艺圃 Garden of Cultivation

Spring Festival Pt. 5

The tiny (3,967m2 ) Yì Pǔ I found particularly incredible mostly because I fell in love with a big wall. (The picture doesn’t convey it so I’ll try in words). The Suzhou gardens I visited struck a balance between architecture and nature by carefully sequencing spaces. For example, you would never exit straight from a massive and ornamented welcoming hall into a full view of the garden. Instead, you are led to wander from the main hall to lesser halls, then subcourtyards, along corridors to see glimpses of the garden through windows and finally to a grand view of the garden, etc. There are no single architectural elements that accomplish this. Yet, Yì Pǔ has less space to build this narrative. Instead, incredibly tall (for a Suzhou garden) walls lead your linearly into the garden, skewing your sense of scale, and then release you to the full view. Across the pond is another tall wall that lies off grid. This wall is amazing. For something so simple it still manages to be dynamic and beautiful.

 

               

 

Camera battery death happened shortly after the Garden of Cultivation, so here’s the last photo of the trip, from 狮子林园 Lion Grove Garden:

 

Suzhou, Jiangsu, China