'I Live with Nature' Show Garden
GBA Shenzhen Flower Show 2024

Awarded the Grand Gold Award at the GBA Shenzhen Flower Show 2024, the highest award available at the horticultural show, the I Live with Nature garden is a celebration of the wonder of nature in an urban setting and included a series of layered, experiential spaces, undulating pathways and natural ponds. 

The garden explored the harmony which can be created between built form and the natural world, including the beautiful brick pavilion at its centre. The walls of the pavilion both lean into the central space and also out over the planting and into the garden which surrounds it, creating moments of marvel and wonder. The increasing gaps towards the top of the structure create openings so the planting can be viewed from the inside. The pavilion speaks of the balance between urban life and nature and its blurring boundaries if we ‘lean into nature’.

The brick pavilion was created using Augmented Reality (AR) technology, thanks to a collaboration with Princeton University’s Form Finding Lab and researchers from the University of Bergamo and Pegaso University. To construct the pavilion an AR headset was used by a skilled mason, helping to guide the placement of each brick. The technology allowed for a better accuracy of the positioning of the bricks so the gravity-defying geometries and leans could be achieved. The construction was completed in real time, eliminating time inefficiencies and error and therefore any material waste. AR is an exciting merging of traditional bricklaying methods with new technology and a more sustainable way to build. 

“I am so excited to have used this impressive new technology to create our I Live with Nature garden. Having seen this technique used to create a vaulted arch for the Venice architecture biennale, I was eager to use it for the first time in a horticultural show garden. For construction in Shenzhen we used the technology completely remotely, which means we were able to design and construct the garden in the space of two and a half months.” 

Jo Thompson