Joie de Vie(w)
ProjectJardins de Metis
LocationMontreal, Quebec
DateDesigned 2008

The garden is the laboratory of landscape. Our proposal is an exploration and expansion of some of the fundamentals of garden design: the relationship between interior and exterior, and the unfolding of space through the control of viewpoint.

In order to explore these themes in a contemporary context, we utilize new technology, both material and representational, to investigate the boundaries between the organic and the inorganic, the static and the dynamic, within the garden tradition.

The etymology of the word garden means "enclosure" and the play between actual or implied boundaries is at the root of garden design across cultures. Gabriel Guevrekian's 1925 Garden of Water and Light, one of the canonical gardens of the modernist era, took this essential aspect of garden design to an extreme. In order to foreground the pictorial effect of the garden, he made a composition that could not be entered. All elements - pools, walls, and planting - were organized in a triangular motif to reinforce a single position. The effect was an extraordinary visual study that flattened the space of the garden in order to emulate the cubist principles of simultaneous composition. Revolutionary for its day, it nevertheless did not collapse the horizontal and vertical dimensions because a conventional (disconnected) relationship was maintained between the ground and the walls.

Our approach is an ambiguous play on Guevrekian's garden in that we, too, wish to explore the relation between surface and depth while challenging the static nature of his composition. With current visualization tools, we can precisely study how to create a two-dimensional visual effect using three-dimensional composition and vice versa.

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