Thursday, October 18, 2007

CityZen Garden

CASAGRANDE LABORATORY in Danshui, Taiwan, 2006. Glass Zen Garden and back-packs ready for Venice Biennale.

The Zen garden is at least a visual platform of environmental meditation linking the human nature as part of nature and furthermore to more cosmic entities.

On one hand one can see the Zen garden as a reflection of the surrounding environment scaling down the mountains into its stones or the movement of the ocean into the racking pattern of the gravel. Meditation can build connections and dynamics between the elements of the Zen garden and its surrounding nature. Meditation can also reveal tensions, balances and directions between the Zen garden elements themselves and help the viewer to erase the realities around the garden letting the mind travel in this highly controlled environment.
George passing by the glass Zen Garden. The solid glass rock is an industrial mistake and accidentally formed in a sheet-glass owen during years of extreme preassure and heat conditions.

The paradox of the Zen garden is in its highly controlled nature as a platform of accident. It may be that the form of the garden ha remained the same some 500 years having the every element articulated into their exact position – the racking of the sand or gravel, the pattern of the growing or merely being of the tree, the color of the moss around the stone…nothing has changed but still one has to admit that the slightest breeze of the wind might turn one piece of sand or fall down a leaf from the tree and the same gardening work has to be started again. This ultimate human control celebrates the superiority of the smallest of the environmental changes.

Marco Casagrande: CityZen Garden, Zhuwei, Taipei 2006.

We try to control cities with millions of people. And we easily forget the nature. We are capable of creating surroundings where human nature is no longer part of nature.

Garden is a window of eternity.


If a Zen garden is trying to build up a harmony between the natural elements, the human nature and the universe the city does not seem to have the time. And the time is in essence. To justify its being the modern city has created the artificial time and invented stress. After stressing for time and money death has become a defeat – a bankruptcy.

CityZen Garden, detail. Marco Casagrande, 2006.

City must be a compost.

In nature death is the beginning of a new life. When a tree is growing, it is tender and pliant, but when it is dry and hard, it dies. Hardness and strength are death’s companions. Pliancy and weakness are expressions of the freshness and being. When a man is just born, he is weak and flexible, when he dies he is hard and insensitive. Because what has hardened will never win. Stalker.
Nikita Wu. In the future architecture will be done by writers (Yoshio Kato, 2006).

Thinking of the Zen garden and thinking of the city. A new Zen garden for the city, the CityZen Garden of post-urban meditation. The city of slowness, the urbanism of acupuncture, the new urban nomad - in a compost, as a garden.

When an architect is a gardener he is a constructor. If he is not a gardener he can be a destructor. There is a danger.

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