Ortus Artis

The project selected by the Jury of the International Workshop of Landscape that took place at Certosa of S. Lorenzo a Padula – Salerno (Italy), rises from the desire of subverting the common idea of “garden=green” and suggest new sensations and imagines by reinterpreting the issue. Being suggested by the environment and its history, we tried to give form to “Thinking” and “Meditation” , once typical of the monks, today of the new Certosa’s users.

Paratelier: The main entrance to the garden is through the loggia that bounds the longer side of the garden, located six steps down. This difference of level represents the core of project, to donate the sensation of walking through paths excavated two meters under the hypothetical surface of the garden and putting the feet on soft earth as it was just stirred. In reality there is not a real excavation, there is instead a lifting of the present level through 2 meters high moulds of very fine net. The choice of this size derives from the idea of looking through at the sky and at the way opening in front of the visitor that finds himself inside the space, while the sight from the loggia will give the impression of a volume with inside excavated ways. (The height is equal to the distance between the end of loggia’s balustrate and the garden’s walking level). The idea of earth surrounding the ways is given by the moulds that the 5 planners thought to use as compost tanks.

The Compost earth, a stratification of natural materials, is the mean for giving form to the idea of “Thinking excavation”, “Meditation”, seen as a dynamical process of the human being. Driven by the curiosity of discovering and going in deep, here is the visitor going down the central stair of the loggia and discovering two possible ways he can go, to the left or to the right. In front of him a very narrow opening suitable only for a glimpse, suggesting that there is some new space at the end and attracting him to go and see so that he “unconsciously” participates to the theme, or better said to the “garden’s process”.

While walking the profoundness is perceived through odour, tact, colour of the Compost-earth and the same time there is a developing of imagination and of the most various states of heart linked to the sight just of the sky and of the pre-existing trees’ branches, that give to the garden a sense of intimacy. From the external way one can access two very narrow cuttings (1 meter ca wide) where who walks feels the warmth produced by the material’s stratification. At the end of each cutting there is a chair where can sit and enjoy the sensations given by the garden. In the centre, corresponding to the opening in front of the access stair, there is a bigger space, still surrounded by this “walls” of compost-earth, with a bench and basket full of apples: an invitation to eat them and then throw the rests in the moulds. This is how the visitor becomes a player himself, together with trees, compost and time passing in one of the Certosa’s gardens.

Completion date: 2004
Location: Certosa di San Lorenzo, Padula – Italy
Designer: Architecture: Monica Ravazzolo (Paratelier), Natale Gencarelli, Landscape Architecture: Jorma Giannoccaro, Luca Sartor, Maya Seppacher
Photographer: Monica Ravazzolo


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