Hui Lei

clover before-afterS

I was at the site from 9 A.M. to around 5 P.M. We first viewed the plans and layout of the design to be implemented into the landscape. After reviewing the plans, we had to bring in the supplies and mark the areas with spray paint for modification; blue for the lower areas and orange for the mounds. Though we may have thought that it would be simple task at first, especially with how many volunteers that were participating that day. We began to suspect when we would actually finish when we made that first strike into the dirt with the shovel; it was as hard as the black top that we were standing on. We had to rotate, take turns, and rest every few minutes. We needed more than just shovels, we needed the pick axes; with the pick axes, the hardened dirt was easier to dent and pick apart, but still difficult. We were practically chipping away at it with whatever strength we could muster.

Around or close to noon, a few of the local children and their families showed up. The children helped with simple tasks while the parents supervised them. At that time, I thought that it was really a communal event. As children arrived, they seemed to be excited to participate and aid in the process of creating the garden for their school, doing whatever they were capable of to help.

When afternoon came around, we finally finished shoveling the mounds and digging the trenches; now we just had to modify them to make them seem more natural and step on them to mold them into place. Then we were shown the plans of what types of plants went where and began to place and dig holes. We were to dig a whole twice as wide but not too deep so that the crown would be above the ground level, fill the hole with water and let it soak in, then take the plant, dip it in liquid compost, put some regular compost into the hole, put the plant in, then fill the rest of the hole up with compost. After that, we staked and installed irrigation lines to almost every plant; we ran out of supplies. Then we used mulch to cover and hide the lines, making it 2 inched deep. By the end of the day, we made sure to used all of the materials and supplies that we could, but some resources were still left unused.


Rem Koolhaas — CCTV Building


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The 54-story CCTV Building (China Central Television headquarters building), Chaoyang, Beijing, China, was designed by Rem Koolhaas/OMA, and was completed in May 2012. It is controversial and abandons the contemporary, older, and traditional ideas and ideals that exist in area, bringing in modernism and futuristic ideas into the developing country.

This building is a reinvention of the skyscraper, creating a “loop” instead of a towering object that pierces the sky. The project began in 2004, but caught fire in 2009 due to a fire caused by fireworks, creating a set back in construction, and thus was not completed until 2012. There are two towers of different heights, one tower being 234 meters and the other at 210 meters. One tower is for production and broadcasting and the other for services, research, and education, then connecting and meeting in the middle. The design reflects and represents the idea of interconnectivity of how the different sides of the business may play different roles but will come and work together to achieve one single goal; housing administration, broadcasting and production facilities, offices, and TV studios all under one roof. In order to be able to support all the facilities with power, the building was built to be energy-efficient and sustainable ; making use of its energy-efficient climate control systems. This building also designed to induce the interconnection and communication between people as well which is why there are public space and  a sequence of exhibition spaces, restaurants and viewing areas,  for the public and tourist to explore. For example, at the perpendicular joint above, glass peepholes 15 feet in diameter on the underside, allow those who pass by to view the ground 500 feet below, insinuating conversation starters to further connected the people. Compared to the surrounding features and structures, this structure represents and began the modern and futuristic ideas that will flow through this developing country in the future.

Medtronic Corporation Patent Garden1

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Designer: OSLAND.AND.ASSOC, 2001

Location: Fridley, Minneapolis, USA

This landscape reveals the idea of manipulated nature, as a natural source is surrounded by man-made materials and incorporated in a way as if it was the only source of calm in the built world.


Diwang Park B


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Designer: URBANUS, 2005

Location: Shenzhen, China

The park design is similar to the highways and roads to the left of it, as they both display winding lanes; it is almost as if they were alternatives to each other, the park/pedestrian lanes being the colorful alternative to the drab and  strict roadways to the side.


Garden Perspectives without Vanishing Points


Image Source: Urban Landscapes

Designer: Ruey Y. Chen, ?

Location: Santa Ana, California

The exposed patch of topography amidst the hard concrete is reminiscent of a free-flowing meadow amongst the hustle and bustle of our urban society; displaying a bit of wild nature within the order and dreariness of our strict circumstances to modernism.

SAM_0451 When I arrived at Griffith Park, it felt as if I had ventured into an unfamiliar yet calming space. While following the road, it seemed as if each separated “island” was the same and yet carried slightly different characters, and as a whole they represented a natural yet modern feel, wild yet organized. It was a park and yet it also contained the wild and rough, yet elegant features of nature. It was a park as it contained the modern elements and structures that separated contained from free. There were structures that helped with the distribution and drainage of water an d to prevent flooding; unlike how in nature, the excess water would be absorbed by the roots of plants and trees, and so flooding would not be a problem. Light posts, wires and electricity lines, benches, barbecue grills, fences, trails, designated areas for different types of sports, and architectural features provided recreation and further added to the modern look of the park. However, the allowance for some of the trees and plant to grow naturally had hidden and naturalized some aspects of that modernism, making them seem rustic; allowing the objects to blend in to their surroundings and feel more natural. Though with a slight turn of the head, the scene changes into that of hills filled with wild free-flowing clusters of trees and plants where animals, such as the stork, would feel safe and free to take time to ponder and investigate the area. Allowing little birds and even a canary to explore the branches of the trees, isolated from the danger of visitors, creating places for them to rest and hide. Griffith Park was an experience where nature collided with the invasion and recreation of humans, and yet was still able to retain its natural wild elegance, transforming the modern plans and forms into that of its own, a modern rustic yet wild free-flowing interpretation of nature.


For the alternate excursion, I decided to go to Griffith Park.

I first exited the freeway at the sign that said Griffith Park, and so I assumed that it was the name of the city of which it was located in, and believed that I would have to drive some more before I actually entered the park. However, it was not until later that I realized that I was in the park the moment I had exited the freeway; I was astonished that a park had its own entrance and exit into and out of the freeway.

As I drove, the sights felt so natural yet man-made and altered; it seemed as if there were different islands separated by paths and roads to different destinations, not knowing where to stop or begin the exploration.

I decided to begin my exploration at the Merry-Go-Round. The rustic, dull, faded out colors of the Merry-Go-Round strangely matched the serene surrounding of natural greens around it. It was as if it was meant to be there, as if over time, it had finally assimilated with the park, blending in and aging with the natural, ever growing foliage and landscape of the park.

Later, I noticed these weird, out-of-place pipe-like structures that seemed odd and crass, as if they had interrupted the natural sights. As I walked farther and noticed a bridge-like structure, it seemed as if a picture was unfolding right before my eyes. The structures belonged, and it was as if the scenery and foliage complimented the artificial structures.

After a while, I noticed this one particular tree and could not keep my eyes off of it. It was as if it was an artificial yet entirely natural creation. It seemed as if it was the perfect seat or bench. It felt surreal.

p3-3a p3a p3-2a

These figure ground pictures are based on a bridge-like structure, that is probably a part of the drainage system which is probably used to control or reduce flooding, in Griffith Park. Notice that in these figures the focal point is aimed at the bridge, but at the same time, the figure of the bridge is prominent and noticeable in itself as it is foreign shaped dark mass, spreading across the picture with no definite end within.

SAM_0246 - edited flipped
Volumetric – of or relating to volume. Any object, solid or liquid, could be measured by volume because everything has volume. Volumetric could also be thought of as a container or an area for storage, as it measures the occupied area or contained material.