The City seen as a Garden of Ideas

I have borrowed my title for this post from Peter Cook, a British architect and founder of Archigram, a  collaboration of six architects known for architecture through drawing. The City, Seen as a Garden of Ideas is  a survey of  meditations on contemporary urban conditions in cities. Cook is an eloquent writer and reveals the influences and motivations behind his seminal works and recent projects in a lyrical way.

I was looking at this blog and I saw these amasing photos of Wisteria Tunnel at Kawachi Fuji Gardens, Kitakyushu, Japan and it got me thinking about The City, Seen as a Garden of Ideas. Cook proposes that throughout much of his practice he was always interested in the inside-outside model. The notion of the edge line of a building should not be a dominant barrier but instead that “any building is but a temporary interruption in the ultimate rolling and groaning and metamorphosis of the ground.” I like this idea of a soft boundary, a continuum from the inside to the outside or vice versa. Cook enjoys the unpredictability of vegetation especially if it is played against formal built structures. Vegetation will “shimmer and fade” through seasonal changes and how is that reinterpreted in built terms. Artists have also blurred the boundaries between the inside-outside with interesting installations. Jeff Koons is probably the obvious artist to begin with since Puppy is permanently installed at  Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in the front entrance.

Jeff Koons, Puppy, stainless steel, soil, geotextile fabric, internal irrigation system, live flowering plants, 1992

Gerda Steiner & Jorg Lenzlinger, Falling Garden, San Stae church on the Canale Grande 50th Biennial of Venice, 2003

Gerda Steiner & Jorg Lenzlinger, Brainforest, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan, 2004

Haruka Kojin, 2010, Hanaibara, Tokyo, Japan

Regine Ramseier, Windstille, 2011, ArToll Summer Lab 2011

Germaine Koh, Fallow, 2009, Charles H Scott Gallery

Pete Dungey, Pothole Gardens, public installations highlighting imperfections in Britain’s roads.

Noisivelvet, The Mobile Garden, 2011, CTA flat train car, Chicago (part of Art on Track)

2 responses to “The City seen as a Garden of Ideas

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