Lincoln students cultivate designs for sister city garden project

05 October 2021 | News

A project to revitalise the Songpa-Gu Sister City Garden at Halswell Quarry took a step forward last week.

Distinguished guests visited campus to hear from several landscape architecture students about their visions for the public space.

The guests, from the Songpa-gu Sister City Committee and the Korean Society, had previously contacted Lincoln’s School of Landscape Architecture to request revitalisation ideas from the students in honour of the 20th anniversary of the garden.

During their recent visit to campus, they were treated to presentations by four second year students, who showcased their designs for the space.

Lincoln University School of Landscape Architecture graduate and Songpa-gu Sister City Committee Secretary, Simon Oe, was one of the visitors and his own knowledge came in handy when reflecting on the students’ designs.

Ryan Snell kicked off the student presentations, discussing the idea of creating a "home away from home" for Korean residents in Christchurch by deepening the connections between the garden and veterans of the Korean War.

"There is already a chueok-e dari – or timber bridge – in the garden, which serves as a memorial to the war veterans. I will make this connection clear, using planting and path direction through the garden.

"I want to create a revitalisation project that celebrates Korean history and culture."

Clark Sheehan then presented an idea for using elements of Korean culture, history and spirituality through a collection of both passive and interactive site features.

"A stepping stone pathway through the middle of the garden would divide the space into two areas, representing the polarising cosmic forces of the taeguek – eum and yang.

"The blue half represents eum, reflected by dark, shady, enclosed areas. The red half represents yang, reflected in the design by light, open spaces that could be used for gatherings and events."

Holly Lewis, the third student presenter, suggested incorporating key Korean design concepts and cultural principles into the garden.

"It is important to include a variety of unique spaces, which link seamlessly to one another, with areas to encourage solitude and quiet reflection (embodying the Korean design principle of hermitism), while retaining natural site elements to reduce interference with natural form and beauty."

Finally, Isabelle Hammond-Ussher discussed creating a reflective and outward viewing garden, inspired by Korean design principles.

"Site zoning, vegetation and Korean design features would be used to develop a terraced reflective area, an open socialising space and new garden beds incorporated into existing vegetation."

All students highlighted the importance of celebrating and enhancing the sister city relationship between Christchurch and Songpa-Gu.

The guests were impressed by the four student presentations and expressed their gratitude for the time they had taken to come up with their designs. The next steps will involve the committee securing funding for a revitalisation project and assessing the student designs in more detail.

SOLA lecturer Don Royds said it had been a wonderful opportunity for the second year students to practise applying their design skills to a real-world scenario.

He wrapped up the visit by highlighting the fact that now is the perfect time to focus on promoting our relationships with our sister cities.

"In a post-covid world, when it can be difficult to travel, it’s great to know that we can experience other places and cultures right here in Christchurch and use design principles to help the people from our sister cities feel at home here."

Learn more about studying landscape architecture at Lincoln University.