Gardens for the soul


How will we define the gardens of the future if many are no longer dominated by greenery? See Kengo Kuma & Associates water/glass villa

Do plants have to be vegetable? Solar panels reminiscent of vegetation and slim line turbines feature as technological ‘plants’ in the Lotus Garden for Seoul.

What happens when city buildings start looking more like vegetation than architecture?

16 thoughts on “Gardens for the soul

  1. leo

    the use and reason for a garden does not need to be confined by the linguistic definition, it is down to interpretation….the space in the image looks sublime

  2. Tom Turner

    I think ‘for the soul’ was the reason for making the oldest gardens of which there are any historical and archaeological records: temple gardens. And I think the ancient imperial parks of China probably belong in this category too. The photograph is beautiful!

  3. Tom Turner

    Sorry I do not remember. The link to the Battle McCarthy scheme in Delhi is very interesting, though one can’t help thinking that it would take a lot of schemes like this, and a lot of water, to make much difference to Delhi’s air pollution. What the city needs is solar panels on roofs used to power electric tuk tuk auto-rickshaws.

  4. DAN

    I was in Delhi this summer in fact, the air was indeed stifling, dusty and full of strange and enticing smells.

    Im sure the BM scheme will benefit the immediate local environment, at least inside the building but is there a danger of Landscape Architects being seen as merely painters with only one tin of green paint and a big brush ?

    Following yesterdays Sketch designs at school the big green paint brush came out many times over existing sites regardless of site character and location. I am all in for green walls and roofs but where is the art and sensitive response to a site in painting everything green? Maybe the contextual seminars should come earlier in the term?

    I would like to see more greening done as a response to a site with meaning and integrity. Specific planting types to local areas and designs to specifically create biodiverse ecosystems that actually integrate with the buildings and landscape. ‘Greening’ this and ‘greening’ that should not be used just as a handy tool to help the developer get planning permission.

  5. Tom Turner

    Yes, Vitruvius was right! All designs should be useful, beautiful and well made. Green sauce, or green paint, is better than nothing but they are no substitute for green artistry and green craftsmanship.

  6. Benz

    Seeing as though the blog has veered off the topic of ‘gardens’ towards dealing with air pollution and global warming etc. why is it that LA’s will readily acknowledge that we should be at the forefront of doing our bit to combat global warming and other environmental effects, but they are not willing to confront their own destructive impacts by continuing to eat meat, especially beef.

    It has been suggested that all the cows create more global warming gases than all the cars. (Believe it or not the methane is not coming from the rear end but from the front end.) – No matter which end, huge amounts of methane and carbon dioxide are being produced so that you can selfishly eat meat. Did you also know that 1/3 of the world’s cereal harvest and 90 per cent of soya is grown for animal feed and we know that some of the tropical rain forests (carbon sinks) are being hacked down to produce meat and soya. Meat production also demands huge amounts of water. According to Waterwise, the not-for-profit group focused on decreasing water consumption in the UK, it takes 17 times as much water to produce a kilogram of beef as it does to grow a kilogram of maize. Put another way, 13 litres are needed to grow one tomato, 200 litres go into a 200ml glass of milk and it takes 2,400 litres of water to produce a 150g hamburger.

    So if you as a LA tell me you are concerned about the environment, the developing world and sustainability is at the top of your agenda please forgive me for being highly sceptical.

    Please look at:

  7. Tom Turner

    For more quantification of this point see David MacKay page 90ff
    One counter-consideration is that if everyone stopped eating meat then the planet could support a much larger population. And since people would probably breed to take up the opportunity we could end up doubling the world population and cause other resource demands – and have an even greater need of Gardens for the Soul.

  8. Benz

    Interesting answer. I am not sure about the logic, but I like the outcome of more gardens for the soul. Of all the gardens you have been to which ones moved your soul?

  9. Angie Ward

    Does anyone know what the adverse environmental effects are with eating fish as compared with meat?(beef in particular). I suspect they much less detrimental, therefore how about improving water sources? Using natural biological cleansing for both fresh and sea water.

  10. Christine

    Should we begin the discussion with eating at all? [Social sustainability] Eating so as to not harm the environment? [Environmental sustainability] or Eating so as to ensure prosperity to food producers? [Economic sustainability]

  11. Benz

    Yes we should because everything we do is connected. Food production has an immense influence on our landscapes, society, the economy, climate, water use, landslides, disease… As landscape architects we are hopefully committed to make the world a better place for people and for the intrinsic character of the world we live in. If this is not the case then perhaps we should think about doing something else.


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