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An Invitation to Explore: The Garden of Forking Paths by Beals Lyon Arquitectos

An Invitation to Explore: The Garden of Forking Paths by Beals Lyon Arquitectos

The Garden of Forking Paths by Beals Lyon Arquitectos Ph. Cristóbal Palma

This project is featured in 2: “Landscape as Urbanism in the Americas.” The issue takes its name from a project led by the Office for Urbanizationation at Harvard GSD. It explores the potentials for landscape as a medium of urban intervention in the specific social, cultural, economic, and ecological contexts of Latin American cities. The issue will be available very soon. Sign-up to our newsletter to be the first to know!

In 2013 Beals Lyon Arquitectos built in Santiago their winning proposal for the Chilean version of the Young Architects Program. The design was for a temporary site-specific installation promoting a slow environment, a new scale of leisure, and the unexpected within a park that has been insistently pushed to become a productive and lucrative space. 

Ph. Cristóbal Palma

Nowadays, with being constantly online, connected, and available, mobile technologies have removed almost all space for leisure and quietness. If we compare the flaneur, the bohemian daydreamer who has time to stroll in the city, with the commuter, who travels from home to work with the pressure of converting time into a productive space, it is evident that what is lacking is precisely that space and time in between that has been converted by modern society into an imperative space of production. In some way or another, unproductive gaps need to be filled. 

With the labyrinth as a tool, the project creates a narrative of situations of discovery and surprise, exploring the possibilities of public space by introducing new atmospheres and environments. A vegetal mass, a cornfield, is hollowed-out by a system of wooden paths. Its geometric layout is borrowed from the labyrinth that once existed in the gardens of Versailles, and has been scaled and adapted to include a series of rooms or follies, openings in the path, spaces for unexpected situations and events. 

Visitors are encouraged to lose their bearings, leaving the rush of the city behind. The quietness will eventually allow them to perceive in a different way, slow, paused, useless, and thus establishing a connection with their bodies through a new sensual experience. This could bring an entirely new understanding of space, capable of locating the body, once again, at the center of architecture. 

LOCATION: Parque Araucano, Santiago, Chile / DATE: 2013 / SITE AREA: 1500 m2 / ORIGIN: Winner Proposal for the YAP-CONSTRUCTO 2012/13, MoMA PS1 Young Architects Program / PROJECT: Alejandro Beals, Loreto Lyo, architects / COLLABORATORS: Claudio Viñuela, Francisca Becerra / CONSTRUCTION: Juan Candia / PHOTOS: Cristóbal Palma  

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