‘The Big Asian Book’ Workshop

For three days in late January, 24 designers and academics from across Asia convened in Beijing to discuss the possibilities of a contemporary Asian landscape architecture practice.

The Big Asian Book Workshop

Hosted by Peking University and organised by Jillian Walliss (University of Melbourne), Heike Rahmann (RMIT University) and Ricky Ray Ricardo (TCL), the workshop formed a critical step in a larger publication project which, for the first time, will document emerging design and theoretical directions for Asian landscape architecture.

“This will be the first book to bring together a contemporary understanding of landscape architecture in the Asian region and offer a far deeper understanding than what can be currently glimpsed in magazines or online. It will cross theory and practice and position Asian knowledge as of global significance” says Dr Walliss.

The workshop outlined a shared ambition for the publication:

  • not be a manifesto but instead be open-ended, documenting an emerging, diverse and adventurous landscape practice;
  • present multiple and overlapping Asias, rather than a national spread;
  • present contemporary work (post 2000);
  • present multiple voices such as designers, clients, the developer and the community.

Participants crossed generations and geographies, featuring Yoonjin Park (PARKKIM) and Professor Jeong-Hann Pae (Seoul National University) from South Korea, Jeff Hou (University of Washington), Stan Fung (Chinese University of Hong Kong), Chang Huai-yan (Salad Dressing) from Singapore, Prapan Napawongdee  and Yossapon Boonsom  (SHMA) from Thailland, Kongjian Yu (Turenscape), Dorothy Tang (MIT), Zhifang Wang (Peking University) and Dong Zhang and Huicheng Zhong representing the two new generation Chinese design practices of  Z+T and Design and Hope.

Big Asian Book Workshop #2 laughing talking

The partnership of Chinese hospitality and Australian organisation created an energetic and impassioned (and well fed) event, offering a rare moment for Asian designers to come together, interrogate tradition and collaborate toward the future.

“The book is viewed as the beginning of longer-term strategy to build capacity and dialogue in the Asian landscape architecture community. Future events include a follow up workshop in 2020 along with the development of a regular discussion series which will underpin future publications. We’re now in the process of finding a suitable publisher and will announce a call for projects to be considered as part of the book in March 2019.”