University of Southern California

Round 1:


January 26th Presentation:


January 30th Presentation:


Final Round:


University Park
Creative Nature
2011 Xi’an Horticultural Park

USC Sky Garden
Sky Garden Manifesto

Gardens and landscape often represent a ideal vision of nature.
Sky garden demonstrates a futurist vision of nature.
Gardens and other constructed landscapes are a cultural construct, representing an idealized vision of nature that we hold dear. Usually maintaining this vision of nature is a costly endeavor, but the joy these landscapes provide is hard to measure. Sky Garden eschews representation as a central strategy and rather seeks to demonstrate both the beauty and danger of natural processes while expressing futurist visions of both apocalypse and salvation through design.

Gardens reflect culture.
Sky Garden refracts culture.
While reflective, gardens are not merely a reflection of culture; they also serve to shape it, if only by refracting and magnifying our complicated perspective of “nature”.
In Sky Garden we refract the materiality of sky it’s cultural and ecological implications within the medium of a garden that allows people to feel the implications of their current trajectory, thus possibly altering it.

Gardens are cultural infrastructure.
Sky Garden is infrastructure.
For many, gardens provide us with a fine cultural infrastructure, yet designers are obsessed with hybridizing landscape architecture and hard infrastructures. What else should landscape be doing besides providing us with cultural feedback and pleasure? Does it also need to be integrated with other forms infrastructure?

In Sky Garden we propose that a garden landscape itself has a critical and often unrealized potential as a hard infrastructure. For a long time density has been a critical benchmark of how sustainable we can be. In the USA, New York City is considered the most sustainable city; the carbon footprint of each resident of the city is radically less than the rest of the country. Yet, with growing urbanization and global warming our densest cities that are getting uncomfortably hotter, even unhealthy. Landscape architecture is part of the solution.

In Sky Garden we apply the growing body of contemporary research on the ability of landscape to counter Urban Heat Island and Global Warming. Scientists are dissecting the performance of landscape, both in it’s macro effect and personal comfort of individuals. This research suggests that landscapes and gardens may serve their most important cultural and infrastructural functions by creating comfortable cities. In Sky Garden we explore the potential of beautiful and meaningful garden of applying new research to serve as critical comfort infrastructure.

Spectacular Elements:
Vegetated Cloud and Sky Reflection Garden
Solar Atrium

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One Comment

  1. Posted January 24, 2010 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    Great technical depth to the package. Relevant information and will be interesting to see what comes from this. What is the resulting concept?

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