The House in the Garden and the Garden in the House:
JMM 02 - 21 - 2010

In the past few days we have visited three Chinese Gardens, one in Shanghai and two in Suzhou. Chin, our guide, said at one point that the Chinese Garden is both a house in the garden and a garden in the house. I thought about that statement for a minute and realized that it was incredibly intelligent and very well put. It is essentially a complex of small structures each with a different function that encloses a series of relatively small 'gardens' each with a different feeling. Some buildings are for gathering, others for meeting, living, eating, relaxing, etc. Some of the garden portions have water, others with mostly rocks, others with mainly bamboo or a small grove of trees, among others. The essence of these gardens is that the buildings frame the space for the gardens and the gardens become natural extensions of the room.

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