Reading the Book of Xixi’nan
By Kongjian Yu
The landscape is a book. Every village holds its own book of the landscape — some are thick and heavy, others thin and light; some villages are profound, others crude; often they are magnificent and jubilant, and at times implicit and miserable. Among the books of villages, the Xixi’nan Village in Huizhou, Anhui Province is a beautiful book, deep with meaning.
Other than my hometown of Dongyu Village in Jinhua, Zhejiang Province, Xixi’nan is my most favorite landscape book. Located on the south bank of Fengle River, the village maintains a harmonious co-existence between humans and nature. A long history and various stories combined with current neighborhood trifles and politics make for a book worth reading and re-reading.
The first chapter of the book begins with a Chinese wingnut (Pterocarya stenoptera) forest to the north of the village, the most beautiful river floodplain forest I have ever seen in China. Chinese wingnut is the most suitable tree species for rivers with seasonal fluctuations in southern China. Similar forests used to be found widely in river areas of different sizes. However, over the past several decades most of these forests have disappeared as a consequence of the hardening and channeling of waterways. This is the only forested areas that have survived on the Fengle River. When the spring flood comes, the forest stands in flooded river, vividly reproducing one of the Eight Ancient Xixi’nan Scenes, the “Spring Flood Deep in Mountains.” I have often wandered in the forest after the flood season, deeply breathing in the mushroom smell in the air, gazing towards the old bridges, cottages, and distant mountains, feeling like I am in the dream of Huizhou, a dream so close to reality!
The second chapter is the vegetable gardens planted on the edge of the village. A variety of vegetables are grown in the dense garden plots, including radish, greens, eggplant, pepper, garlic, onion, ginger, soybeans, and peanuts. Clumps of cowpeas and cucumbers are tidily set up on holders. These plots range in size and are scattered by height, yet they remain orderly and well-regulated, mimicking the rows of tiled roofs. The women picking peas chat with each other across the trellises, or exchange their gains. The vegetable garden is an extension of the neighborhoods. It is a space not only for fruits and vegetables, but also friendship. When moving within the garden, you feel like reading an ordinary yet wonderful story told with artless words and delicate sentences.
The climax of the book is the village itself. Every house acts as a word, the blocks phrases, stringed together by streets to become sentences. These numerous sentences are interspersed north and south, they twist and turn, deeply and quietly, depicting the timeless stories of this place. I often stroll through the village, obsessed by the feeling of being lost in time and place. It is a leisurely, probing and pleasant kind of lost, just like Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, with no panic or anxiety. Every brick wall, every piece of the worn paving, every door with god stone tablets to ward off evil spirits in the corner, every step of the stone dock, every broken plinth or stone mortar is hints at the next storyline. The once wealthy village, whose fame is widespread in the area south of Yangtze River area, flourished with poetry and painting, quietly telling the story of its glorious but tragic past.
The material and spiritual bond that links these three chapters together is the water system. Xi Zhu, a famous poet of the Song Dynasty, whose ancestors lived in the ancient Huizhou area, most accurately manifested the spirit and form of water in Xixi’nan in his poetry Reflections on Reading:
A square pond opens up like a mirror, clear and bright;
Shadows of the skylight and clouds reflected together into it, shining and shaking.
“Why is the water body so clear?” you may ask —
For the continuous flow upstream from its source.
The woods to the north of the village, the gardens on the edge, the homes and streets within the village come to life thanks to the intelligence of water. The flowing water comes from the main peak of the Mount Huangshan, the only stream in the upstream area of Xin’an River originating from the mount. Its clarity and beauty is made all the more exquisite through Xixi’nan’s water system developed over a thousand years. The system channels the river water into the village, and then separates it through a system of ancient weirs and fish-mouth dikes. The water is then sent through a stone barrier to ensure water supply during both drought and flood. The water inlet area consists of a bridge, a temple, a stone dock, and a large tree, looking like a weighty exclamation mark. From here, water flows to every house, it is channelized into courtyards, patios or ponds, or forming into another of the Eight Ancient Xixi’nan Scenes, “The Moon in Clear Water.” Finally, the water flows into downstream farmland and ponds for irrigation use.
The landscape is a book, and every village has its own. There are millions of beautiful villages and rural landscapes in China, some hundreds years old. Their books have been written by hundreds of millions of people, one generation after another, written with tears, sweat, and blood. To read them is to read China, to read our history and our ancestors. To protect them is to protect ourselves. Today, some of these books are dilapidated, full of graffiti, or razed to the ground. I am saddened by our generation’s devastation of these glamorous and meaningful landscape books!
Translated by Sara JACOBS Angus ZHANG
【英文刊名】Landscape Architecture Frontiers • Landscape Messages
【作者】法雅•加瓦赫里安（Faryar JAVAHERIAN），安妮•惠斯顿•斯本（Anne Whiston SPIRN）等
Iranian Picnic Culture and Its Influence on Public Space Design and Social Culture
作者：法雅•加瓦赫里安 Faryar JAVAHERIAN
Eating in the open air is a ritual engrained in Iranian culture, a tradition that dates back 3,000 years to the Zoroastrian practice of sizdah bedar, from the lavish picnics prepared for kings to ordinary folk’s love of eating in nature. The picnic itself is related to the Persian Garden, which is often the backdrop of these feasts, a place of symbolic importance in the Iranian imagination, embodying their love and enjoyment of the natural world.
This simple and joyous practice still lives on strongly and affects our urban lives in present society. Around the picnic “sofreh,” class lines blur, political restrictions are loosened and gender divides disappear. The art of the Iranian picnic has its own accessories and creates spatial organizations that are unique to Iranian culture. The picnic is a key aspect of Iranian life so far understudied.
Picnic; Persian Garden; Iranian Culture; Sizdah Bedar; Sofreh
The Language of Landscape
作者：安妮•惠斯顿•斯本 Anne Whiston SPIRN
The power to read, tell, and design landscape is one of the greatest human talents; it enabled humans to spread from warm savannas to cool, shady forests and even to cold, open tundra. Landscape as a form of language is a tool of survival and a medium of art. The language of landscape permits us to learn from distant ancestors and to speak to generations as yet unborn. Landscape elements combine to shape meaning. Landscape authors employ rhetoric and metaphor to communicate effectively and artfully. Humans have always known the language of landscape, but now use it piecemeal, with much forgotten. Absent, false, or partial readings lead to inarticulate expression: landscape gibberish, dysfunctional, fragmented dialogues, and broken storylines. It is time to relearn and renew the language of landscape, to speak new wisdom into life in city and countryside.
Landscape; Language; Meaning; Metaphor
Image and Representation of Landscape Architecture — Conversation with Laurie Olin
作者：蔡哲铭 Zheming CAI
The conversation aims to provide an opportunity for designers to review the image and the representation in the contemporary landscape. Laurie Olin explained how personal experience and photography can influence the image of landscape and cities from his personal experience. He also provided feedback on methodology and representation. Zheming Cai, the interviewer, raised a few questions related to the same topic within the context of the digital technology focusing on the flexible design and the vernacular landscape. Olin put forward his view of the contemporary vernacular on these questions.
Landscape Perception; City Image; Representation; Programming
Teaching Methods of Body Perception — An Interview with Catherine Grout
作者：安建国，卡特琳•格鲁 Alexandre AN, Catherine GROUT
Catherine Grout is one of the world’s most recognized scholars in perceptual studies. She was also Alexandre An’s tutor during his study of landscape planning and design at École National Supérieure D’Architecture et de Paysage de Lille in France. In this interview, Alexandre An raises questions concerning teaching methods, scales of body perception, and differences between landscape architects and users. As an educator and scholar, Catherine Grout offers opinions grounded in her experiences with teaching and practice, and quotes dancers’, sculptors’ and other artists’ cases. In addition, she makes some suggestions for Chinese landscape architects.
Body Perception; Teaching; Scales; Landscape
“Space” and “Absence” — A Lecture and Discussions on Research of Fine Art History and Landscape and Architecture
作者：巫鸿 Hung WU
常规美术史是关于“在场”的而不是关于“缺席”的历史， 但是随处可见的缺席是本文着重关注的。“缺席”表达了关于“空间”的想象，见于美术、雕塑、建筑、景观、城市等等领域，且尺度各异。本文基于对一场讲座内容的整理，通过一些作品漫谈对“空”的思考：离开、死亡、回忆、生命、灵魂、穿越。脱开了实的描述，用虚的叙事表达来引起共鸣，成为这些作品的共通之处， 这些理解有些全人类通用，有些属于在地文化。演讲现场的嘉宾分别从文学、设计的角度解析了空、文化、废墟、桃花源等内容，互为补充。
This article focuses mainly on ubiquitous “absence” rather than “presence,” which is usually the core of history of fine arts. On imagination of spaces, absence is common in various scales, including painting, sculpture, architecture, landscape and urban design. Based on a lecture, this article discusses absence from concepts of departure, death, memory, life, soul and travel through time. The narratives of absence in different works, without concrete description, resonate with each other, some drawing universal understanding of people and some belonging to local cultures. The lecturer, together with other speakers, makes an in-depth analysis of absence, culture, ruins and the Peach Garden from perspectives of literature and design respectively.
Absence; Architecture; Landscape; Fine Art History
Martin Luther King Park, Paris
作者：杰奎琳•奥斯蒂合伙人工作室 Atelier Jacqueline Osty & Associés
克利希-巴蒂尼奥勒地区是巴黎市中心仅剩的几个保留区域之一，项目旨在通过设计使之成为一处面积达43hm2的新区域。起初，这个项目是为巴黎申办2012年奥运会而设计。它包括了一个可以容纳17 000名运动员的奥运村、训练场所，及为这些基础设施的转换利用而创造的条件。目前，该项目的重点是将这个地区嵌入到现有的城市肌理中，这个新区域将包含3 500个住宅单元，写字楼、商业设施和围绕一个公园建立的公共服务设施。这个面积达10hm2的公园将成为城市可持续发展的试点工程。
As one of the last reserved areas available in the center of Paris, the Clichy Batignolles area has been designed to be a new 43-hectare quarter. The project, at the beginning, was elaborated for the purpose of the Paris candidature for the 2012 Olympic Games. It integrated an Olympic village for 17,000 athletes, training spaces and re-conversion conditions for these infrastructures. The project focuses on the insertion into the existing urban fabric of a new quarter made of 3,500 housing units, offices, commercial facilities and public services set out around a park. This 10-hectare park is a pilot realized in terms of sustainable development.
Body; Season; Water Management; Sustainable Development
Waiting for the Next Ten Minutes — Redevelopment of the U-Center Plaza, Wudaokou, Beijing
作者：张唐景观 Z+T STUDIO
Background and strategies of this redevelopment project located in the U-Center plaza had been introduced in this paper. Based on such a redevelopment project of small urban open space, it illustrated the understanding of design concept, space flexibility, and participation within landscape design from the view of Z+T STUDIO. In addition, it discussed the content of intuition and rationality, landscape vocabulary, as well as sustainability.
Commercial Landscape; Space Flexibility; Participation; Sustainable Landscape
The Clearing — Memorial at Utøya, Norway
作者：3RW建筑事务所 3RW Arkitekter AS
The Clearing at Utøya Island in Norway tells the story about nature as a healing landscape. The essence of nature is that it can, through transformation, slowly erase all traces of the tragic events that happened here. With the changing of the seasons, as the waves wash away the shore, new growth can begin. To support and strengthen the natural cycle in landscape cultivating, nature in itself can help us to get a better understanding of life and death. The Clearing is a project that has been selected by the parents and politicians themselves and has also been built together with them. In that sense, one can read here the way Norwegian society has decided to deal with such a tragic event.
The Clearing; Memorial Landscape; Utøya; Gun Crime; Healing Landscape
Con-Cave — Proposal for the International Competition of the Bamiyan Cultural Centre
作者：临界工作室 reMIX Studio
Con-cave is a spatial intervention that shapes the steep terrain of the site playing with the infiltration of the light: gathering, concentrating and dissipating it through the earthy sinuosity of interconnected underground and semi-underground caves and tunnels. The varying chiaroscuro embraces the spaces, highlighting the materiality of the terrain, the solidity, and the different levels of humidity of the concrete walls. The building opens towards the outside with rooms and terraces only in specific locations, offering an intentional selection of belvedere and sublime points of view. The light, blooming locally, becomes a sublime wave investing the visitor and inundating the gaze with the history and the culture of the Afghan landscape.
Cave; Tunnel; Cultural Centre; Sustainability
Our Park — Reflections and Criticisms on Permanent Construction of the Event Landscape
作者：奚碧莹 Biying XI
As China continues to grow, all types of urban events and supporting facilities continue to occur. The landscape for short-term urban events are usually built as permanent interventions, and are often not well integrated with the rest of the urban environment after completion of the event. This type of landscape construction usually results in low performance and land waste.
Using the Beijing Garden Expo Park as an example, this paper reflects and criticizes the permanent construction and considers the full life-cycle reuse of the event landscape. We draw on a low-cost, low-maintenance, and multi-participatory model to encourage citizens’ participation in construction of the post-event landscape. Our design and research proposes a new operating model for other post-event landscapes.
Event Landscape; Full Life-Cycle; Renewal; Operation Mode
Salt Landscapes Created by Cultural Diversity and Traditional Production Methods
作者：迈克尔•兰达，埃拉则那•奥钱蒂诺，卢克•达格尔比 Mikel LANDA, Alazne OCHANDIANO, Luke DUGGLEBY
Until recent times, when geology eased the way to salt deposits, salt has been a valuable good with a relevant influence in history, including international commerce and even wars. Industrial revolution and technological advances turned salt into a cheap and widely available product, which consequently led to a deep crisis in traditional salt making.
Nevertheless, for many centuries, man has struggled to find new ways to produce salt, developing imaginative methods that had to adapt to the manner in which the raw material was available, as well as to climate and topography. Factors such as cultural diversity, latitude and concentration of brine contributed to the way the natural landscape was anthropized, having an effect on the size and shape of the sites. Coastal or inland, flat pans or terraced, produced by natural or artificial evaporation, salt-works are among the most extraordinary landscapes created by man.
Today many of the traditional production sites still survive, representing a rich and valuable living heritage. For five years, Mikel Landa and Luke Duggleby have travelled around the world, documenting traditions and processes, and using photography to transmit the visual power of those landscapes and cultures, keeping to the idea that a sustainable future for them is possible.
Salt; Landscape; Tradition; Production; Cultural Diversity
作者：贝尼亚米诺•塞尔维诺 Beniamino SERVINO
The Landscape is not the Environment. The Environment is three-dimensional space where life happens, the Landscape is the two-dimensional plane that represents it. Environment lists wholesomeness, health, biodiversity, and their opposite. Landscape documents a palimpsest. The Environment is diachronic. The Landscape is synchronic. The Landscape is not built by reproducing models. The Landscape keeps together, simultaneously, detaching the surfaces that compose it. The Landscape not hierarchically structured parties that make it up, it holds them dialectically in balance.
Landscape; Poetry; Ruins; Monument; Memory