Tiger Glen Garden (Garden) by Marc Peter Keane
2012 - 2013, Golden A' Landscape Planning and Garden Design Award Winner
The garden is inspired by an ancient Chinese parable known as the Three Laughers of the Tiger Glen, which describes the experience of three men who overcome their sectarian differences to find a unity of friendship. That story was the subject of many paintings over the centuries, in China and Japan. I lived in Kyoto, Japan, for nearly 20 years and came to know the story of the Three Laughers while living there. As an abstraction of this parable, the Tiger Glen garden represents the intersection of literature, painting and gardens.
The Tiger Glen Garden is a contemplation garden built in the new wing of the Johnson Museum of Art designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners. The garden was designed in an austere style called karesansui in Japanese in which an image of nature is created with an arrangement of stones. This highly abstract style was chosen in part to resonate with the highly rarefied architecture, and in part to evoke the aesthetics of the paintings it was inspired by.
Design Challenges
The creative challenge in the case of this garden was understanding how to capture the essence of an ancient parable, and of the many paintings created on the theme of that parable, and recreate that essence in a new, contemporary way in the context of a modern art museum.
Production Technology
The design of the garden is very simple, primarily stones and moss. The stones are weathered metamorphic boulders called gneiss that were collected from a forest. The moss groundcover is a quilt of 12 species, also collected from the same forest. The tree in the garden is a form of Japanese red pine called Tanyosho, Pinus densiflora Umbraculifera, that is pruned by a Kyoto-trained gardener each year. The simple palette of grey and green resonates with the exposed concrete architecture.
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