Our students' garden of shared consciousness won an award at the International Garden Festival
The International Garden Festival in Chaumont-sur-Loire is the event of the year in the field of landscape and garden architecture. This year it is subtitled Biomimicry in the Garden. Nearly 300,000 people visit this, the world's most colourful open-air exhibition of garden art, between May and November. "The festival is sovereignly the largest platform for landscape architecture in the world. Unlike other events, it is not just about the installation of objects, but always about the connection of the living and inanimate world," says Vladimír Sitta, head of the Department of Landscape Architecture at the Faculty of Architecture of the CTU in Prague. It was him who alerted the students to the competition deadline. Vladimír Sitta implemented a garden at the festival in 1995 and has been following the festival ever since.
First Czech success in thirty years of the festival
Great news about the prize for the student team came from France at the end of June. There was excitement among the faculty just to be among the 24 winning projects and the fact that two projects from the Faculty of Architecture of the CTU were even selected for Chaumont. The first was the Garden of Camouflage project by graduate Dominika Tesárková, which competed in the professional category, the second was the installation Tou test connecté in the student category. "In the thirty years of the Chaumont Festival on the Loire, this is the first ever Czech success," explains Vladimír Sitta. "The realisation of the designed garden was an incredible life experience for us, during which we learned many important things," says Jan Trpkoš, one of the members of the award-winning team. "We saw and tried technological procedures that we otherwise draw in computer programs. Under our hands we saw our ideas, dreams, thoughts and sketches grow in the real world," mentions Jan Trpkoš.
What does the Garden of Shared Consciousness look like?
The Garden of Shared Consciousness, as the Czech title of the exhibition Tout est connecté goes, is based on the idea that everything is connected to everything and everything communicates in some way. The authors wanted to initiate a dialogue, to speak the language of plants and to rethink their relationship with the plant world on the basis of real interactive communication. The principles of communication, information exchange and nutrient transport are illustrated by several garden "rooms" symbolizing elements/animals. The rooms are separate from each other, hidden from each other, and cannot be observed from one place. They are gradually revealed to the visitor walking through the garden. The rooms are connected by a network of sound tubes that allow the exchange of insights, experiences and experiences across the garden. The unmistakable conical heads placed in each of the rooms symbolize the element and allow not only the transmission of sound, but also the reflection of light, a glimpse into the ground or the flow of water.
See what the garden looks like directly on the festival website.
It was not a walk in the park at first
However, the design of the garden near the fairytale castle on the Loire, where the whole team of students arrived at the beginning of April, was no walk in the park. "When we arrived in France, we discovered that the prepared path network did not correspond to the documentation we had sent, but to the sketches with which we had won the competition," says Hata Enochová. The project was changed according to the requirements of the organisers so that the road network corresponded to the anti-epidemic measures and was only passable in one direction so that people would not congregate in dead ends. "Our original design worked with small rooms – that is, dead-end roads," explains Háta Enochová.
So the students spent the first half day in the office plotting the changes. They added an alternative exit from the rooms using treadles to the blind arms, creating two circuits. In the end, they agreed that this modification benefited the project, which was confirmed by the jury. "I thought the actual work in our garden was very co-ordinated and fortunately nothing further went wrong. Certain elements had an even more interesting effect than we had anticipated. For example, after the water feature was installed and operational, we discovered that our interconnected pipes, acting as sound conduits, carried the sound of dripping water to a completely different part of the garden," says Háta Enochová.
If you are travelling through the Loire Valley this summer and you pass by Chaumont, be sure to stop at plot number 21, where the Garden of Shared Consciousness, created by students from the Faculty of Architecture of the Czech Technical University in Prague, is growing into beauty.