Learning from Xian It is often assumed that the idea of the city is contradictory to the idea of landscape and nature. Thus more often than not, for landscape architecture projects worldwide today, we witness the endless proliferation of architecture that literally looks like natural landscape. Our proposal challenges these two tendencies. The history of the city of Xian, in particular its city walls is the starting point for our project. We derive 3 main concepts from this conjecture: 1. Tradition: Despite the onslaught of ?new? architecture on the city, we posit that elements of the historical city and tradition of Chinese city planning is still relevant and compatible with a horticultural expo park today. 2. Clarity: The utilization of a simple, clear and legible architectural structure can act as a powerful organizational element for an expanded territory many times its scale. 3. Contrast: When architecture?s pure form and geometry stands in contrast to landscape and nature, without altering the latter, the contrasting beauty between the two is mutually reinforced.
Five Climates Crossing We propose a strong, simple and clear architectural artifact as the main organizing element for the master plan. We begin by conceiving the ubiquitous closed city wall as an unfolded wall, thereby turning it into a linear structure that delineates the centre of the site. This one kilometer linear structure is made up of five green houses, each housing the different climate zones. Like the Xian City Wall, this new structure, we have named the Five Climates Crossing will mark the centre of the park and simultaneously act as a connector, linking the Entrance Square on the north, Chang?an Park in the middle and the viewing tower on the south. This 12m wide, one km long crossing should be the longest viewing platform in the world, allowing an overview of the entire horticultural site and park. The structure of this crossing glides gently above the landscape and lake, using a series of hyperbolic parabolic arches to create a variety of arched and domed volumes below the crossing. This opens up the views and circulation across the crossing, capturing picturesque views and making connections like the moon gates and floating pavilions of Chinese Gardens. Within the crossing, the green house is arranged as five different episodes of climate zones. Arranged linearly, the green houses allow visitors to move sequentially from one green house to another and maintain visual connection to the outside. Viewed from the park and lake, the green houses are prominently visible and set up an interesting contrast between the green house plants and the indigenous landscape of Xian.