Dietmar Straub
Associate Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture
315 Russell Building
t 204.474.6116
f 204.474.7532

Gardens Gardens Gardens
“The landscape of my soul needs the synchrony of teaching and professional practice and I believe that both sides benefit from each other. "

Gardens occupy a higher plane of intrinsic poetic value and are simulation arenas for states of paradise. Viewed in this way, the Chenshan Botanic Garden could be assigned an exemplary value and pioneering character and could thereby enrich a discussion on the state of open spaces.

Professor Straub embarked on the search for spatial forms of expression for landscape architecture that fall between the everyday and the adventurous. How is it really possible to design nature? When nature is at its most beautiful, is it curved or straight? Is there a contradiction between the regulated and the unregulated, and why do we even use the term “gardens”?

The full-scale nature of our images, their materiality, and their relationship to the vegetable components of the landscape pushes them in the direction of land art. There is nevertheless one important distinction: while land art projects take place in a space that lacks any specific purpose, infrastructure projects are typically, almost by their very nature, functional. This reveals a dimension that characterises the principle of landscape design, the task of which is to anchor determinations of aims within the setting of a landscape context, thereby essentially performing an integrative function.

The Chenshan Botanic Garden in Shanghai Inaugurated
Worlds running in parallel, and indeed that is how life goes sometimes, important experiences seeking us out rather than the other way around.

In 2005-2006, Professors Dietmar Straub and Anna Thurmayr succeeded in the Landscape and Urban Design Competition for Chenshan Botanical Garden Shanghai, China. The 200 hectare Garden is part of the Expo 2010 in Shanghai. The official opening was April 26, 2010.The site is located about 30 km from the city centre in the Songjiang District.

The transformation of the site is effected on the basis of three motifs, which form the body of the garden: the ring, the hill, and the water in the eye of the ring. These three spatial motifs constitute the garden’s soul.

Chenshan Botanic Garden Project Team:
Auer + Weber + Assoziierte Dipl. Ing. Architekten,
Straub + Thurmayr Landschaftsarchitekten,
Valentien + Valentien Landschaftsarchitekten

Landscape and Urban Design Competition for Chenshan Botanical Garden Shanghai, China, winning design from drawing to implementation, China. All Sketches Drawings and Images by Professors Dietmar Straub and Anna Thurmayr.