Chinese gardens are designed to recreate and miniaturize more significant natural landscapes. Every Chinese Garden contains a building or pavilion, decorative rocks, plants, trees, flowers, and water elements. Most of the nation’s gardens are enclosed by a wall and have a path you walk through.
The first Chinese gardens were built in the Yellow River valley during the Shang Dynasty. There were two types of gardens, one where animals were kept and another for plants and gardening. For 3000 years, emperors, government officials, scholars, and poets have built their Chinese gardens.
One of the unique aspects of Chinese gardens is that they are laid out so that you can’t see the entire Garden all at once. Every Garden comprises small scenes, so you can wander the space and come upon various intimate settings to marvel. Additionally, the art of crafting a Chinese garden also considers the view outside of the parks. For instance, some greens are purposefully built with a picture of a mountain to be included in the scenes.
China’s public open spaces include gardens and plazas. These two types follow different design approaches. For instance, gardens and parks tend to have a more traditional design in China. On the other hand, plazas often follow a European-inspired format, often based on the renaissance-baroque style.
Chinese traditional design is asymmetrical, framed by structures in the Garden, rocks are used as sculptures, buildings are integrated with the Garden, water is naturally shaped, and pavements are often winding paths. Additionally, the types of buildings in a garden will have to do with size. When it comes to the European-inspired style features bilateral symmetry, the view opens at ground level, plants have a geometric pattern, rocks are rarely used, buildings are often the focal point, and pavements are linear.
While western-inspired designs can be beautiful, there is nothing like the unique touch and experience of a Chinese garden with its winding paths and intimate settings. While western inspiration brings a new design to China with more open spaces and more use of concrete, Chinese gardens have a cozy and unique feeling.
What if someone decided to merge the modern with the traditional? The Sunken Garden is an exhibition located in Beijing. The structure features a current build that still takes nature as its main inspiration. When visiting the Sunken Garden, you get the feeling of being a part of it. The creation of the gardens takes inspiration from canyons with their compressed space corridors created by layered geological formations.
Additionally, the project uses elements of traditional Chinese Gardens. For instance, the pots act as elements within the larger landscape to create a miniaturized version of a landscape. Every bank in the Sunken Garden allows visitors to experience the three-dimensionality of the park.