China 'Dule Yuan'

Zhu Yufan

The Chinese landscape designer Zhu Yufan has committed to IGA Berlin 2017 with his concept titled Dule Yuan [approx. meaning “Garden of Secluded Pleasure”]: “Dule Garden is an important and unique work in Chinese garden history. Sima Guang, a popular 11th-century politician, historian and littérateur of the Song Dynasty, personally designed this garden and wrote “DULE Garden”, in which he describes in detail the framework and scenic spots of the garden and establishes and advocates, for Chinese scholars, an independent and introspective mode of thought as well as an idiosyncratic lifestyle; it has since become an important theme in Chinese painting and calligraphy.... Its geometric character is surprising, as it diverges widely from the naturalness commonly believed to characterise Chinese gardens. It also exudes poetic ambience different from that of a traditional European geometric garden.” For the occasion of IGA Berlin 2017, Zhu Yufan proposes a reinterpretation of the Dule Yuan, which could also foster a discussion on – in the designer’s words – “the modernistic problem of the Chinese garden”. The painting of a Dule Yuan from the 16th century has inspired Zhu Yufan’s design: “The geometric axis is formed by a bamboo path, a flower garden and a channel of water; a traditional bamboo cottage [yurt] is reproduced using modern materials and technology. Mirrored walls at the end of the axis allow visitors and the bamboo cottage [symbolizing inner space] to appear in the same sightline with natural elements like water and vegetation, thereby stretching the vertical depth of space and blurring the observable boundary between people and nature. The mirrored surface echoes the philosophical quandary of being inside or outside the painting as well as the duality of seeing and being seen, all of which coincides with the meaning of ‘dule’. This flowing, reciprocating, infinite-space consciousness precisely captures the natural and spiritual essence of the Chinese garden.”

Zhu Yufan / Y³C

Zhu Yufan is a professor of landscape architecture at Tsinghua University in Beijing. He is the director of Y³C, a landscape planning and design institute that aims to create a platform combining landscape architecture and design, theory, empiricism and practice in order to realise qualitatively premium work on this basis. The core concept of Y³C is “Carefully Careless” or “calm design”, meaning a natural design where practitioners use gentle gestures to create a peaceful atmosphere, rather than simply exhibiting their expertise and design skills literally and superficially. The range of Y³C projects includes the planning and design of green-space systems, garden landscapes, memorial gardens, special land use and urban squares, the landscape planning and design of residential buildings, public buildings, streets and landmarked sites, as well as the design of outdoor advertising and
commemorative plaques.

Facts and figures


Zhu Yufan / Atelier Y³C

Contracting authority Grün Berlin 2017 GmbH for the state of Berlin, Senate Department for Environment, Transport and Climate Protection
Financing The measures are being financed with federal and state funding as part of the joint task aimed at improving the regional economic structure and co-financed by the Senate Department for Environment, Transport and Climate Protection.
Opening date 13 April 2017 for the IGA Berlin 2017