Published by Landscape Architecture and Urbanism at University of Greenwich, London

Listen the sounds from the world-Xian,China


There is an international dream fantasizing about the other side of the world. The whole idea is a spirit of adventure and whimsy, and the unending curiosity of what can be found on the other side. With a garden to design in Xian, China, we couldn’t resist:  In the garden we have created the result of this overzealous dig: the point that the hole emerges in China. At this hole we capture a precise point where one stands on the edge of one world and another, wondering what is possible of the other side. As tradition, a garden is a place that transfers someone into a ‘foreign’ space: from inside to outside, from city to nature, from one culture to another. This garden is the cusp at which two worlds are colliding, a foreign world entering China, defined bythe visitor’s imagination.


The garden site provided to us is immediately thought of as a flat surface.But when we take the globe as our contextual reference, one remembers the world is round, andthen the site is no longer seen as two dimensional, but a small piece of a three dimensionalsphere. The sunken hole is a physical action to emotionally bring the visitor to the global context. As the hole is to have just ‘emerged’, the site is visible as an artificial grass carpet which issucked down into the hole. Existing trees have remained, keeping the site as seeminglyuntouched. Underneath the grass, the ten meter wide hole is a concrete shell structure excavatedinto the earth. A megaphone is used to address large outdoor audiences or tospeak to people from a long distance. In our case we needed such an instrument to emit audiocaptured from the other side of the world.


Selecting Argentina, the United States, Sweden, and Germany as the foreign locations, one will be able to hear the other side of the world as they near the hole. Transferred through the hole will be soundtracks of the life on the other side: cows from the pampas of Argentina, commuters rushing among transit through New York City, the maritime life of Stockholm, and layers of history so audible among the streets of Berlin. These soundtracks pique the imagination of the visitors, transferring them away from China, away from the garden, away from the hole, and to the other side of the world.


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