I Live with Nature garden wins gold award at Shenzhen Flower Show

We are delighted to announce that Jo and team have been awarded the Grand Gold Award at the GBA Shenzhen Flower Show for their I Live with Nature show garden. This is the highest award available at the horticultural show, which attracts over 2 million visitors in China.

The show garden includes an intricate brick pavilion at it centre 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.

The garden is a celebration of the wonder of nature in an urban setting and includes a series of layered, experiential spaces, undulating pathways and natural ponds. The garden explores 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’.

Speaking about her I Live with Nature garden, Jo Thompson said: “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 last year, 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.”

AR is a mixed-reality technology that is transforming various industries, including construction and design. It allows the blending of the physical and digital worlds, to create a virtual environment that can enhance design, planning and the building of construction projects. The technology allows the construction of complex geometries and patterns without a single construction drawing.

The Shenzhen Flower Show is open between 23 March and 1 April. It has been held in Shenzhen since 2019 and has attracted more than 2 million visitors.