The Garden from the Desert – Delight
CHRISTOPHER BRADLEY-HOLE’S WINNING DESIGN AT THE CHELSEA FLOWER SHOW ENCAPSULATES THE VISION THAT SAW THE BARREN LAND OF THE UAE TRANSFORMED INTO AN ECOLOGICALLY RICH AND DIVERSE ENVIRONMENT.
As the main constituent of Glass, the changing state of sand was one of many themes explored in this year’s Chelsea Flower Show winning garden. The Garden from the Desert, designed by Christopher Bradley-Hole for H. H. Sheikh Zayed. With trees and water courses recalling the Sheikh’s commitment to bring water and plants back to the desert (a long term initiative that has seen the number of trees in the UAE rise to over 150 million and helped the country produce enough fruit and vegetables to make it self-sufficient), traditional material and spatial motifs are also represented throughout the miniature desert scene. Within red rendered perimeter walls pigmented by sand from Al Ain, and on a bed of white sand from Abu Dhabi–from which grow salt and drought tolerant desert plants such as Date Palms–a glass pavilion creates the principal spatial fulcrum within a highly ordered sequence of external spaces. With staggered cantilevered glass panels allowing cross ventilation and with vertical fritting accentuating the illusion of shimmering desert light, its form represents the cubic structure of the salt molecule–and so is a symbol of the life-giving process of desalination. The glazed sanctuary is then further screened and sheltered by walls within walls–a traditional feature of vernacular architecture from Abu Dhabi–which use sandstone in a contemporary mix of sawn and dry stone walling techniques.
COPYRIGHT 2003 EMAP Architecture
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