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Metropolitan Gardens – gardens in the interstices of the metropolitan tissue

Saskia de Wit


The heterogeneity of the contemporary metropolitan landscape has led to a multiplicity of intermediate spaces, in between and within the different tissues of the metropolitan landscape. These interstices can provide favourable conditions to be transformed into gardens. What design instruments can be discovered for these gardens to address the characteristics of the interstice? And what is the value of doing so? In this essay three contemporary examples are compared, which explicitly address the different metropolitan landscapes in which they are located.

Paley Park (New York, USA) is a transformation of an interstice within a dense urban tissue.

Crazannes Garden (Crazannes, FR) creates a point of contact between motorway and rural landscape.

Reflection Garden (Seattle, USA) addresses the inclusion of what used to be the hinterland into the metropolitan realm, which has so little physical impact that the interstitial space between the urban fragments constitutes practically the entire surface.

The gardens are compared focusing on the landscape, the metropolitan condition of their situation, and the formal, spatial and visual transformation of the context in the composition of the garden. From the case studies one can conclude that gardens can define specific places in a generic metropolitan landscape, employing several design tools: centring, enclosing and highlighting a specific selection of existing landscape qualities.


interstice; interstitial garden; landscape architecture; garden; metropolitan landscape; place

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