Can landscape be created from nothing?
How to create landscape? The standard answer from contemporary landscape architects is that landscape design should be based on the site and take into account of the spirit of the place and the local culture ...... and then you can think about concepts and drawings.
The spirit of place has become an impassable golden line for space art which is known as the artistic correctness. In practice, however, such a standard is counterproductive, since most of the residential developments are completely built on old residential sites or wastelands of a new town ......
Therefore, in face of a project, we need to accustom ourselves to a “blank” site, respecting and keeping the precious existences and trying not to create landscapes mechanically.
Form, space, spirit, narrative, life, function, etc. all of them are starting points and approaches to landscaping. There is no absolutely correct approach, no eternal validity, and no right or wrong standards of value. The only way to judge a project may lie in whether the design process is reasonable and logical.
To create landscapes from nothing, you need to find a “prototype” on which to base the design from beginning to developing. As for Longfor ·Jade Mansion, Xiamen, the designer takes “travel” from the landscape culture as the “prototype”.
As an ideal prototype for living and travelling, “travel” embodies three important landscape ideas: time and space, physical activity and spiritual dwelling, which are the basis and aim of design.
"Travel" actually means returning to the traditional Chinese ideological system to find the lost treasure, which regards landscape as a dynamic and continuous space-time complex rather than a static and framed visual object.
In Chinese landscape paintings, the viewer or the person in the painting is just "travelling" on a two-dimensional surface. It is the gesture of “travel” that contributes to an experience beyond time. From this perspective, “travelling” among landscapes will allow visitors to experience the ideal lifestyle. And in order to create an ideal living environment, we should first realize that landscape is a complex of multiple dimensions.
Another meaning of "travel" is physical activities, including both movement and meditation. In fact, the space-time complex can be understood as people keeping moving in a space and immersed together with time going by.
Of course, we can use the fashionable theory of kinesthesias to empower the space. When visitors pass through the landscape space with muscular and neural movements, they can experience a dynamic flow of perceptions from the surroundings. All kinds of sports, such as running, strolling and dancing, allow people to interact with the landscape, and the pace and frequency of body movements even provide a new perspective on the landscape.
Spirit of Dwelling
The purpose of the space-time complex and the physical activities is to search for a poetic lifestyle among the landscapes. As for Martin Heidegger, the problem lies in how to make Bauen equal to Wohnen.
From prototype to concept, from space-time complex to body experience; from visitors to landscapes and then to the sate of body and mind, “travel” makes people part of the “landscape painting” and creates an ideal world.
From conceptual prototype to landscape construction
The design sketches serve as the transition between conceptual prototype and space construction. Therefore, we’ve carefully proposed, tried and modified again and again, trying to connect “travel” closely with “landscaping”.
Listening to the Space
The purpose of design is not for self-admiration or to simply build some landscape, but to create a series of elements that can define and shape the space based on the requirements of the site.
Decorative elements such as the pine, rough stone and white rocks are carefully selected to avoid too much interference in the space. Materials of different texture and size are employed to present a pure natural space.
Formation and Organization of Space Clues
"Beauty does not exist in object itself, but between the objects." Well-designed transitional spaces will help to shape the multiple levels, while the exquisite details will form the clues of the whole space.
The sculptural stone stands still and the light pours through the moon gate into the corridor, allowing people to feel totally at ease in this quiet and peaceful space.
Gate, corridor and transitional spaces are designed in the same way as the classical gardens, creating a space structure of multiple levels.
Possibility of Space-time Changes
We try to give up an ultimate, complete, unchangeable and predictable landscape pattern, and turn to one that is changing as time goes by. The landscape design of Longfor · Jade Mansion not only focuses on space but also takes time into consideration, creating a dynamic landscape space that can change with time.
When in the landscape space, one can experience different beauty with the changing seasons, since the space is not only for exhibition but also for life.
Based on the theory of landscape painting, the designer hopes to create a three-dimensional “travel route” which will lead people to pass through the corridor, step up the terrace and overlook the whole space from the top.
Just like the film, the space is also created to record people’s life and movements and tell stories.
It is no longer an object for appreciation but the landscape that encourages the interaction between people. In the space, people will not only interact with the surrounding environment but also communicate with others. It is the function of promoting the relationship between people that makes the space meaningful.
Project: Longfor · Jade Mansion, Xiamen
Developer: Xiamen Yingtai Property Co.,Ltd.
Landscape Design: Guangzhou S.P.I Design Co.,Ltd.
Landscape Construction: Xiamen Tangsong Landscape Design & Engineering Co.,Ltd.
Architectural Design: HZS Architecture Design (Shanghai), Ltd.
Location: Xiamen, FuJian
Design Area: 54,282.36㎡
Time of Design: July, 2017
Time of Completion: September, 2019