Celebrating the otherness by Cynthia Zhuge

Cynthia Zhuge, a Bachelor of Landscape Architectural Design student, had her work constructed at ‘The Poetry of Gardening’ Beijing Forestry University Garden-making Festival.

RMIT University’s project at the Beijing Forestry University’s second Garden-making festival, Celebrating the otherness, by Cynthia (Huaying) Zhuge. RMIT University’s project at the Beijing Forestry University’s second Garden-making festival, Celebrating the otherness, by Cynthia (Huaying) Zhuge.

 In October 2019, Liz Li, RMIT sessional design studio leader and Jock Gilbert, BLAD Program Manager took a contingent of Bachelor of Landscape Architecture Design students to Beijing for the second Garden Making Festival hosted by the Beijing Forestry University (BFU). The 2019 festival’s theme, “The Poetics of Gardens,” invited exploration of the inherent relationship between garden-making and the poetic through proposals for gardens with bamboo pavilions to be constructed on the BFU campus. From more than 200 international expressions of interest, 14 projects were selected for construction, including a group student project initially developed during an undergraduate studio led by studio leader Liz Li, within RMIT University’s landscape architecture program.

Cynthia, (Huaying) Zhuge’s proposal, Celebrating the otherness, was selected and constructed as the RMIT entry in the festival. Her design came in overall second in the competition and engaged with the concept of negative space, subtly reconfiguring this as form, rather than space. Zhuge’s concept proposed a fluid pavilion of woven bamboo that projected the resulting negative space onto the ground plane that in turn became the garden bed from which a pavilion emerged. The project aimed to bring the condition of “otherness” into focus by encouraging the void to be experienced through the wildness, growth, colonization, competition and decay of the pavilion’s flowering plants.

Find out more about the project on Landscape Australia.

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Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business. - Artwork created by Louisa Bloomer