⟨ Secret Place ⟩

Forest, born for flowing water and from creation

Water Garden

Words & Photography / MIDWAY
Translation / Ian Tsang

人類從遠古開始一直在改造大自然,希望為自身提供一個更理想的生活空間,然而過度發展後,讓人反思真正需要的是並存而非改造。在日本栃木縣那須岳的山腰上,是一片奇妙的森林,樹木與水池錯落交替,明明路徑上有斧鑿加工的痕跡,但內裡一切共生的事物,卻又是徹頭徹尾地自然而來。一向想法有違傳統的建築師石上純也,以「水庭」為題,尋求共生之餘,反向地設計出一片自然之地,不為生存,只為著如何保育原始的景觀。

Since ancient times, human beings have always been reforming the Great Nature in the hopes of creating an even better living environment for themselves. However, over-development has prompted us to reflect that what we truly need is not reform but co-existence. In Japan, halfway up Mount Nasu in Tochigi prefecture, there is a marvelous plot of forest where trees and ponds intertwine. Despite traces of artificiality, everything co-existing inside completely originates from the nature. Junya Ishigami, an architect known for breaking the mould, takes on the theme “Water Garden” to pursue co-existence by reversely designing a piece of land within nature not for the purpose of existence, but rather solely for how to preserve and nurture the original landscape.

 

不幸地,「水庭」這項企劃的始源也是來自於對大自然的人為破壞,一片曾經茂密的原始森林,後來成為稻田,又漸漸地成為被人遺忘的荒地。與此同時,附近的酒店別墅工程即將動工,幾百棵樹面臨被移除及丟棄的命運。或許出於對樹木的珍惜之情,又或許是希望嘗試找出共生的路,擁有這片土地的藝術旅館Art Biotop Nasu便提出了保留這些樹木的意願。為此,建築師提出了一個「以自然之物,建造一個非自然中能找到的藝術作品」的概念,把數百棵樹細心地重新栽種過來,同時依據樹形的大小、種類,分隔的空間中建造了形狀不一的水池以及鋪上苔蘚植被。這一道人造景觀,內裡所包含的元素無一不來自大自然,卻又如此精緻地重現人間。水庭有數個不同的入口,為了能長久地保護各動植物不受破壞,大大小小的石階引導著人們前進,小徑偶爾橫渡寬闊的水窪,偶爾避開橫出的樹枝,像是一個迷宮,眼前的一個落腳點卻是怎樣也不能輕易前往。當時想著這也許就是建築師的一番苦心,讓參觀者在不同的角色、位置,去察看庭院內錯綜複雜的美景。樹木的影子、反映著天空景觀的澄澈池面、被視為「沙發」的大石,以至同行的夥伴也造就了獨一無異的構圖。

Unfortunately, it was human beings’ damage to the Great Nature that has given rise to this “Water Garden” project. This once thick and heavy primeval forest was turned into paddy fields before gradually becoming abandoned wasteland. At the same time, a new hotel villa was due to begin construction soon while several hundred trees were facing the fate of being removed and abandoned. Perhaps the desire to preserve the trees or the hope to find a solution for co-existence has prompted Art Biotop Nasu, an art inn owning the piece of land to voice its intention to preserve these trees. In response, the architect put forward the concept of “creating a piece of art non-existent in nature by using resources from nature.” He meticulously replanted the few hundred trees while constructing ponds of varying sizes and laid blankets of moss with reference to the size and type of trees. Every single element of this artificial landscape, without exception, has been drawn from nature, but it has been given such a delicate new life in this world. The Water Garden has several entrances. In order to protect all the plants and animals from harm over the long term, stone steps, both big and small, lead people forward, with small paths sometimes traversing vast ponds while at other times steering away from branches sticking out. Like a maze, it would seem a stamping ground just before your eyes can never be reached easily. At that time, I thought it was perhaps the architect’s well-meaning intention to let visitors explore this beautiful and complex scenery from a variety of angles and positions. Shadows of the trees, reflection of the sky on the crystal clear water surface, the huge stone regarded as a “sofa” as well as companions all together contribute to this unique setting.

 

更有趣的是,庭院由落成的一刻開始,景觀一直在生長、變化。來自附近的生物,慢慢移居進來,成為水庭的一份子。看似平靜恆常的水池,卻是隱隱地互相串連起來,水流由高至低,在每一個渠道裡流動著,或急或緩,發出微小的聲音,饒富趣味。與此同時,高緯度的山野間如此四季變化分明,春夏秋冬裡,植物不斷地改變型態,與附近的環境爭相成為庭院的主角。盛夏時,新的綠葉在陽光下樹影婆娑,秋冬的景像則是奇異枯枝配合藍天白雪。追溯過去,與其說水庭是創新,倒不如說是呼應著日本傳統的庭園造景文化。遠自平安時代的古籍已經指出,庭園是大自然景觀融入在生活環境的一部份,從而達到人與自然的和諧,而非單單在現實中複製既有的環境。因此,共生比改變重要,協調也有利於長遠的發展,庭園一向都是一個人與自然求同存異的媒介,而水庭就是現代藝術中一個遠古庭園的再進化。

More intriguingly, from the moment the garden was constructed, the landscape has continued to grow and undergo changes. Living things from the surrounding area has slowly moved in to become members of the Water Garden. Ponds that appear to be static and quiet are indistinctly connected. Amusingly, water flow in every channel, from high to low places, swiftly or slowly, making faint sounds. Moreover, distinct four seasons define the mountain landscape of high latitude. During the four seasons, plants keep transforming their states, and along with the surrounding environment, they all vye to take center stage within the garden. In mid-summer, fresh green leaves cast dancing shadows under the sunlight while in autumn and winter, bare branches are matched with the blue sky and white snow. In tracing back the history, rather than regarding Water Garden as innovative, it is more apt to say that it echoes Japan’s traditional garden landscape culture. Ancient writings dating as far back as the Heian period already mention that gardens represents a part in which natural landscape is integrated into daily life in order to achieve harmony between human beings and nature, rather than simply making duplicates of existing environment in real life. Therefore, co-existence is more important than making changes, and co-ordination favors long-term developments. Gardens have always been a medium through which a person seeks common ground while putting aside differences. Water Garden, thus, represents a new evolution of ancient gardens in modern art.