Sumit Singhal loves modern architecture. He comes from a family of builders who have built more than 20 projects in the last ten years near Delhi in India. He has recently started writing about the architectural projects that catch his imagination.
Surface Deep in Quebec, Canada by asensio_mah in collaboration with students at the Harvard Graduate School of Design
July 31st, 2011 by Sumit Singhal
Article source: asensio_mah in collaboration with students at the Harvard Graduate School of Design
Surface Deep is a new garden recently installed within the entry sequence for the visitors to the Reford Gardens’ Metis International Garden Festival in Quebec, Canada. Supported by the Department of Landscape Architecture, the project’s design was led by Harvard Graduate School of Design lecturers Leire Asensio Villoria and David Syn Chee Mah and developed and fabricated in collaboration with students from the Landscape Architecture and Architecture programs at the Harvard GSD.
Revisiting the garden wall, an element that has been a consistent expressive element within the history of gardening, the entry wall is transformed to form a twisted ribbon-like surface with the help of associative design and modeling techniques. Its undulating form is a response to and gesture for a new entry sequence, framing the entry procession while also embedding an experimental moss garden within its surface.
In addition to articulating an entry sequence, the surface is intended to invite visitors to find many personal ways to engage, colonize and interact with the garden (from interacting with its micro moss surface to appropriating the whole surface as a ground). The surface flips in function and association between a wall, a ground and a cover while creating multiple orientations and different microclimates for the moss garden.
The surface’s multiple orientations offers a number of different growing environments for the moss, from slopes exposed to sunlight to constantly shaded overhangs. These microclimates informed the distribution of a number of moss species specific to each condition, where the first 11 units were made with Niphotrichum canescens (a sun-loving species), unit 12 is planted with Callicladium haldanianum while the other units remaining (13 to 22) were made with a mixture of Callicladium haldanianum and other shade-loving, forest species such as Pleurozium schreberii, Ptilium crista-castrensis and others.
Prior to installation, components of the garden were prefabricated in Cambridge, utilizing the various digital fabrication technologies as well as hand crafting facilities available at the Harvard GSD’s fabrication laboratory. Following the fabrication process, the garden was assembled, formed and planted on site at the Reford Gardens over a two week period.
asensio_mah is a multi-disciplinary design collaborative active in the design of architecture, landscape design, master planning, interior design and installations. asensio-mah was established by Leyre Asensio-Villoria and David Mah in 2002. asensio_mah is currently completing a number of projects in Europe and Australia and have published and exhibited their work internationally.
Leyre Asensio Villoria
Leyre is a registered architect in Spain and studied architecture at the ETSASS (Escuela Tecnica Superior de Arquitectura de San Sebastian) and the Architectural Association, London, UK. She received her Diploma in Architecture awarded with honors from the Architectural Association in 2001 and also received the runner up Prize and the Virtual Medal Prize for the Silver Medal of the Royal Institute of British Architects Presidents Medals Competition in 2001.
Since 2002, Leyre has been collaborating with David Syn Chee Mah as asensio_mah. Leyre has worked at a number of international architectural practices including Zaha Hadid Architects, Torres Nadal Arquitectos as well as Allies and Morrison Architects/Arup.
Leyre is currently teaching at the Harvard’s University’s Graduate School of Design. She has taught at London’s Architectural Association School of Architecture, Graduate School Landscape Urbanism Programme from 2004 to 2007 and at Cornell University’s College of Architecture, Art and Planning from Fall 2006 till Spring 2010. She has also directed design workshops at the Peking University Graduate School’s Landscape Architecture programme in 2005 and participated in a number of conferences such as the Buckminster Fuller In Effect conference at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and the Forum Babel at the Kursaal in San Sebastian, Spain.
David Mah is a registered architect in the United Kingdom. He graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture (with Honors) from the Curtin University of Technology in Australia and the Architectural Association Graduate Design School in London.
Since 2002, David has been collaborating with Leyre Asensio Villoria as asensio_mah. Previously, David has worked at a number of international architectural practices including Foreign Office Architects, Zaha Hadid Architects, Adjaye Associates and Donaldson + Warn.
David is currently teaching at the Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. He has taught at London’s Architectural Association School of Architecture, Graduate School’s Landscape Urbanism programme from 2004 to 2007 and at Cornell University’s College of Architecture, Art and Planning from Fall 2007 till Spring 2010. He has also directed design workshops at the Harvard University’s GSD in 2007 and the Peking University Graduate School of Landscape Architecture in 2005.