Courtyard Of Reflections
The enclosure of natural outdoor space can be traced back to 10,000 BC, Eden being idealised in Western culture as the first garden of all. For herbal medicine, food or pleasure, humans have been designing gardens in private and public spaces since ancient times. Mesoamerican cultures practised garden traditions with great religious and metaphorical meanings, while the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were renowned as one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Japanese gardens, designed as fully controlled abstractions of natural ancient landscapes, bring serenity and nature into everyday life through finely curated symbolic and minimal intervention. Gardens carry an inherent and universal relationship to beauty, calmness and contemplative reflection so through design, they can connect us with our most primary memories and sensorial experiences in nature.
In the context of an era characterised by acceleration and technological stimulation, Courtyard of Reflections is a proposal to reflect on nature’s sensorial stimulation in the built environment. As a colourful oasis, the installation encloses an aromatic garden of seasonal plants to establish new sensory and visual dynamics within the Plaza San Bartolomé. Through the use of colour, smell, nature and geometry, this enclosed garden brings a new sense of wonder and discovery into the city, celebrating the local landscape and nature from La Rioja. A natural standing reed wall hides a vibrant interior that is only revealed from the outside though framed vistas. As the visitors walk through the reed, multiple paths lead to a garden of lavender, thyme, rosemary and sage, allowing for an intimate, yet collective space for contemplation.