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Shandong Province Competition

Landscape Architect
December 18 2020

Esther talks through her recent experience of entering a project competition in China

It was two months ago I was browsing competitions online, one drew my attention immediately as the site happens to be in my hometown Zibo City, Shandong Province. I have not been back hometown for a long time due to various reasons (the pandemic is the most significant one), so wanted to take the opportunity to ‘re-visit’ my birthplace in another way. Entering a design competition is also a good way to maintain creativity that we can develop concept without the restrictions of budget, feasibility and planning legislations.

During this creative process, support from HarrisonStevens and help from my colleagues (Mike, Daniela and Neil) are much appreciated, it has been a great learning opportunity and valuable experience for myself and I believe we all enjoyed the brainstorm and cultural experience very much.

MINE (mind) / BODY / SOUL – A Healing Journey

Mine (Mind)– mining/extraction/destruction to creation/restoration/healing.

Body – heritage/industry/place to ecotourism/economy/skills.

Soul – scar/void/denuded to purpose/ecosystem/abundance.

Mining dramatically exposes geological layers revealing the formation of rocks, abundant in fossils, layers form over millenia. The mining process damages habitats and scars the ecology. We start to heal this by creating an experience expressing geological strata, local landscape, ecology, and regional industry.

A therapeutic experience journeying through the quarry to a tunnel leading through ever increasing volumes, to a shallow central water pool reflecting the sky, cliff and trees above, a metaphor for the process of destruction to restoration.

Shelves extrude from the shell-like structure aligning with geological strata. These become covered with crafted planting pots. The planting helps restore the landscape, enhances biodiversity, and emphasises geological layers. The internal journey through the space is inspired by a nautilus fossil.

An opportunity for self-restoration, looking down is looking up, a reflection in the pool. Visitors can craft ceramic vessels.  These are planted and positioned on the external structure, promoting the local ceramics industry, providing employment for local residents and healing therapy workshops for visitors. As time passes, people visit, the external strata fills with plants, a ‘healing’ process for people and nature takes shape.

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