The Couple’s Garden | Dongguan, China | JIA LIAN Design

A Tale of Two Boxes, an exploration of gardening in contrast between Yin and Yang

Theme Interpretation — Yin and Yang

This was an attempt to build a garden in the greenway of Dongguan Songshan Lake 4A Scenic Zone. The design task originated from a real estate sales project. However, the base only covered about 1,000 m2 which was too small to convey a complete sales demand. Hence, we freed its design from traditional functions. We drew a conclusion—Scenery exists in nature, so nature can be interpreted through changes between yin and yang.

Vision — Two Boxes Featuring Changes between Yin and Yang

The contrast between yin and yang in two boxes blends the charming misty rain of Songhu Lake and impulses of nature into the dynamic sightseeing route. The Southern box experiences the vigorous beauty of bright sunshine, while the Northern box captures the gentleness of crystal moonlight.

Southern Box

This is a box filled with light. We planned to cut rays of light with the box and place glaring light, soft light, and shadows in the same space at the same time to reveal nature’s breaths. The strong contrast stimulates people’s understanding of nature’s beauty.

Northern Box

The Northern Box is an everyday part of divinity, decorating the daily scene suitable for drinking tea and holding private banquets with a delicate lakeside view that nourishes life through the beauty of gentleness. The front and back courtyards are combined to connect the architecture. Because of the architecture’s permeability, the vision blends the boundaries between the interior and the exterior, the delicate interior becomes a scene to be appreciated from the outside. Here, we hung a picturesque landscape painting on the curved wall — The 18m*2m LED screen incorporates all scenes by Songhu Lake and the forest. We hope that the virtual landscape scroll will enable visitors to experience the lakeside sense in the distance.

Art and Ecosystem

We introduced the water from the water surface ridge at the back of the building into the box to connect with the water in the inner courtyard. Through the 5.5-meter-high indoor waterfall circulating oxygen and the filtration of aquatic plants, the vitality of the water body is well kept and the ecological characteristics of the water are maintained. Dongguan city has a subtropical monsoon climate, and there is no winter in the long summer. We opened the “separation” between the two boxes and introduced the cold air from the mountains into the box to form a cyclic convection relationship, reduce the indoor temperature and bring down the use of air conditioners, thereby saving energy consumption and lowering carbon emissions. When visitors come to this corner of the mountain, a sense of tranquillity and leisure arises spontaneously.

The Couple’s Garden

Landscape Architecture: JIA LIAN Design Company
Designer Name:Zhang Zhang,Jianhua Zhang,Wenlong Gao,Zhenni Li,Chunhua Liu,Qinchuan Zhang,Xueyuan Liu,Tao Liu,Jieyi He,Tianyu Yao,Hui Xiang,Xiaoyan Guo


Image Credits: PrismImage

About Damian Holmes 3226 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at