The suggestion of a Polyport is argued and interpreted in close relation to the notion of ‘exchange’. Set at Kew Gardens, the aspect calling for ‘A Royal Botanical Pop-up Garden’ explored the main themes of nature and trade. These design proposals were used to link London and Singapore through the exchange of knowledge and products between the botanical gardens of both countries. This ethos is further enhanced by the notion of Polyport, and most notably the exchange of interpretative documents governing the choices of site in London (and Singapore).
The main narrative sees the design work produced for Kew Gardens in London relocating to Gardens by the Bay in Singapore. This allows for the contrasting differences between Kew Garden’s royal and historical lineage and Gardens by the Bay as a twenty-first century botanical garden to be examined. While the first is read as a separate collection of buildings and experiences, the latter serves as an example of mega-scaled architecture which relies on both nature and technology to perform as a sustainable organism.
Hence the ‘Pop-up Garden’ is a displaced garden with the capability to ‘pop up’ on both sites, and is able to adapt to suit specific geographical, topographical, climatic and/ or programmatic features as appropriate.
The ranges of ideas in the projects presented demonstrate an exceeding wide approach to addressing contextual relationships in the design process. There are proposals which directly reference Kew such as ‘The Wandering Garden’, which concerns the modern picturesque; ‘An Esoteric History of English Landscape’, which explores the notion of palimpsest; and ‘The Imperial Botanist Folly’ which dwells on colonial nostalgia. In contrast, there are proposals that choose to use the futuristic quality of Gardens by the Bay as a starting point for their narratives. ‘The Floating Archive’ is an utopian proposal; ‘The Water Temple’ has an ecological agenda; and ‘Breeding Chambers: A Living Fungarium’ is best described as sustainable science-fiction. These ‘pop-up’ gardens all result from different readings of Kew Gardens, as well as Gardens by the Bay and more importantly, reflect the diversity of the students’ own research.
|Keywords||Polyarc, Polyport, Exchange, Displacement, Kew Gardens, Singapore|
|Web address (URL)||https://www.architecture.com/RIBA/Becomeanarchitect/Oureducationalactivities/Polyark.aspx|