YUÁN - International Master Garden

An exploration of the meaning of Chinese garden art in the Anthropocene Age

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Line Agnes Bjørløw Skjærlund

Head of Business Development, Associate Partner


Beijing, China


1,100 m2


2019 — 2019


Beijing International Horticultural Expo



SLA’s founder Stig L. Andersson was, together with four other internationally renowned landscape designers, selected to create International Master Gardens for the Beijing International Horticultural Expo 2019.

SLA’s Master Garden is YUÁN, a new Chinese sign for ‘garden’. In the project, SLA aims to create a new meaning of the Chinese garden in the Anthropocene era. YUÁN draws on a deep knowledge of China’s cultural history, nature, art, architecture, and philosophy and re-uses these elements in a new and profound way. Thus, YUÁN shows how we can use traditional Chinese culture and nature in modern city planning to improve the quality of life for China’s population, while at the same time solving many of the challenges our cities, our world, and we ourselves, face today.

Sketch by Stig L. Andersson The first concept sketch for YUÁN

SLA’s Master Garden YUÁN creates a new ‘landscape morpheme’ for the Chinese garden in the Anthropocene Age. Drawing on traditional Chinese culture, nature, art, landscapes, architecture and philosophy, YUÁN re-interprets these historic elements in a present setting, addressing many of the challenges our cities and our world face today, while (re)connecting the visitors with nature – a connection so many modern city-dwellers, not only in China, have lost.

Inspiration Section of the taoist landscape painting 'Listening to the wind in the pines' by Ma Lin.

“YUÁN is an exploration of the meaning of Chinese garden art in the Anthropocene Age. It is a search for a New Garden - founded in China's thousands of years old cultural history that at the same time can provide a new understanding and connection between man, culture and nature”

— Stig L. Andersson

YUÁN is – beside being a new interpretation of the Chines Garden – also a beacon for urban sustainability: The garden uses only recycled, upcycled and local materials (such as upcycled building waste, locally grown trees and carbon-reducing bamboo scaffolding) while also providing eco-system services such as natural pollution cleansing, reduction of stress and rainwater management. Thus, SLA’s YUÁN master garden becomes a reference for how to use traditional Chines nature, art and philosophy in modern city planning to improve the quality of life for China’s population, while at the same time solving many of its largest urban challenges.


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