Z'scape - Aranya Mountain Garden Community, fostering a sense of belonging and identity
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Aranya Mountain Garden Community, fostering a sense of belonging and identity


Landscape  /  Completed

Inspired by site context and local characteristics, the design concept cherishes the value of the "mountain forest" and aims to bring back the lost nature and the culture, while fostering a sense of belonging and identity. With an emphasis on the spatial experience nestling in the undulating terrain and on-site preservation, the project includes three themed public spaces and 41 distinct green alleys spreading across the entire community. The goal was to establish a landscape "skeleton" able to evolve naturally, blending in with the surrounding mountains, forests, and nature over time.

The breakthrough achieved in this mountatin garden community project lies in its innovative handling of the mountain terrain without excessive earthwork, the dynamic interplay between native rainforest and cactus plants, the integration of Wabi-Sabi aesthetics, as well as successive planting to create multi-dimensional and visually dynamic plant compositions.

It is a place for sufficient relaxation and growth can carry meaning beyond function, and material restraint allows spiritual abundance. This intentional simplicity draws individuals to immerse themselves in the serene mountainous surroundings, appreciate the inherent beauty of nature, and forge a more intimate and spiritual connection between people and the land.

The project exemplifies sustainable design by introducing native rainforest and cactus species that require less water and maintenance while reflecting local characteristics. The planting strategy prioritized on-site preservation of existing trees including a 200-year-old banyan, and integrated successive planting. The irrigation and drainage system made use of the existing height difference to ensure proper pore space for cactus plants' root growth. Over 300 drought-resistant, low-maintenance, and slow-growing cactus plants were carefully integrated with more than a hundred locally indigenous fast-growing rainforest plants, enhancing biodiversity throughout the community. To reduce the ecological footprint, the project utilized recycled and locally sourced materials.

This Garden was the first project introducing cactus plants into public and community landscapes in China. Before 2019, cactus plants had not been widely used in such settings and people’s understanding of them was limited to greenhouse or potted plants. The project thus became a testing ground and served as an outdoor classroom for people to explore and learn about native species. By integrating Wabi-Sabi aesthetics into public spaces, the project’s emphasis on "emptiness" and restraint in design allows for relaxation, spiritual abundance, and a connection with nature. The simplicity of materials and the preservation of pristine nature invite people to breathe, think, and experience tranquility. The design aims to deeply touch people's hearts, conveying the beauty and vitality of nature. The inclusion of blank spaces reflects the Wabi-Sabi philosophy, offering endless possibilities and a sense of movement. It fosters a profound sense of tranquility, forging a more intimate and spiritual connection between people and the land. The “Mirror of Sky” pool provides a unique and engaging space for residents and enhances social interactions. The Breeze Hill transforms the barren land full of rubble and wastes into an undulating green terrain as the extension of the mountain behind. The slopes range from gentle to steep, providing a multi-functional outdoor space suitable for different activities or community cultural events.

The design strategy took into account the long-term development rather than short-term effects, and intentional restraint in design to leave space for plants to grow naturally. Over three and a half years, the project demonstrated the adaptability and viability of cactus plants on a large scale. As a terrain reform project built upon existing construction, the project is complex in its status quo. The design team managed to deal with the uncertainties.


 200000 mq
 Liangjun Zhou, Ting Zhou,Fang Qin、Liping Chen、Jinsheng Zhang、Hao Li、Pei Han、Hao Yu、HanhanXu、Jingzhi Du、Zhenhua Yang、Caifu Song、Chang Sun、Shanshan Ma、Yuxin Kang、Zhonglin Gao、Yuan Man、Weiguang Hou、Hongjie Shi、Huiting Shi、Xiupeng Shi、Xiupeng Zou、Yueheng Liu、Yuxi Chen、Zijian Wang、Cen Lv、Ziyi Li


Founder of Z'scape Mr. Zhou Liangjun has rich experience in both domestic and overseas work. He has years of practical landscape design experience in London, UK. He has worked on various types of projects such as urban public open space, commercial complex, boutique hotel and resort landscape design. He provides wonderful and feasible concepts, planning and design solutions for worldwide projects and has practical works in Europe, the Middle East and China.
Firmly believing that design is of great value, Z’ scape is committed to the research and practice in the fields of landscape, art and design. We constantly pursue the modern naturalism and the aesthetics of landscape, explore local characteristics and design elements in every project, and emphasize the relationship between human beings, culture and nature. We are dedicated to creating artistic, cultural and sustainable landscape space which will allow people to experience the vitality of the landscape and immerse themselves in it

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