Chinese Gardens

Chinese gardens are a mix of framed vignettes and colliding elements. The garden space contracts and expands. These were taken from Yu Gardens in Shanghai. The place is pact full of tourists but they gathered in the open areas, this left the narrow passages undisturbed for the most part. You can walk the entire garden in about an hour but you could spend days exploring the hidden paths behind rocks and gathering different views offered. Many of the views reminded me of "Countless Peaks and Vales." I don't think there was a master plan for designing a Chinese garden. As far as I can tell, cartesian geometry and platonic forms don't exists in this realm. It's most definitely a precise accumulation of forms built around experience. There's nothing didactic here nor are there follies, some sections are disorienting but I feel an overwhelming sense of totality when I'm there. Every element is put to work in making this space.


I had hoped that my analysis of calligraphy would provide a guide for understanding Chinese architectural arrangement. On my trip to China this past fall I've documented street signs, their particular configuration and arrangement in various cities. The vertical proportion are a function of the Chinese word. What's interesting for me was that instead of mounting the signage above the door of each shop, Chinese signs are hung perpendicularly from building facades. A cluster of them in a sense, flattens the streetscape.



Hong Kong