural food for birds, insects and other local animals. Birds come here to nest, court and breed. The plants sway with the birds singing in all seasons. The wooden path, which was elevated by 60 centimeters, was set up with minimal disturbance to the original site to ensure that animals and insects could move around undisturbed. The stacked stones not only serve an aesthetic purpose, but also provide shelter for small animals.
▽架设的木栈道和平台，最小程度地影响原场地 Erection of the wooden footway and platform, the smallest degree affect the original site
Two water features were installed combined with the original surface runoffs. The circular pond is natural and simple, also serves to collect rainwater for irrigation, as well as to grow and nourish aquatic plants and attract wildlife. On the eastern border of the Wilderness Garden is a rectangular water feature, hidden among the plants. The bottom of the pond is sloped in shallow water, bringing humans and animals closer, providing a place for birds, sheep and cattle that wander from the adjacent farmland to drink and bathe.
▽圆形池塘的夏景和冬景，工法自然朴实 The summer and winter scenes of the circular pond are natural and simple
▽花园东部边界的矩形水景 Rectangular water feature on the eastern border of the garden
▽掩映在针芒丛中 Hidden among the needles
The approach of building the Wilderness Garden is to avoid excessive human intervention in its design with the intention of achieving a low-maintenance, sustainable native ecosystem led by natural succession. In an ecological and aesthetic sense, the wildness of nature is kept within acceptable limits. It also creates a landscape that is friendly to local animals and plants without safety issues for human users.
▽营造一处对当地动植物友好的景观场所 Create a landscape that is friendly to local flora and fauna
草甸剧场，融于自然的大地艺术舞台 Amphitheater, a Stage of Art in Nature
At the northern end of the Wilderness Garden, there was a lower and rather open and flat lot. It is the closest to the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, but because of a 6-meter drop from the Xupai lawn area, with large native trees such as walnut and pear trees on the border and scraggly shrubs underneath the trees, it is kept away from the Xupai lawn by natural barriers, inaccessible to people. When we first arrived here, we had an idea that there should be a natural stage which blends with the land, where people can feel the wind and rain, the sun, the moon, the stars, insects and birds. Children can run and play freely, and visitors could quietly look at the snow-capped mountains. The most beautiful songs and dances under the snow mountains can be carried out there, and the most sacred celebrations of the Naxi people can be offered on the stage as well. There would be no need for bright lights or setting, nature is the best stage.
▽草甸剧场原状植被和高差 Original vegetation and height difference of meadow Theater
▽保留了原生树木和利用现状6米高差建成后的剧场 The original trees were retained and the existing 6-meter height difference was used to build the theater
▽草甸剧场 Meadow theatre
The 1,500-square meter amphitheater, enclosed by a circular ramp and a platform like a terraced field, can be reached by taking the steps from the wooden footpath next to Xupai. It is also the most artificially designed area in the Wilderness Garden, integrating the image of terraced rice fields in Yunnan in a modernist design.
▽云南梯田印象 Yunnan terraced fields impression
▽两道缓缓升起的“山脊”Two slowly rising ridges
▽如梯田般褶皱的台地 Terraces that fold like terraces
When designing this outdoor art stage, we explored the features of the original lower terrain and the perfect location facing the snow mountains. We slowly raised two “ridges” from the ground, gradually turning them into slopes and terraces. At the same time, wooden footpath made of recycled sleepers were embedded in the ground, and benches made of old timber from residential houses corresponding to the curves of the terraces. In the space, a variety of landscape elements such as terrain and plants are integrated to finally draw the outline of the amphitheater. In the large circular space, interesting smaller spaces such as gullies, slopes and platforms appear, blending in with nature. Land art landscape is explored to address space scales, the relationship between aesthetics and the site, providing a functional space where multiple types of activities can be carried out.
▽草甸剧场 Meadow theatre
Opportunities to experience nature are embedded in the terrain where children can run, climb, jump, dance or roll around. The high and low curved benches on the terraces provide a perfect location to observe the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain and the central performance lawn. It is also an excellent outdoor venue for sculptors to display their outstanding works and a popular outdoor networking space for artists. The traditional Naxi Torch Festival is held here annually, where people pay tribute to the snow mountain, the ancient folk traditions, and pray for a good harvest. Dances and songs around the bonfire echo throughout the Alpine Garden, which has also become a haven for local residents and visitors alike to experience ancient Naxi culture.
▽Shona绍纳石雕展览 Shona Stone Sculpture Exhibition
▽孩童们肆意奔跑与嬉戏的夏日剧场 A summer theater where children run and play
▽在草甸剧场，人们载歌载舞欢庆纳西族火把节 In the Meadow Theater, people sing and dance to celebrate the Naxi Torch Festival
▽草甸剧场雪景“当华美的叶片落尽，生命的脉络才历历可见” Meadow Theater Snow Scene “When the gorgeous leaves fall, the veins of life can be clearly seen”
The Wilderness Garden and Amphitheater are an exploration of our landscape design practice. The design technique uses a few simple and light strokes to create a poetic space that blends with the land and environment. The project created an original and artistic space with vitality, establishing a contrast and integration between the wild and disorderly nature and the artificially geometric order. Meanwhile, the space enables visitors to safely dive in and immerse themselves in it, experiencing the profound meaning in the plainness. In the overly synthetic modern world, the natural succession of wilderness landscape brings a touch of hope for green to people. A true wilderness landscape is firstly a habitat for local plants and animals to flourish, then a landscape place for human users to rest and enjoy. It motivates us to think about the relationship between man and nature, shifting from the dominant concept of man conquering nature to giving nature more possibilities to grow on its own. In the timeline of the changing seasons, we witness the process of natural restoration and touch the souls of people with the primitive power of land itself.
Project Name: Wilderness Garden & Amphitheater, Lijiang HYLLA
Project location: Yunnan
Landscape Architect: Z’scape
Chief Designer: Liangjun Zhou, Ting Zhou
Design Team: Xueting Liu, Yu Hao, Liping Chen, Weiguang Hou Junxing Lv, Huiting Shi, Yuxin Kang, Chang Sun, Xinhe Li(intern)
Client Coordinators: Qiujin Hu, Fei Yang, Qiaohou He
Landscape Contractor: Lijiang Jingyi gardening Engineering Co., Ltd
Lighting Consultant: Zhou Hongliang Lighting Design Beijing Co., Ltd.
Local Stonemasons: Lijiang Cairunhong Engineering Co., Ltd.
Local Carpenters: Shangri-La Hongmutang Traditional Wood Structure Co., Ltd.
Photographers: Holi Landscape Photography, Morefotos, Ting Zhou, HYLLA Yiwen Sun
Video and Editing: Morefotos
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