Synthetic Gardens

2006, Los Angeles, California

Synthetic Gardens is a series of public gardens and greenhouses located on a steep slope in the Hollywood Hills. To contain the eroding soil, the majority of the site is covered with a soil retention system, first observed in a photograph by Toshio Shibata and then transformed to work within the constraints of this difficult site. The system consists of various types of heavy fill enclosed by a robust membrane patterned with creases and seams that control the flow of fill and provide an even thickness across the diverse topography. The membrane or “blanket” is not only designed for the organic matter underneath it but also the material above it: the gardens, the enclosures, the appliqué, and the flows of people that will inhabit it. In this way the blanket is a substrate for pragmatics (soil retention), program (the events that arise through the behavior of crowds in movement), and effects (the color, the lights, and the plants, which imbue vibrancy through their flickering relationships to the crenellated forms).

Project Team: Adam Fure, Ellie Abrons, Daniel Norell