A red footbridge is a course, a bench and a light source at the same time; it stretches along the river as a winding line, marking a recreation area which used to be a refuse dump; visitors are attracted by fish farms in a landscape of isles and gardens, and the Olympic forest park provides the natural setting for the Olympic area – China’s landscape planners are up to international comparison.
It is China’s building boom, the rapid and rigid reshaping of cities as well as landmark buildings by internationally renowned architects that dominate the discussion among experts as well as China’s image in the media. Thinking about Chinese landscape architecture mainly evokes images of antique imperial magnificent gardens, vast open spaces from Socialist times or green spaces with strips of grass, flower beds and tree rows. With the exhibition Greening, the ifa gallery Berlin presents path-breaking approaches to landscape architecture beyond nostalgia and international arbitrariness.
A younger generation of planners is intensively studying Chinese garden architecture and the underlying philosophy; furthermore, they are very conversant with the latest research developments in ecology and biotechnology. They develop innovative and sustainable solutions for the approach to nature, for the design of green spaces and the conversion of industrial wasteland, as for example in the Garden of the Red Ribbon along the Tanghe river in Qinhuangdao designed by Yu Kongjian and his Turenscape office in 2006. These planners raise an awareness among private or public ordering parties for new approaches that are both ecologically worthwhile and ambitious in their design; examples are the Zhongguancun software park northwest of Beijing or the island garden in the Xiamen bay for the International Garden Show 2007 by Wang Xiangrong and the Atelier DYJG. Turenscape and the Atelier DYJG are exemplary for the Green of the time as well as for the start-up period of landscape architecture in China.
Additionally to these two Beijing-based offices, the exhibition presents two other projects, which could not be more different: a smaller format and the major project in Beijing. Mima Design Workshop, a team of young architects, built a small café nearby the Summer Palace, where the boundaries between inside and outside, between nature and culture seem to blur. The Olympic forest park, on the other hand, was one of the mega projects for the Olympic Games: the plan by Tsinghua University Beijing for the 7 square kilometre of forest park, which is both a recreation area and a nature reserve, is based on Hideo Sasaki’s master plan for the Olympic area. In addition to realising traditional symbolisms in images, Hu Jie’s plans for the forest park focussed on the development of a green lung for Beijing by employing new bio-ecological methods and technologies.
Philosophy, religion, symbolism and the view on nature are the basis for the traditionally close relationship between garden and landscape architecture, literature and fine arts. Young Chinese artists also deal with nature and landscape explicitly: Cindy Ng Sio Ieng and Liu Wei are presented as two examples in the exhibition, who in their photo and video works perceive, interpret and present central motifs of Chinese natural philosophy and landscape imagery in new ways – the water and the mountain.
One of the factors that will dominate the future of our cities is the relationship between developed areas and open spaces: green lungs and corridors for fresh air determine the climate and the quality of living in densely populated city centres. It is a long time since it is no longer only about the creation and design of parks but about the development of sustainable concepts for the planning and design of landscape in the China of economical miracles; in this regard, the exhibition Greening – Landscape planning in and from Beijing in the series URBANreVIEWS also touches with the exhibition series On Stage: Nature, which began in 2008.
Friday, 23 January 2009, 17:00
Guided tour with the artist Cindy Ng Sio Ieng
Oberhausen on Tour
Thursday, 5 February 2009, 19:00
Best of Artist Film&Video
Thursday, 26 February 2009, 19:00
Thursday, 5 March 2009, 19:00
Best of German Competition
Thursday, 19 March 2009, 19:00
Best of International Competition
Sunday, 15 February 2009, 11:00–13:00
Children’s Art Programme – The playground at the skyscraper: green urban planning with Annika Niemann and Ev Fischer. For children from the age of 6.