A garden is not just a beautiful place; it is a place for enjoyment, a place of admiration and a place where we come in contact with and learn about nature, especially food. A garden is also a workplace, where one’s hard efforts are rewarded with a bountiful harvest. In recognition of the intense relationship between growing and eating a garden, Taste the Slope, the winning proposal in the International Garden Festival by Active City Transformation, strives to create a more meaningful public connection to the foods we grow and where they are eaten; a local, hands-on garden café of sorts. More images and architects description after the break.
In order to create a green surface structure with various vegetation planters, the slope of the garden is designed to maximize exposure to the sun from the early morning to the late afternoon. The sloping form of the garden also results in the creation of a shaded area underneath, offering a secret play area or a shaded picnic space.
Upon entering the garden, one is presented with a terraced landscape, forming a gradual upward slope. This slope is symbolic of growth as an idea, but also helps create a feeling of interest, welcoming people to come into and explore the garden. Sloping the garden also increases the amount of total surface area and vertically divides the normally flat garden into two very different garden experiences: the first a sunny, terraced garden and the second a shaded, secret garden.
A stepping constellation of various planters and seating platforms, visitors walk not only through but up the garden. At the top they are rewarded with a panoramic view over the surrounding gardens, strengthening the connection to the site. The seating platforms, which are distributed in between the vegetation, vary in size and height, so that different sizes of groups may occupy the garden, for example couples, families and classes. This also allows visitors to become an integrated portion of the garden. Both visually and symbolically they become equal, surrounding each other, having to care for each other.
The process of growth in the garden and the different ripening periods of the various plants will provide different tastes throughout the summer. People will then have the pleasure of picking and the different fruits and vegetables as they ripen, and combine them with any self-brought foods. In this way, the garden takes on an educational factor, increasing awareness of the gardening process and the benefits of self-grown fruits and vegetables, for visitors of all ages.
The planting plan is organized around the relationship between activity and accessibility, literally creating a vegetable stair. More popular fruits and vegetables, such as strawberries and grapes, will be located at the top. Thereby, people must make a greater effort to reach them. The healthiest, yet often less popular fruits and vegetables will be located on the first level, where they are easily accessible, in the hope of increasing awareness of their benefits
The overall goal is to demonstrate that gardening can be fun for everyone, and that there are many significant health and taste benefits connected to local gardening. There is also an emphasis on the effort required to be successful in the garden, and how important the link between nature, food production and eating habits is for a community.
Lifting the garden provides new perspectives and perceptions. First, the garden itself it highlighted. As visitors walk up the garden, they are able to interact with and actually use different levels of the garden. This helps strengthen visitor’s personal relationship with the garden. While at the top, a more unified understanding of how the garden’s elements are combined can be achieved. Secondly, lifting the garden provides an overview of the festival as a whole. Whether as a starting point, climax or ending to one’s visit, the sensation of seeing all the gardens at once reinforces the purpose of the festival. Finally, lifting the garden provides an opportunity to connect to the surrounding cityscape, helping to remind people of the connection between where they live and where their food comes from.
Vegetation Plan: Potatoes, Spinach, Carrots, Eggplants, Radishes, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Lettuce, Strawberries, Kiwis, Lemons, Hazelnuts, Olives, Ginger, Herbs