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The Uncommon Ground of Landscape and Architecture

Part 2 Project 2002
Yi Ying (Elizabeth) Tsai
University of Auckland Auckland | New Zealand
Landscape Space as reflection, an equilibrium of forces: it might look static, while architecture is a neutral vacuum in geometric forms, which is in static Cartesian layout (x, y axis).

Constructed landscapes can offer power, scale, as a new layer, a new ground. Landscape can enclose a space like architecture, yet the space is not fully enclosed. Landscape is shaped by context. It absorbed external forces to become a balanced form, a continuous surface like skin.

The Edge is defined as the overlapping of the two, the threshold between the interior and the exterior. Skin, as a metaphor of the edge between landscape and architecture, becomes the mediation or threshold between the natural and the built environment. The skin of my body is a visible surface- a physical edge, which carries five senses. It is encloses, contains and separates. The Senses define the interface between the skin and the world.

Site- Auckland is surrounded by water, so the water’s edge becomes the skin. This land /sea edge, where the meeting of the sea, land and air is always changing, flowing from one state to another: the rhythmic give and take of the tides, the water seeping, ripping, rushing or crashing against the sand or rocks. As it forms them, the sea and the edge are in turn, formed by them.

Drawing the water edge around the built environment of Auckland, I explored different spaces on the land and water. Applying the metaphor of the skin to fold the different elements (landscape of senses organs) together as one unity.

The imaginary Site is based on the existing Parnell Baths. The Parnell Bath are located on the eastern end of Judges Bay, Parnell. The tide was influential in the running of the baths, and after the construction of the Tamaki Drive the tidal system was modified but preserved by using pipes under the road that go 60 feet out into the harbour.

The Tidal system acts like a skin layer for the baths. The cycle of the tide affects the cycle of the body of the baths. To enhance this “skin” system, I propose a landscape park with ducts linking different landscapes, spaces inspired by our senses organs. The visitors to the park will experience the relationship between the built skin and the water flow, and how the sense organs gradually merge together as the passing the tidal water floods into the inner pool (like our inner body).

To find the appropriate scale for the whole project I fitted the conceptual drawings onto the site (Parnell Bath). The proposal is that the 3 senses (taste, smell, and hearing) organs are all located at the edge between the Tamaki Drive and the sea. Ducts running underneath the Tamaki Drive and the railway line will allow the tidal flow to continue into the inner sea (Judges Bay) where the baths are located.
Tamaki Drive is lifted so that some parts of the garden can go underneath it. A railway station is proposed so that there are stops to enable people to get to different parts of the garden. The plan of the station spreads like water between the landscape garden and the inner pools. There are openings to see the water tunnels underneath. There are stairs connecting different parts of the garden, and also to Tamaki Drive and the existing bridge on the site. The proposed material of the station should be transparent so that it won’t disturb the sea view of the Baths.

An extension of the Project on the Skin edge, is formed by different layers of separate elements, rather than a definite boundary. I superimposed images and use the montaged drawings as a way of fusing organs together; to define new relations between different pieces on the site- enclosure, imagined pattern of movements- to lead people between the interior, and exterior and semi-permeable boundaries.

The architecture would be a water shore exhibition and a water park (including pools). It would take what’s left on the site and explore the topographical features it has, and thus a tour of the senses of the body.

Detailed development of the tasting landscape into the exhibition and performance spaces are shown in the large posters.(also on the CD).

Yi Ying (Elizabeth) Tsai

(un)common ground

In his polemical introduction to Cine'gramme Folie : Parc de la Villette
Bernard Tschumi states :

"When confronted with an urbanistic programme, an architect may either :

a) design a masterly construction, an inspired architectural gesture (a composition)
b) take what exists, fill the gaps, complete the text, scribble in the margins (a complement)
c) deconstruct what exists by critically analysing the historical layers
that preceded it, even adding other layers derived from somewhere else -
from other cities, other parks (a palimpsest)
d) search for an intermediary - an abstract system to mediate between the site ( as well as the given constraints) an some other concept, beyond city or programme (a mediation )

In developing their own architectural project students were asked to consider these alternate strategies and to explore the (un)common ground between architecture and landscape.

In a series of conceptual drawings Elizabeth has conceived a new ground altogether. Gardens, water, landscape and architecture fuse - like the overflow of volcanic lava meeting the sea. Using the metaphor of her own body and the notion of the skin as the sensitive register of the experience between our senses and the outside world she develops a series
of new landscapes based on the three senses of smell, taste and sound.

The ear (hearing) space is to contain an upper level theatre with water pipe organs to magnify the sound of the incoming tide. The nose (smelling) space a coastal nursery. Her focus is the development of the tongue (tasting) space. In sectional drawings (over ten feet long) she proposes an exhibition and performance space, whose stage is informed by the changes of the tide.

Siting her project on the edge of the Auckland waterfront between the Parnell baths and the Waitemata harbour edge she absorbs the existing waterfront drive and expands her vision of a new landscape of architecture oozing, visceral and anti-Cartesian. A sensual tactile world of immense delights.

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