Beijing Sunken Gardenshttp://www.shapedscape.com/media/reviews/photos/original/18/59/9f/PS-SUNK-PHOT-BILT-05-78-1411754373.jpg
The Beijing Sunken Gardens designed by Plasma Studio and Groundlab aim at fabricating a public space inserted in the middle of the frantic Beijing urban fabric - highrise buildings, elevated highways, main roads, etc. - that is secluded and allows pedestrians to stop, contemplate, relax and connect with nature.
The concept of working with sunken ground comes from a mission of fabricating an experience both intimate and intense combined with a strong feeling of harmony with the environment. Sunken Ground looks at concepts present in ShouZou gardens tradition, such as the rock, the outcrop and the occidental equivalent of the grotto, to then travel in space and time to the image of hanging gardens and further on to the concept of a sunken courtyard. The result is a combination both of intense distortions of the ground and an acute sense of three dimensional, where one feels itself draped by concrete, steel and vegetation, free to explore a thickened version of a microcosm in a series of pocket landscapes for reflection, relaxation and ultimate playfulness.
SPATIAL CONCEPT: CANYON ARCHITECTURES AND CORRIDORS
Given that the site has a strong linear character, the first design task was the structuring of two corridors parallel to the main axis. The longer corridor takes the user through a strong experience of being surrounded by concrete, corten steel and ultimately immersed in a dense canopy of vegetation. The canyon effect is achieved thought the incorporation of oversized pots which delineate the path and are both micro gardens or pocket landscapes which can be either entered or observed from the exterior. The second corridor, which branches from the first one, transffers the visitor from the feeling of being under the landscape, to that of being on top of the landscape. In order to do this, a gentle slope places the spectator on a slightly upper position, while the pot is lowered slightly. The combined effect reverts the illusion of the main axis in such a way that the hanging gardens have given way to a sunken garden east of the corridor. Both corridors are linked through a series of landscape terraces of different materials, generating a diverse ground which is ultimately responsible for the diversity and variety of experiences.
MULTI LAYERED LANDSCAPE: ROCKS AS ISLANDS IN THE SEA
The pots serve as meandering elements within the larger landscape, a large scale version of traditional ShouZhou garden component of the rock boulder and the miniaturized landscape within the flow of the sea. One can can observe each object but also imagine oneself climbing into it in an act of intimate relationship with nature. Some of the traditional gardens also incorporate an element of circulation within these rocks, so that they become both miniature, but also belvedere and observation. Sunken Ground concept uses these traditions to generate a diverse experience where the levels inside the pots are thought so that visitors can experience the full three dimensions of the park, climbing to the top of the pot, looking at other pots and the flow of people around. Finally, pavement and plan patterns flow along the entire site, giving it a sense of totality, continuity and ultimate harmony to the park.
Images courtesy of Plasma Studio and Groundlab.