UBC Graduate Research

Teagarden Chan, Kimberly Mae 2020

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茶園陳寶恩著teagardenTeagardenby Kimberly Mae ChanBachelor of Arts, B.A. Interactive Arts and Technology, Simon Fraser University, SIAT, 2017Committee:Mari Fujita (chair)Thena Tak (faculty committee)Chad Manley (external committee)Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree ofMaster of ArchitectureinThe Faculty of Graduate Studies,School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Architecture Program.The University of British Columbia December 2020© Kimberly Mae ChaniiiAbstractTechnology is increasingly altering the world’s natural landscapes in permanent and often irreparable ways. The shift towards more efficient, and productive modes of producing food for example, has changed both our relationship with, and understanding of our landscapes and the products we consume. As we progressively remove ourselves from the production process of the things we consume, the environments we choose to or are compelled to live in, are becoming increasingly abstract. In addition, there is a perpetual need to produce more food to help tackle global challenges such as the global food crisis by providing alternative, more efficient ways to not only produce, but also consume food. While well-intended and certainly ambitious, such growing procedures often fail to address the social, cultural and spiritual importance of food, as well as the resultant landscapes created. Thus the goal of the project is two fold: First, it seeks to explore what happens to existing landscapes and people once technologies replaced both; secondly, the project investigates how food is not only a biological necessity, a product valued only for its end use, but rather one that has built and shaped cultures, landscapes, and the essential understanding of life.vivContentsabstracttable of content acknowledgmentsIntroductionThe site Chinese gardensGate         a reintroduction         mass production         consumption         abstraction         materiality         the gateGarden         the myth         impermanence         duality         weak and diffuse         the gardenMain Hall         orthodoxy vs orthopraxy         chineseness         the main hallTearoom         origins         problems of translation         the tearoomThe VisitDrawings         the map         the gate         the garden         the main hall          the tearoom         the villageBibliographyiiivvii36121430627892112174This is by no means a comprehensive guide to Chinese philosophy and culture, nor should it be understood as an alternative to the writings in which I reference. This is but my interpretation of the research done so far, which will undoubtedly continue to evolve over time. viiviAcknowledgementsNone of this would be possible without the love and care from my committee, friends and family. Thank you Mari, for your unwavering support throughout this semester, without which, I am sure, this thesis would not have come into fruition. To Thena and Chad, thank you for inspiring me and pushing me forward, it was rough, but we made it! To Russ, you have been the best mentor and friend I could have ever asked for. Thank you for always being in my corner.To Amy, Heesuk and many others whom have stayed up with me on countless nights, I am so thankful for all your support and companionship. 婆婆, 沒有你 就沒有今天,謝謝你。32“It is essentially a worship of the Imperfect, as it is a tender attempt to accomplish something possible in this impossible thing we know as life.”1 IntroductionTea, as a food crop and as a productive landscape has been changing for centuries due to a constant increase of demand for the beverage; from gathering wild tea trees leaves, to cultivating rows of well pruned and trimmed tea bushes. This project will explore how these landscapes are changing, have changed, and will be changed again. If we focus the production of this food crop on one country, we further constrain positively the issues. The industrialization and localization of farming in developing countries such as China for example, has come to mean that many rural villages can no longer depend on agriculture as their main source of income. These villages are often faced with two polarized methods of progressing forward in the new economic reality: the preservation and mummification of their village in favour of a tourism driven economy; or a complete redevelopment and dissolution of the village. Both of which are problematic. Thus, I am specifically interested in investigating what a village that specializes in tea could transform into at a time where tea production has has become industrialized and mass produced. This project proposes a scenario in which a small tea village such as Peiyin Shan (培音山) transitions from a production based economy to a knowledge based one, using their deep understanding of both the landscape and production of tea to create a space where tea is celebrated.1. Okakura Kakuzo. The Book of Tea: Japanese Harmony of Tea Culture & the Simple Life, 1919, p.175476The SiteThe chosen site is located one hour away from Chaozhou city in Guangdong province. The village is called Pei Yin Shan, it is one of many tea villages on Phoenix Mountain, a mountain revered for its “Dancong (單樅)” tea. Traditionally, a true bag of Dancong tea, roughly translated as “single tree”, contains leaves picked from only one tree, and thus each bag of tea was unique despite being produced in the same season, in the same year, at the same farm. 1However as the demand for Dancong tea increased, traditional methods were no longer able to meet market demand. Many large scaled tea plantations replaced such methods with more productive modes of harvesting and processing. Tea pickers that once scaled the rocky mountain in search of  1. “Phoenix Dan Cong Oolong 鳳凰単叢烏龍 : Oolong Tea : HOJO TEA,” 日本語サイトへ, accessed December 23, 2020, https://hojotea.com/item_e/phoenix_e.htm.2. ibid. 3. “The Evolution Of China’s Coffee Industry,” US, June 28, 2019, https://china.usc.edu/evolution-china%E2%80%99s-coffee-industry.4. Kaiso Chang and Margarita Brattlof, “Socio-Economic Implications of Climate Change for Tea Producing Countries” (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2015), http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4482e.pdf%20(31-10-2019,%204.wild tea trees, now tend to neat, well-pruned rows of tea bushes, gently terracing down the side of a mountain. Tea leaves from each tree are no longer picked and processed individually, but rather as large batches sourced from multiple tea bushes.2 In addition, tea factories housing various machines capable of processing large amounts of tea leaves in a shorter amount of time replaced more traditional methods of shaking, roasting, rolling, baking and sorting. Other factors such as the increase in demand for coffee and climate change, meant that smaller tea villages that have been producing tea for generations are unable to compete using their traditional harvesting and production methods. 3 4This project postulates that while villages such as Peiyin Shan are no longer able to focus on the production of tea as their main source of income, they are able to use the hundreds of years of tea production knowledge and know-how to shift from a production based economy to a knowledge based one.98There are three existing buildings and tea garden on the proposed site. The gate will replace one of these buildings, formerly used to process tea, and creates an alternative entrance to the village. The main hall repurposes two brick buildings,  both of which were part of the tea garden. All materials from the site (and other demolished sites) will be used to construct the new buildings.11101312Chinese gardens巧於因借,精在體宜。The project is envisioned as a Chinese garden, a form which encompasses a diverse network of concepts that underlie Chinese culture as a whole. It allows the us to lose ourselves, to forget about how we arrived, where we are, and how to leave. It both confuses and lulls our senses, creating an illusion of a space that seems to extend indefinitely. The garden is a microcosm, encompassing both the mythical and historical. It is not too concerned with the reality it sits within, but is a reflection of what is, or could be. The simplicity and profundity of the garden may seem elusive to the casual visitor sauntering through, overwhelmed by the complexity and intricacy of each moment. But this is only because the garden is a space meant to be savoured over a lifetime, and in turn, takes a lifetime to create. 1 “The skill of designing gardens lie in understanding the interdependence between and how to borrow from each element. The craft of designing gardens lie in its suitability and appropriateness.”Author’s note:The following chapters are broken down into 4 distinct parts of the garden and contain a collection of thoughts and quotes that have in some form influenced the progression of the project throughout GP1+2.「」1. Cheng Ji and Alison Hardie, The Craft of Gardens (New York: Better Link Press, 2012), 23-25.2. Cheng Ji and Alison Hardie, The Craft of Gardens (New York: Better Link Press, 2012), 50.“Anyone may enjoy the garden as they please, without the owner questioning them; as the visitors fulfil their wish, they need not announce their names.” ²1514門樓gateThe gate is a portal, simultaneously separating and connecting the two worlds. It cultivates and acclimates our consciousness and prepares us for what lays inside. 1716An identity chrisisA recent study on cultural change within China has revealed that counter popular belief, China has started to depart from the general trend towards individualism, and is returning to a more collectivistic school of thought.1 Furthermore, movements such as the youth-based Han Clothing Movement (漢服運動), dedicated to reviving traditional Han culture, customs and rituals, have also started to emerge in the last two decades. These shift in perspectives highlight the role of core culture in cultural maintenance during times of rapid cultural change.2 As the Chinese gradually regained their self-confidence and maturity that emerged from the understanding of, and the experience gained from the contemporary world, they begin to look beyond the materialistic, capitalist society, and progress towards a deeper contemplation of their own cultural environment. A prime example of this would be the “Pan Xiao discussion” in 1980. The whole ordeal started when China Youth decided to publish a letter addressed to them in their magazine.3 This then evoked a ten-month long nationwide discussion about society’s inability to nurture deeper aspirations for a meaningful life and relevant existential orientations.4 1.  Rui Zhang and Liping Weng, “Not All Cultural Values Are Created Equal: Cultural Change in China Reexamined through Google Books,” International Journal of Psychology 54, no. 1 (2017): pp. 144-154, https://doi.org/10.1002/ijop.12436)2.  Kevin Carrico, “The Great Han,” University of California Press, accessed May 1, 2020, https://www.ucpress.edu/book/9780520295506/the-great-han)3. Luo Xu, Searching for Lifes Meaning: Changes and Tensions in the Worldviews of Chinese Youth in the 1980s (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2002), p. 57)4. Billioud Sébastien, The Varieties of Confucian Experience: Documenting a Grassroots Revival of Tradition (Leiden: Brill, 2018))“I turned 23 this year. You could say that my life has only just begun, and yet all of life’s mysteries and attractions don’t appeal to me anymore. It seems like I’ve already reached the end. When I look back upon the path I’ve already taken, the road changes from red-violet into grey, from hope to disappointment. It is a path of despair. It is a river flowing from a source of selflessness and purity into a self- centered end. In the past, I cherished high hopes and fantasies about life. In elementary school, I had heard stories like “How to Build Iron and Steel” and The Diary of Lei Feng. Although I didn’t completely grasp the concepts, the heroic adventures excited me so much that night after night I couldn’t sleep a wink. I thought, “My father, my mother, and my grandfather are all good Communists. Of course I am a Communist, too, and in the future, I want to be a member of the Party—no doubt about it.” After I had attended elementary school for some time, the Cultural Revolution began and the currents grew increasingly fierce. I was a bit confused, and I began to think that perhaps life around me wasn’t as attractive as it was described in the books. I asked myself, “Should I believe what these books tell me or what I see with my own eyes? Should I believe my division commander or should I believe myself?” The year I graduated from middle school, my grandfather passed away. A previously harmonious, close family suddenly became cold and callous, raising a ruckus over the question of inheritance. Because it was my maternal grandfather who had passed away, we did not receive anything. I couldn’t afford to continue my schooling, so I joined the Socialist Youth instead. Then I became very ill, and after I had recovered, I was assigned to work in a collective factory. I believe in an organizational structure, but because I gave my boss a suggestion, I was unable to enter the Communist Party for many years. I sought help from my friend at work, but I made a mistake because she wrote down everything I revealed to her in heart-to-heart conversations and showed it to my boss. I sought love. I was friendly with a fellow cadre whose father was persecuted by the “Gang of Four,” and his situation was always really miserable. I showered him with the most sincere love and sympathy. I was truly surprised when, after the “Gang of Four” was overthrown, he did an about-face and completely ignored me thereafter. Pan Xiao’s original letter:1918To seek the answers to life’s meaning, I consulted many, but no answers satisfied me. It is said that life is “for the revolution”—that’s as abstract as outer space and moreover, I just don’t want to listen to those theorists anymore. It is said that life is about fame and reputation, but that’s just too far removed from the average person. It is said that life is about humanity, but that actually bears no correlation with reality. It is said that life is about merrymaking and delight— well, that’s just meaningless.I sought help from the storehouses of wisdom—I devoured book after book like a madman. Hegel, Darwin, Balzac—great masters who with their dagger-sharp pens dissected human nature layer by layer. They led me to understand the ugliness of humanity. I exclaimed in surprise how much people in reality resembled the characters in their writing. I saw one Eugenie Grandet after another and Prince Nekhlyudov time and time again. In these grand times, people follow their instincts when they make choices. The commitment to lofty morals and ideals no longer exists. In the past, I used to believe fiercely that “people exist to make other people’s lives more perfect and wonderful” and “don’t hesitate to sacrifice your life for your fellow man.” These ideas are utterly ridiculous when I think of them now. I now recognize this truth: everyone, real or imagined, views him or herself subjectively and views others objectively. We are like the sun: the sun simply exists. It shines on a myriadof things, and in the end, it is only we as human beings who assign a subjective value to the sun’s light. Thus I believe that if people maximize efforts to understand existentialism, then society as a whole will inevitably advance. Some people say that time is pushing forward, but I don’t feel a part of it. Some people say that life has meaning, but I don’t know where it is. I see few options for myself. I am so very tired. Comrade editor, I reveal these thoughts to you, but I am not hoping that you will give me a solution. If you dare to publish this, I am willing to let the youth of the world see it. I believe that the hearts of the youth are all interlinked. “ “[...] All of us youth have made a fatal mistake: “all” or “nothing.” When the time comes that we all have idealism that comes from books and objective reality is no longer a symbol, then it’s all over...in a word, if it’s not stagnation, then it’s destruction. But I want to ask: why can’t we continuously revolutionize and change our thinking and have “newer” be the norm for our lifestyles? Why can’t we take the excellent thoughts of past critics and utilize them to understand our new reality and to investigate the basic problems of our new society? Why can’t we in the process of making a new life search for re-creation and with our own two hands create increasing material happiness and obtain spiritual enjoyment while we’re at it?”5 One of the readers’ response: So who is Pan Xiao? Pan Xiao is the epitome of last generation’s youth, searching for life’s meaning. She is the innocence of the past and the phantom of the future; the honest voice and the desperate cry; the desire to move forward and the lack of will; the high sounding ideals and the everyday reality. She isthe anxiety, hope, dread, fear, longing of her peers and that of her children. She turned to Hegel for answers, and sought advice from her comrades. It is in this context that China experienced a multifaceted religious revival which resulted in the reintroduction of religions such as Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism, as well as the rapid spread of Christianity within the country.6 In addition, studies show that China is experiencing a steady trend of people, especially in the middle class, taking interest in self-help and personal development books. This exemplifies how the Chinese are actively seeking for new ways of thinking and alternate ways of living. It is also worth noting that books regarding the teachings of Confucius and other ancient Chinese schools of thought are included amongst the self help genre.7 5.  Diana Lin, “Excerpts Related to the ‘Pan Xiao’ Discussion on the Meaning of Life,” The Path of Life: Why Is It More Narrow?, May 1980, http://chinasince1644.cheng-tsui.com/sites/chinasince1644.cheng-tsui.com/files/upload/16-3.pdf)6. Billioud Sébastien, The Varieties of Confucian Experience: Documenting a Grassroots Revival of Tradition (Leiden: Brill, 2018), p.176-177)7. Alison Hulme, Changing Landscape of Chinas Consumerism (Oxford: Chandos Pub Ltd, 2017), p.6)2120Mass productionDiverse technologies have allowed for mass production and blind consumption on scales that were previously unimaginable. Most of us, for example are not required to produce our own food despite it being an integral part for our survival. For that we can thank and appreciate technology and industrialization for decreasing the number of people required to work in industries such as agriculture, freeing us up to do other things that are perhaps, not so integral for our survival, but productive for our society.China and other developing countries have been at the forefront of such technologies, with the rise of intelligent / smart manufacturing, trendsetting plants such as GAC NE and food hubs in Shouguang have become the leaders in their industries.1“Never before has the responsibility to feed [and produce] for the world been left to so few people. And never before have so many people been oblivious of that fact.”21. “Spectacular Rise of China’s Intelligent Manufacturing amid Reform and Opening-up Trend-Setting Plant of GAC NE,” Spectacular Rise of China’s Intelligent Manufacturing amid Reform and Opening-up Trend-setting Plant of GAC NE | Business Wire, December 26, 2018, https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20181225005017/en/Spectacular-Rise-of-China%E2%80%99s-Intelligent-Manufacturing-amid-Reform-and-Opening-up-Trend-setting-Plant-of-GAC-NE.2. Louise Fresco, “We Need to Feed the Whole World,” TED, February 2009, https://www.ted.com/talks/louise_fresco_we_need_to_feed_the_whole_world?language=en. 3. Rem Koolhaas and Julius Wiedemann, Countryside, a Report Countryside in Your Pocket! (Köln: TASCHEN GmbH, 2020), 129.Shouguang for example, is home to the largest greenhouse area in the world. It produces enough vegetables to feed 60 million people, on just 0.0002 percent of China’s landmass. Meaning it would only take 0.004% of the total landmass to feed the whole country using this system as opposed to the 7% from traditional farming.3 This translates to the loss of jobs and primary source of income for roughly half a million rural villages. So what will become of these villages once they can no longer depend on agriculture as their main source of income?2322Mass consumptionAfter Deng Xiaoping opened the door to foreign investments, companies started pouring in, taking advantage of cheap labour and a new unsaturated market. Not only did China overtake the United States to become the world’s largest manufacturer in 2010, it is also expected to become the world’s biggest consumer market within the year.1 It is safe to say that consumption and production has become one of the defining features of China in the 21st century. That being said, Chinese people take great joy in saving money. We are cheap, and proud of it. In fact we bond over getting the best deals and brag about how much we saved on our new vacuum cleaner. We can win over the hearts of any aunty if we can tell her where to buy the cheapest toilet paper rolls, being frugal is a virtue, it is ingrained in our psyche, it is in our DNA. The bigger question is then, how did China turn from a culture of saving, to a culture of extravagant spending? 1.  Felix Richter, “Infographic: China Is the World’s Manufacturing Superpower,” Statista Infographics, February 18, 2020, https://www.statista.com/chart/20858/top-10-countries-by-share-of-global-manufacturing-output/) ; Marc Bain, “The Meteoric Rise of Chinese Consumerism Will Reshape the World, and Maybe Even Destroy It,” Quartz (Quartz, June 4, 2017), https://qz.com/994345/the-meteoric-rise-of-chinese-consumerism-will-reshape-the-world-and-maybe-even-destroy-it/)One explanation brings us back to 1976, or the end of the cultural revolution. The revolution left Chinese culture on the verge of collapse, in fact the momentum of the decline was so forceful it thrust the country into a frantic search for a new cultural identity. At the same time, China underwent an explosive period of material development and urbanization.3 Faced with an increasingly materialistic society, the Chinese turned to conspicuous consumption as a resolution to their search. Thus, what they wear, where they go and what they eat became more than just an activity, it symbolized the core of their identity and socioeconomic status.4 There is however, an even simpler explanation. After a life long history of war and poverty, people just wanted to have a nice life. When asked whether Beijing should tear down their historical Hutongs, many people would say “it should be kept as a heritage, it is part of our collective memory!” But if you lived in a hutong and had to share a public toilet with the whole street, the answer would undoubtedly be that you want a better, more modern life.5 By expanding their production lines 2. Michael Zakkour, “Why Starbucks Succeeded In China: A Lesson For All Retailers,” Forbes (Forbes Magazine, August 24, 2017), https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelzakkour/2017/08/24/why-starbucks-succeeded-in-china-a-lesson-for-all-retailers/#106a11057923)3. Bernhard Fibicher and Matthias Frehner, Mahjong: Contemporary Chinese Art from the Sigg Collection (Ostfildern-Ruit: Hatje Cantz, 2005), p.25-29)4.  Alison Hulme, Changing Landscape of Chinas Consumerism (Oxford: Chandos Pub Ltd, 2017), p.9)5. Christiane Kruse, Ziran, Nature: Art, Nature, and Ethics (Berlin: Sternberg Press, 2015), p.56)“Once you have millions of people working in the car industry and once you have built the largest roadway network in the world, there is no simple road back to bicycles.” 22524and establishing their own national brands, China was able to make consumer goods so affordable they became ubiquitous.6 What’s more, the government continued to encourage domestic spending and consumption as it was an effective way to generate economic growth.7  And so, what started off as a trickle turned into a river as people got accustomed to the consumerist lifestyle. But what are the repercussions? Commitment, as it turns out. By adopting a Western lifestyle, China, like the many western countries before it, must continue to deeply commit its economy and society to consumerism.8 This can be said for many other aspects of a western consumer lifestyle, once the Chinese grow accustomed to even the simplest pleasures such as indoor plumbing and grocery shopping, it is hard for them to go back.9 The greater implications of this would be a loss of traditional values in favour of a more profitable and productive alternative. Take for example the concept of fengshui (風水) in architecture. One aspect in fungshui is to determine how to naturally keep the building warm in the winter and cool in the summer, but at times, this does not result in the most efficient use of space. It is at this point that a developer will have to decide what he values more. The result is usually a crappy modern building, with air conditioning units stuffed in the corner of the room, which when used, contributes to making the city even hotter.10 10 6. Zakkour, Michael. “Why Starbucks Succeeded In China: A Lesson For All Retailers.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, August 24, 2017. https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelzakkour/2017/08/24/why-starbucks-succeeded-in-china-a-lesson-for-all-retailers/#106a11057923.7. Marc Bain, “The Meteoric Rise of Chinese Consumerism Will Reshape the World, and Maybe Even Destroy It,” Quartz (Quartz, June 4, 2017), https://qz.com/994345/the-meteoric-rise-of-chinese-consumerism-will-reshape-the-world-and-maybe-even-destroy-it/)8. Michael Zakkour, “Why Starbucks Succeeded In China: A Lesson For All Retailers,” Forbes (Forbes Magazine, August 24, 2017), https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelzakkour/2017/08/24/why-starbucks-succeeded-in-china-a-lesson-for-all-retailers/#106a11057923)9. ibid.10. Christiane Kruse, Ziran, Nature: Art, Nature, and Ethics (Berlin: Sternberg Press, 2015), p.57)AbstractionIt is within this consumerist culture that we find convenience as an integral part of our everyday lives. Be it the flush of a toilet, pressing a button for cool air, or stumbling down the stairs to buy a pre-made sandwich, not only is convenience something that we can no longer live without, but it has in itself, become a commodity we are willing to pay for. Why make your own stool when you can have one made and delivered to you within 3 days for $14.99? Our pursuit of efficiency and convenience however, has fundamentally changed the way we associate and understand the world around us. The beauty and culture of tea for example, lies in its whole Which do you associate with a glass of milk? The carton? or the udder?2726process, from the way the tea shrub is grown, picked, processed, packed, stored, measured, admired, washed, brewed and consumed. Tea, having been part of China’s history for centuries, is not just a drink, but rather a culture in and of itself; it reflects and embodies Chinese thoughts and philosophies. It has gone through periods of suppression, glorification and modification, in much the same way that traditional Chinese culture has throughout its history. But like many things in China, the contemporary tea culture has been greatly affected by modernization. The use of teabags, instant tea and modern day plumbing for example, while convenient, no longer allow the drinker to admire the colour and shape of the leaves, and completely skips over the water selection process. Thus, when we fixate solely on a needs-focused agenda, we fail to recognize the qualitative dimensions of life, one that allows for a meaningful and pleasurable quality of life.1 1. Chaia Heller, Ecology of Everyday Life: Rethinking the Desire for Nature (Montréal: Black Rose, 1999), 2.MaterialityI asked my grandmother (poh poh) one day, what are the stages of getting to know someone? She answered: First you meet them, then you learn about them, finally you trust them. This is how I envisioned the materiality within the project. 2928The gateThe gate is a threshold.      It is the only point in the project that uses concrete. The materials from the village are slowly introduced, as the concrete is quietly left behind.            Bamboo formwork are used along the curved walkway to imprint the textured curves of the bamboo grove onto the cool gray surface.  Bricks and tiles, repurposed from the abandoned buildings of hollowed out villages, appear as a cameo to the concrete structure.  The clay roof tiles laid down carefully by the villagers in an assortment of patterns, telling their own stories through their craft.   A wall is erected using a traditional wapan (瓦爿) technique, carefully stacking tiles and bricks between layers of hempcrete and lime.3130園gardenThe garden is a world within a world. It is a place where time is passed, a place of endless change, and a place to observe life.3332The mythWhich do you prefer? A loaf of mass produced, pre-packaged Wonderbread? Or a handmade, locally baked loaf of bread? I am sure, when given the two options most people would choose the latter. But why is this so? Louise Fresco, a leading scientist in sustainable global food production, argues that it is because we associate the handmade bread with authenticity and a traditional way of living. It is, to many, a symbol of a more real and honest past, one where agriculture was still tied to the notion of beauty. The reality of course is quite different. Most farmers work 80 hours a week only to produce similar yield to of some of the poorest farmers today in West Africa. What we envision is a mythical past, a romanticized portrait preserved through paintings and art.1In fact, the idealized portrayal of nature and the rural stem from centuries of political, economical and social influences both in the West and in the East. Rousseau for example, was the first in the Western world to position nature in opposition to society, comparing nature’s qualities to an exotic, eden-like state of innocence, one that we must emulate. 2Similarly, the Chinese told stories of Immortals, mythical beings who lived in exotic mountain palaces and secluded rocky islands, these stories inspired some of the most beautiful gardens as they were built in hopes of luring the Immortals down to share their secret.3 Thus the image of nature and the rural  1. Louise Fresco, “We Need to Feed the Whole World,” TED, February 2009, https://www.ted.com/talks/louise_fresco_we_need_to_feed_the_whole_world?language=en.2. Chaia Heller, Ecology of Everyday Life: Rethinking the Desire for Nature (Montréal: Black Rose, 1999), 5.3. Cheng Ji and Alison Hardie, The Craft of Gardens (New York: Better Link Press, 2012), 22.as a pristine, and mystical realm, a wholesome haven uncorrupted by exogenous elements is born out of centuries of romanticization  and our own vivid imaginations. Furthermore, by combining our abstract and romanticized idea of nature with our capitalistic habits of consumption, it gives way to a movement of people who long to return to an idealized way of living by consuming experiences and artifacts they deem as “natural.”4 Thus, we must be diligent about steering the conversation about the future of rural and nature away from purely just a preservation of a landscape to be experienced by the privileged few, and towards one about regeneration for the many. We must strive to understand nature and the rural as they are, rather than as we see it. Not to abstract and romanticize our understanding of them to one that fits our definition and constructs, but to allow them to freely express their own desires. “Ironically, this romantic posture toward nature often promotes an uncompassionate portrayal of the causes of ‘nature’s woes.’ The desire to protect nature often conceals the underlying desire to control and denigrate marginalized peoples.”54. Chaia Heller, Ecology of Everyday Life: Rethinking the Desire for Nature (Montréal: Black Rose, 1999), 5.5. Chaia Heller, Ecology of Everyday Life: Rethinking the Desire for Nature (Montréal: Black Rose, 1999), 17.3534Impermanence (無常)Change within the Chinese culture is part of a cyclical and natural movement, it is repetitive like a tree going through the seasons, yet growing taller every year; it is a sort of forward moving spiral if you will. The term ‘change’ and more specifically 無常 (wuchang, 無 meaning no, 常 meaning constant) or impermanence’ is frequently discussed within both Daoist and Buddhist teachings. Although it is a key term within Buddhism, impermanence has been a concept that the Chinese valued long before Buddhism arrived in China. The Chinese believed that nothing within our perceptible level of existence is without movement or change. Everything is either coming into existence, developing, decaying or going out of existence.1 Buddhism however expands the idea of impermanence even further, introducing two kinds of impermanence: a momentary impermanence, such as the end of a human life; and a continuous impermanence, such as the idea that we are all slowly dying.2 Where some cultures may put emphasis on one form of change over the other, the Chinese value both. Tea plants for example are considered mature and can be harvested between the ages of 3 and 50, after which, the plants are retired as they no longer produce enough leaves.3 For many cultures, a general term, such as tea, may be used for all the leaves that are picked and processed throughout the lifetime of the plant. But in Chinese culture, this is not the case. Tea is broken down into three 1. John Blofeld, I Ching The Book of Change (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1965), p.39)2. Robert E. Buswell and Donald S. Lopez, The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2014), p.47)3. François-Xavier Delmas, “The Lifespan of a Tea Plant: between 30 and 50 Years,” accueil, January 27, 2012, https://www.discoveringtea.com/2012/01/27/the-lifespan-of-a-tea-plant-between-30-and-50-years/)4. “春尖普洱,” 到百科首页, accessed May 1, 2020, https://baike.baidu.com/item/春尖普洱/3437977)5. John Blofeld, I Ching The Book of Change (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1965), p.45)6. Cua, A. S. Encyclopedia of Chinese Philosophy. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis, 2013. 8.5. John Blofeld, I Ching The Book of Change (New York: E.P. Dutton, 1965), p.45)different seasons: spring tea, summer tea and autumn tea. These three teas each contain their own distinct taste, colour and smell. To the Chinese, these teas are seen as discrete drinks, hence are sold as separate products. But that is not all, some teas, such as Pu’erh, are further divide into early spring tea, mid spring tea and late spring tea.4 At times the difference between each harvest is merely two weeks, yet the characteristics of the teas prove to be enough of a difference for some of the most experienced tea drinkers. The Chinese’s attention to minuet changes within their environment is astonishing to say the least. Leaves are not just leaves, but rather have different properties and characteristics which constantly change and evolve over time. And for the Chinese, that in itself is worth celebrating. In addition, impermanence is also seen as one of the causations of suffering; if nothing is permanent, all beings will be susceptible to pain and suffering in the next moment. To accept this, is to accept what has been, what is, and what will be; it is to see or to abide with things just as they are, this is what we consider as self-being (自然) which is volitionally the same character used for the term(s) nature/natural.6 Laotzu, the founder of Daoism, further states that we should live closer to nature, to observe its natural processes and model our actions upon it.7 “The art of life requires knowledge not only of when and how to act but also of when not to act; wise actions confines itself to dealing with whatever positively insists on being dealt with; were it to go further than that, it might stir up the need for more action and lead to involvement in things better left alone.5 37363938DualityThe concept of duality is inherent in all things, and the characteristics of all things emerge from the connection and interaction of their opposites. I find it easiest when describing it as a pendulum. Thetwo opposing values, high and low, beautiful and grotesque, young and old, are like the two sides that the pendulum swings between. 氣 (qi) is like gravity, an invisible force that moves the pendulum from one side to the other.1 And finally the current state of being depends on where it is that the pendulum lands at any given time. Thus something deemed as beautiful will eventually transform into the rotten, the two are intrinsically one. Furthermore, the rate of change depends on the speed of the pendulum. For example, the speed of which the pendulum swings for the blooming and consequent withering of a flower is much faster than the growth and death of the tree. Conversely, the speed of change in a pot of tea is much quicker than that of the flower, thus tea can change from being sweet to bitter within a matter of minuets. Other aspects such as who picks the tea, the way the tea was processed, the selection of water, the boiling of water, the tools used and so forth have an effect on the speed of change inherent in the tea. So much attention is paid to how the tea is affected that if even one guest is missing during a tea tasting, adjustments must be made to the preparation of the tea.2 Thus, an integeral part of the art of making tea is about understanding the different characteristics of each tea, and perfectly balancing each quality by being in tune with the rhythm of the leaves and all that affects it.  1. Christiane Kruse, Ziran, Nature: Art, Nature, and Ethics (Berlin: Sternberg Press, 2015), p.116)2. Yue Lu, Francis Ross. Carpenter, and Demi Hitz, The Classic of Tea (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1974), p.119)3. Yue Lu, Francis Ross. Carpenter, and Demi Hitz, The Classic of Tea (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1974), p.119)Within Chinese philosophy, no one quality is better than the other. Chinese tea is both sweet and bitter. Although the two flavours conflict, neither one is more desirable, and both are required to enjoy the beverage. Lu Yu points out that a person who praises tea only for its smoothness and colour is a poor judge of tea. Others who comment on the tea leaves’ imperfections, noting the way the leaves wrinkle, the depressions and mounds, are better judges. However, the most successful taster is one that is capable of judging all of the characteristics of tea, both good and bad.3 In many aspects, the Chinese view life in a similar manner, not one or the other, but rather one and the other. If one recognizes beauty, one must also recognize the grotesque, they are defined and created by their opposites. Like tea, one flavour cannot exist without the other, otherwise it is not tea. In life, the good and the evil, the high and the low, being and non-being, exist together, such is life. In this regard, an unprocessed leaf from a tea plant has the capacity of being both sweet and bitter. As with all things, the leaf has its own natural tendencies and inclinations, capable of changing over time. In the spring, during its first growth cycle, the leaves picked may have a tendency to be sweeter, in contrast, summer harvests may lean towards a more bitter profile. 新安王子鸞、 豫章王 子尚,詣曇濟道人於八公山,道人設茶茗, 子尚味之曰  :此 甘露也, 何言茶茗。4140Attention to preserving the innate quality of the leaves start before the leaves are collected. Traditionally the pickers for example, are required to abstain from certain meats during the picking season in order to ensure that their breaths do not affect the bouquet of the leaves. Once picked, the leaves go through multiple processes designed to preserve or enhance the flavours within the leaves.4 Finally, care is put into both the selection of water and the tools used to present the tea. If chosen poorly, it can greatly affect the taste, appearance and aroma of the beverage. As the purpose of drinking tea within the Chinese culture is to enjoy the natural aromas from the leaves, Chinese tea etiquette denounces the addition of flavour changing substances such as milk and sugar.5 Respecting the innate qualities within all things, and not opposing or forcing our own will upon others is considered the dao/ tao (道). Taoism therefore, is founded on the idea whereby one lives and abides by the dao, both within themselves and of others.6 The Taoist phrase “Doing nothing, and everything will be done” thereby does not mean to sit around and do nothing, but rather to understand your own internal nature, and the nature of the million and one ‘others’ around you and do what comes naturally. Eventually, by allowing the nature of things to fall into place, what needs to be done will be done.4. Yue Lu, Francis Ross. Carpenter, and Demi Hitz, The Classic of Tea (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1974), p.21)5. Yue Lu, Francis Ross. Carpenter, and Demi Hitz, The Classic of Tea (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1974), p.116)6. Yue Lu, Francis Ross. Carpenter, and Demi Hitz, The Classic of Tea (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1974), p.136)Take for example, my strawberry plant, every year when the plant puts forth new flowers, I place the pot outside and allow the bees and the butterflies to pollinate the flowers naturally. They, unlike me, do not need to put any extra effort to pollinate these plants, it is an innate behaviour. Whereas if I had wanted to place my will over that of nature, I would have had to use a brush and painstakingly hand pollinate all the flowers individually. Thus by just leaving the plants outside, I in a way “did nothing” but still the flowers were being pollinated therefore “everything has been done.” This is called practicing 無為 (wuwei), non-action. By recognizing what is 自然 (ziran), self-being / natural, or an innate quality within all things, you are working with them, not against them. Vernacular architecture and certain values within fungshui encompasses these notions of wuwei. It is to say, by studying and understanding the natural characteristics of native materials, soils, temperatures etc. a lot can accomplish with much less. 8Wang-Tzu Luan of Hsin An and Wang-Tsu Shang of Yu Chang paid a visit in the Mountain of the Eight Dukes to a Taoist from T’an Chi. After savoring the tea laid for them, one protested: “This is nothing less than sweet and peaceful dew fallen from Heaven. How can you call it tea?”77. 老子, 道德經, 516BCE, p.第二章8. Christiane Kruse, Ziran, Nature: Art, Nature, and Ethics (Berlin: Sternberg Press, 2015), p.116)434245444746494851505352Weak and diffuseBorrowing from Andrea Branzi’s terminology, weak architecture draws inspiration from the reversibility and traversable qualities of the agricultural landscape. It is a way of understanding built structures as light, impermanent and elastic. Weak architecture is defined as a imperfect and incomplete subsystem that has a casual relationship with its surroundings, not fully defined by precise functions, but is capable of responding to changing necessities. It is not defined by borders or boundaries, but is rather dispersed and diffuse.2 This mode of building is a direct result of what Zygmunt Bauman calls ‘liquid modernity.’ It stems from the belief that change is the only permanence, and uncertainty is the only certainty, it is marked by “an infinity of improvement, with no ‘final state’ in sight and none.3 1. Andrea Branzi, Weak and Diffuse Modernity: the World of Projects at the Beginning of the 21st Century (Milan: Skira editore, 2006), 132.2. idbd.3.  Andrea Branzi, Weak and Diffuse Modernity: the World of Projects at the Beginning of the 21st Century (Milan: Skira editore, 2006), 2-3“This is an architecture in which the component of time returns as a variable in an imperfect and incomplete equation that adapts itself to change.”15554The gardenThe garden is a         microcosm, a miniature, it is where nature and      culture intersect.            It allows us to observe and appreciate the         complex interdependent relationship and    hierarchy of all things.          The boardwalk and plants are partners in an endless waltz throughout the garden, their dance is observed by the watchful eyes of those who tend      to them, as one advances the other recedes.              Wild AzaleaCommon name: Rhododendron canescensFlowers: redGrowing conditions: well drained acidic soilSeason: March bloom, green foilage year round, seeds ripen in the autumnAssociations: 思想樹 (known as “thinking of home bush”)Native to Pheonix mountain, these wild azaleas draw in visitors from neighbouring cities during the blooming season. The flowers can be used as a mild sedative and can be applied externally, and the roots are consumed for its medicinal qualities.Bamboo boardwalkBamboo slats serves as an informal walkway throughout the garden. Small pieces of bamboo are inserted between the bamboo slats creating small gaps between each plank. These gaps allow for water and other debris, such as dirt and seeds carried on the soles of the visitor’s feet to fall through. As the bamboo deteriorates, the planks are removed, if a seedling has taken root the plank will not be replaced and the walkway will meander between each plant, readjusting itself over time. Bamboo crib wallBamboo “cribs” are a form of bioengineered retaining wall. It is 1/4 the price of gabion walls and 1/5 cheaper than masonry walls (yet provides the same tehcnical stability). Crib walls are constructed from the bamboo harvested throughout the mountain, and is used as a retaining wall for areas where a wider path is needed. The crib is backfilled with rocks and soil and is sunk in by at least half a meter. Live cuttings (taken from surronding bushes) are then propogated between the bamboo poles. As the cuttings take root, the bamboo slowly deteriorates and is reincorporated into the soil. 5756       The sprinklers, once standing idly providing relief to thirsty tea shrubs, now become opportunities for room-making and shelter for others. A tea pavilion is erected. Several tea shrubs are removed as the farm shifts its focus from the mass production of tea to a cultivation of tea.    Common beanScientific name: Phaseolus vulgarisFlowers: white, pink, purpleFruit: green, yellow pods containing 4-6 beans Growing conditions: full sun, well-drained and warm soilSeason: Spring, 4-6 weeks for beans to matureBean plants are used as a cover crop to help soil and moisture retention. In addition, the common bean plant aquires the nitrogen they need through an association with rhizobia (a nitrogen-fixing bacteria), thus allowing the plant to not only thrive in many different types of soils, but also act as a natural furtilizer for the tea trees / neighbouring plants. 5958          Gaiwans are used to serve tea as they are more portable, less precious and easier to clean than the traditional teapot.              Lanterns are hung as the celebrations ensue.      Tea shrubBotanical name: Camellia sinensisFlowers: white with yellow stamins Growing conditions: well drained acidic soil, indirect, dappled sunlightSeason: early autumn bloom, green foilage year round, seeds ripen in the autumnThe leaves are picked throughout the year and are processed into different types of tea (white / yellow / green / oolong / black). Leaves contain caffine and was first consumed for its medicinal properties. Gaiwan (蓋碗)Gaiwans are usually made of porcelain which are much less porous than clay pots, thus do not interact with the flavours of the tea. It is because of this characteristic, gaiwans are better for tasting the true qualities and flavours of the tea, thus is preferred by farmers and tea vendors. Due to its impermuable nature, gaiwans are suitable for brewing all types of tea. They are also much cheaper and less precious than authentic clay teapots and thus are often used as a portable tea tool. 6160   Plants such as Coffea arabica are introduced to the garden as the tea labs experiment with different companion plants.               The shrubs have now grown into trees, the neatly trimmed rows disintegrate as it makes room for others.         Coffee treeBotanical name: Coffea arabicaFlowers: Tree will produce flowers and fruit starting at 3-5 years of age. Flowers are white and fruits are red when fully ripe.Growing conditions: well drained acidic soil, indirect, dappled sunlight, high humiditySeason: Coffee trees bloom every year from February to May and is harvested between September to March. Tea treeBotanical name: Camellia sinensisFlowers: white with yellow stamins Growing conditions: well drained acidic soil, indirect, dappled sunlightSeason: early autumn bloom, green foilage year round, seeds ripen in the autumnThe leaves are picked throughout the year and are processed into different types of tea (white / yellow / green / oolong / black). Leaves contain caffine and was first consumed for its medicinal properties. These trees were once tea bushes during the time when the garden was mass producing tea. It has now been left to grow on its own with minimal human intervention. Signs of stress, such as white flakes developed on the bark of the tree, are a common indicator of wild tea trees. 6362廳堂main hallThe main hall is the spatial orienter within the garden. Where man’s daily practices and experiences are learned and shared. 65646766Orthodoxy vs OrthopraxyTea, like many aspects of Chinese life, has its own ritual and rites. The Classic of Tea, written by Lu Yu in the 8th century was the first known monograph on tea in the world. It remains to this day the primary doctrine of tea in China. This treatise on tea spanned over three scrolls and ten chapters. Each chapter contained a precise documentation of a particular aspect of tea: origin, tools, production, utensils, boiling, drinking, history, growing regions, simplification and representation. The text is both specific and vague, it contains detailed descriptions such as what the leaves should look like when it is ready to be plucked; yet when describing the steps of production, he simply names each steps in sequence and does not divulge any further.1 This deliberate ambiguity is in part an acknowledgment that while tea is produced in a particular way in one province, certain techniques may vary between regions in China. By only listing out the steps of creating tea, Lu Yu was able to leave room for variation and localization of tea production in China. This attitude held within the tea culture can be seen as a reflection of the greater Chinese civilization. From its inception, China has been comprised of many socially diverse ethnic groups with widely divergent practices and beliefs. Yet somehow these groups were able to coexist and present itself as a unified culture we know as the Chinese. Many have attributed this success to the standardization of ritual practice. Similar to how Lu Yu would simply denote the steps for producing tea, but not dictate how it is that each step is performed, the state officials enforced general rites in which all must follow, but permitted ethnic groups to practice their own customs in accordance to those rites. Thus, the system allowed for a high degree of 1. “孔子说三种方式可以获得智慧,” 孔子说三种方式可以获得智慧_方言大全网, accessed May 1, 2020, https://www.fydqw.com/so/孔子说三种方式可以获得智慧)2. Yue Lu, Francis Ross. Carpenter, and Demi Hitz, The Classic of Tea (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1974), p.70)3. James L. Watson and Evelyn Sakakida. Rawski, Death Ritual in Late Imperial and Modern China (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), p.10-15)4. James L. Watson and Evelyn Sakakida. Rawski, Death Ritual in Late Imperial and Modern China (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), p.28)5. Yue Lu, Francis Ross. Carpenter, and Demi Hitz, The Classic of Tea (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1974), p.6)cultural variation and an infinite variety of ritualistic expression while providing an overall structure of unity. That is to say, by enforcing orthopraxy, correct practice, over orthodoxy, correct belief, people from many different ethnic groups, with varying beliefs can be incorporated into one overarching social system we now call China.2 But this then begs the question of whether China has any coherent belief system at all? Perhaps. Confucians do not assume that rituals stem from or are preceded by beliefs, however, they understand that performance could lead to inculcation of belief.3 In addition, while the Chinese, especially the Confucianists, believe that ritual is essential to leading a good life, they acknowledge that it is not an end in itself, but rather an outward form of an inward ethic.4 In other words, performing a ritual is a behavioural expression of an internal belief or ethic, much like saying please and thank you is an external expression of an inner respectfulness. It is perhaps this reason that Confucianism is not seen as a religion in China, but rather a philosophy and a system of ethics. Confucius himself argued that he too could have used law to govern men, but what mattered even more is if men did not need to be governed by law. He believed that if people are governed by law and their behaviour regulated by punishment, they will only try to avoid the punishment, but learn nothing about their behaviour. Whereas if people are governed by virtues and their conduct regulated by their ethics, they will have a sense of shame and will learn to be good.5 Although anthropologists have long debated upon the meaning and definition of rituals,  6968it has been generally agreed that rituals are about transformation, specifically transformation from one being or state into another. It is this transformative aspect that sets rituals apart from other similar social actions.6 The rituals around tea for example may allow one to express and appreciate the beautiful yet imperfect thing that is life, a form of spiritual awakening. In fact, Confucians saw the practice of rituals and correct conduct as a way to teach children and the illiterate, to cultivate the mind through the imitation of virtuous role models.7 Practicing a ritual is therefore not intended as a sterile imitation of past forms, but rather an active means to embody abstract moral principles within an individual’s life.8 A form of enlightenment through practice and imitation if you will. When rituals are accepted as part of the standard practice, it has been routinized and conventionalized, but this does not mean that it does not change over time.9 Technology, political and economical changes are only some of the causes of cultural change. The invention and implementation of modern plumbing for example has greatly affected the consumption of tea. Most people no longer collect water from nearby streams or wells, but rather from taps or bottles. Thus the selection of water has now been standardized and is no longer relevant for most people during the preparation of tea. Modifications to existing rituals however are never arbitrary, they must conform to the general notions of “Chineseness.”10 6. James Legge, Li Chi: Book of Rites: an Encyclopedia of Ancient Ceremonial Usages, Religious Creeds, and Social Institutions (Charleston, SC: Forgotten Books, 2008), p.xxxviii)7. James L. Watson and Evelyn Sakakida. Rawski, Death Ritual in Late Imperial and Modern China (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), p.4)8. James L. Watson and Evelyn Sakakida. Rawski, Death Ritual in Late Imperial and Modern China (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), p.28)9. Yue Lu, Francis Ross. Carpenter, and Demi Hitz, The Classic of Tea (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1974), p.6)10. James L. Watson and Evelyn Sakakida. Rawski, Death Ritual in Late Imperial and Modern China (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), p.6)7170ChinesenessAsking a Chinese “what is Chineseness?” is akin to asking a designer “what is design?” It is a difficult question, and there are undoubtedly many answers. Some may say that there is no such thing as “Chineseness”, it is just that the “Chinese way” stands out in a Western context, much like how the “western approach” stands out in a Chinese context.1 This however, indicates that there is a unique Chinese approach, and that it is somewhat different from a Western one. First we must take a look at China as a country. China is comprised of 56 ethnic groups. Of the 56, 55 of them speak a different language and 24 have their own written language. The Chinese Han make up about 93% of the population in China, with the remaining 7% being ethnic minorities. Despite this, about half of China’s recorded history had been ruled by their ethnic minority groups. These ethnic minorities have contributed tremendously to both modern and imperial China.2 As such, many Chinese traditions and rituals passed down throughout the centuries have, at one point or another, been influenced by various ethnic groups. The consumption and production of tea for instance, has underwent multiple iterations throughout each dynasty before finally landing on the current brewing method. What is remarkable however, is the fact that they all drank tea. Over the last century, China has experienced multiple political, economical and cultural change. Each time, China was able to recover and adapt to its new circumstance. It is precisely this willingness to change and capacity for transformation that has given China immeasurable regenerative power. In 1. “论语.” 《论语》注释及翻译. Accessed May 1, 2020. https://lunyu.5000yan.com/7-22.html.2. Bernhard Fibicher and Matthias Frehner, Mahjong: Contemporary Chinese Art from the Sigg Collection (Ostfildern-Ruit: Hatje Cantz, 2005), p.51)3. Michal Biran, The Non-Han Dynasties (Oxford: Willey Blackwell, 2017), p.129)4. Bernhard Fibicher and Matthias Frehner, Mahjong: Contemporary Chinese Art from the Sigg Collection (Ostfildern-Ruit: Hatje Cantz, 2005), p.13)5. Bernhard Fibicher and Matthias Frehner, Mahjong: Contemporary Chinese Art from the Sigg Collection (Ostfildern-Ruit: Hatje Cantz, 2005), p.20)fact, every time China was ruled by another nation or culture, it would absorb the most attractive elements and traits of that culture, improve on it and emerge as a brand new China.3 The coexistence of different but complementary ideals, interweaving and dissolving into one culture has always been part of the Chinese’s history. On one of my many flights back to Hong Kong, I struck up a conversation with the man sitting next to me. At one point I asked him whether he is Buddhist, Taoist or Confucianist, after pondering for a while, he smiled and said he was all of them and more. He was taught to respect his elders, accept impermanence and learnt about the nature of all things, but he also believed in heaven and hell, the sins of man and repentance. The ability to accept a compound of different and often contradicting beliefs is deeply ingrained in not just the country, but also in its people. In 1978 Deng Xiaoping told the nation to learn from the West, but not clone it. Understand what it was that they did, and make something new and individual from it.4  “Chineseness” is therefore not an aesthetic, form or particular style, but rather the ability to recognize and appreciate what is good from any culture and learn from it. That being said, although the ability to assimilate and reappropriate parts of different cultures is not strictly a Chinese phenomenon, it is indicative of the Chinese approach. 7372Shang / Zhou Dynasty 1600BCE - 1 empireWarring States476BCE - 14 empiresQin Dynasty221BCE - 1 empireHan Dynasty207BCE - 1 empireThree Kingdoms220CE - 3 empiresSong Dynasty960CE - 3 empires-1141CE - 3 empiresYuan Dynasty1294CE - 1 empireMing Dynasty1368CE - 1 empireQing Dynasty1616CE - 1 empirePresent1911CE - 1 nationNorthern and Southern Dynasty420CE - 2 empires- 560CE - 4 empiresSui Dynasty581CE - 1 empireTang Dynasty618CE - 1 empire-923CE - 8 empiresChinese HanEthnic Minorities 7574Shang / Zhou Dynasty 1600BCE - 1 empireWarring States476BCE - 14 empiresQin Dynasty221BCE - 1 empireHan Dynasty207BCE - 1 empireThree Kingdoms220CE - 3 empiresSong Dynasty960CE - 3 empires-1141CE - 3 empiresYuan Dynasty1294CE - 1 empireMing Dynasty1368CE - 1 empireQing Dynasty1616CE - 1 empirePresent1911CE - 1 nationNorthern and Southern Dynasty420CE - 2 empires- 560CE - 4 empiresSui Dynasty581CE - 1 empireTang Dynasty618CE - 1 empire-923CE - 8 empiresChinese HanEthnic Minorities 7776The main hallThe roofs remain the same.    The existing brick buildings once sat heavily on the ground now hover weightlessly over the tea garden. A classroom/event space, tea lab and teahouse now occupy the brick boxes.    The production room uses mostly traditional processing methods, but machines from the tea lab above occasionally make their appearances as they experiment with different production methods. The walkway dips in and out of the production room, allowing visitors to peek into various stages of the process the but not to linger too long.  The scaffolds hold both tea leaves and dries bamboo poles, it also acts as a partition.7978茶室tearoomThe tearoom is a place for rituals, and rituals are a place for contemplation. 8180OriginsCentral to the Chinese concept of change is the idea of return. To go back to the starting point, the origin and the source of ones strength. Much like how plants and animals go dormant during the winter and emerge in the spring, or how we must retire to bed at night, it serves as a reminder to not take progress beyond its natural limits.11.  Yue Lu, Francis Ross. Carpenter, and Demi Hitz, The Classic of Tea (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1974), p.8-9)In fact, the idea of return and origin is so prominent within the Chinese culture that it is often celebrated and is a point of pride that extends beyond generations. My brother and I for example, were born and raised in Hong Kong, and consider it to be our home. But like most families from Hong Kong, my grandparents were immigrants from China Chinese New Year / China / 415 millionKumbha Mela / India / 150 millionThanksgiving - New Year / USA / 115.6 millionArba’een Pilgrimage / Iraq / 21 millionHajj / Saudi Arabia / 2.5 millionthat took refuge in Hong Kong during the cultural revolution. Yet despite never having visited our hometown, it is a very strong part of our identity. In fact when I meet other Chinese people, a common question would be “where in China are you from?” (not to be confused with “where are you from?”) despite knowing the fact that neither of us have actually lived in China. By knowing our roots we build an “intergenerational self,” something stronger and much more resilient than just one individual. It is likened to the Chinese proverb 「 一根筷子容易折, 一把筷子難折斷 」, “one chopstick by itself is easy to break, a bunch of chopsticks is much harder”. Furthermore, in Chinese culture these bonds often extend past the family, and to those with the same hometown. The saying “ 家己人 (ga gi nang)” in our Teochow dialect means our own people, and is used to refer to not only family, but also other people with a Teochow origin. These bonds are integral to working in China, where almost everything, from getting promoted at work to finding concert tickets is hugely affected by 關係 (guanxi), or connections. In addition, reflecting on our roots is a humble reminder that we are only a part of what came before us. Thus, understanding our roots and maintaining our relationships are vital for both the future of our mental and physical needs. This explains why Chinese New Year, a festival that not only celebrates the beginning of a new year, but also a time to travel back home to pay our respects is considered the most important holiday in China. 8382Beijing北京【【Shanghai上海【【Hong Kong香港【【8584Problems of translationPart of our problem in understanding each other is due to the problem of translation. Take Chinese and English for example, even the basic structure between the two languages is fundamentally different. I however, am not a linguist, but nonetheless I will make a cursory attempt at explaining this. In Chinese, each word has its own meaning, or in some cases multiple meanings, and can be used on its own. When two or more characters are combined, the meaning of each individual character is combined to make a new concept. Take for example the word 自然 (ziran) or commonly translated as nature, is comprised of two characters, 自 (zi), meaning self, and 然 (ran), meaning being. Thus the word 自然 is more accurately translated as self so, or “according to their own, inner nature”.1 Therefore, where the word nature in English contradicts man-made, 自然 or self so does not distinguish between what is naturally made from what is man-made. This of course causes a multitude of problems during translation. It is much easier to just standardize the translation process and assign each Chinese word to the closest English one. Thus, many Chinese words have lost much of their original meaning through translation. There are times however, where certain words just don’t exist in other languages. These words tend to be ones that are intangible and harder to explain in physical terms. My favourite example is the word 緣份 (yuanfen). If I were to plug 緣份 into google translate, it would be translated as fate. However if you translate fate into Chinese you get 命運 (mingyun). 命 (ming) meaning life, and 運 (yun) meaning luck, so essentially your luck in life, thisis a much closer translation. So what is yuanfen? 1. Christiane Kruse, Ziran, Nature: Art, Nature, and Ethics (Berlin: Sternberg Press, 2015), p.10)Unfortunately it is very difficult to translate each character into English as the characters individually do not allude to a complete definition of the word. I will instead talk about it in terms a stream: 緣 (yuan) is like the stream that flows in front of you, if you walk past the stream everyday to work or happen to live next to it, your 緣 (yuan) with the streamruns deeps; 份 (fen) is like taking a scoop out of that stream because you are thirsty, it is your action, whether intentional or not. 緣份 (yuanfen) can be used to describe a relationship between people or things. You and your friends have both 緣 (yuan) and 份 (fen), whereas you may walk past a stranger on the street everyday but never interact, therefore you and the stranger have 緣 (yuan) but no 份 (fen). Herein lies the problem of translation, some words such as 緣份 (yuanfen) simply cannot be summed up into one word in English. And when it does, it often loses much of its meaning or ends up sounding kitsch and flat. The question now is, can we find an alternate medium that can transmit ideas on a universal level? 8786語言 吾+ =sayspeaktalkwordImylanguagespokenspeechtell語 手語手 + =clutchhandholdlanguagespokenspeechtellsign language語 俗語俗 + =customvulgarlanguagespokenspeechtellcolloquialism語 非語非 + =notun-non-languagespokenspeechtellnon-verbal氣 語氣語 + =languagespokenspeechtellgasairenergy weatherodortone of voice語 英語英 + =englishherobraveBritianflowerlanguagespokenspeechtell語言 吾+ =sayspeaktalkwordImylanguagespokenspeechtell語 手語手 + =clutchhandholdlanguagespokenspeechtellsign language語 俗語俗 + =customvulgarlanguagespokenspeechtellcolloquialism語 非語非 + =notun-non-languagespokenspeechtellnon-verbal氣 語氣語 + =languagespokenspeechtellgasairenergy weatherodortone of voice語 英語英 + =englishherobraveBritianflowerlanguagespokenspeechtell8988The tearoom is the most formal of the three tea establishments. It is a place to contemplate and reflect.    Seven stones reflect the seven rooms.        The tearoomKungfu TeaKung fu cha, literally meaning tea made with a lot of effort and skill. Was a technique that originated in Chaozhou. The steps vary from 9 step tea ceremony to an elaborate 21 step ceremony. The tea soup is served in small cups and is much stronger than regular steeped tea. 9190   The tearoom is neither in the bamboo grove, nor in the concrete structure, it is in both.    Once again swallowed by the concrete walls, you emerge.9392The Visit9594Scrolls as a medium have been traditionally used within the Chinese culture as a method of storytelling. As the scroll unravells, so does time and space. This project was intended to be viewed as a digital scroll hosted on a website. The visitor is able to scroll through the landscape and wander (click) into different moments within the project. As there is no singular path through the project, visitors are encouraged to meander (and perhaps get lost) in the landscape and stumble into new spaces (as you would when walking through a garden).  When the visitor is within a scene, they are able to discover different elements within the space by hovering their cursor over certain objects of interest. The following pages show a few snapshots of the website. 97969998101100103102105104107106109108111110113112Drawings115114The MapThe project is broken into three main components: “the gate” “the garden” “the main hall”These three components mirror the progression and experience within a traditional Chinese garden.We see the main hall in the distance, but there is no clear path. We may each find our own path to the building (but I will take us through one such path).117116119118121120The GateThis is the introduction and acknowledgment of “entering” into an alternate space. We are first greeted by a familiar concrete wall, and begin the gradual process of being acquainted with the materials in the village. The floor and wapan wall is made up of broken / repurposed roof tiles / brick from the demolishing of surroundingstructures, and are laid down piece by piece, each is unique, and each having its own place. As we progress we leave the concrete behind123122125124The Garden (spring)We follow a bamboo paved footpath meandering around bushes that have spontaneously sprung up through the cracks of the bamboo slats. The seeds of the plants have been brought in by the soles of our shoes. As we walk they fall between the cracks and struggles towards the single ray of sunlight until parts of the bamboo are cut away to allow for the plants to flourish in the sunlight. The retaining wall acts in a similar way, allowing the cuttings to take root as the bamboo crib deteriorates and returns to the soil and replenishes the plants. We walk along the trunks of the tea trees.127126129128The Garden (summer)The summer rain beats down on us as we stumble onto a makeshift pavilion, or a ting (derrived from the word ting, meaning “to stop”). The farmers share their tea in the shade, using a gai wan to steep their tea. As we leave the tea pavilion, we catch a glimpse of a farmer digging up some tea trees131130133132The Garden (autumn)We watched as they rolled up their bamboo tarps and strung up their lanterns as they welcome the harvest moon. Children play at the heels of their parents as they bustle around the garden, the fall flowers are blooming on the tea trees, giving the tea a gentle floral aroma. There seem to be less trees now, and the path meanders evermore.135134137136The Garden (winter)We have once again found the tiled pavement, as we follow it we see the main hall nestled into the side of the hill. It takes quite while to reach the building despite being so close. The meandering path now winds around the few tea bushs, or I guess now tea trees, that remain and are left to grow on its own.139138141140The Main HallWe follow the paved walkways, dipping in and out of different parts of the tea process, catching glimpses of the villagers between the scaffolds as they rattle the baskets. The smell of tea roasting fills the space as the light filters in through the bamboo partition and catches the leaves tossed into the air as they roast. We take a break at the benches by the path. Once reseted we slip under the brick box, held up only by bamboo poles seemingly too slender and delicate to hold up such a structure, nonetheless, we have built a level of trust with them, as we did walking on the meandering bamboo paths, and along the bamboo crib wall. As we enter the sorting room, we hear a constant buzz of chatter as the villagers sat around the tea leaves, sorting their tea. Looking over a shoulder we couldn’t quite put a finger on how they are being sorted. One villager ushers us to join her, we sit by her side as she explains, suddenly, we start to spot differences in the leaves. We were welcomed to pick out some leaves for the tearoom later143142Stepping up, we walk past the tea labs where multiple tea villages come together to test out new equipment and techniques. These “new” teas are then placed on the menu in the tea house to others to try. The tea house was bustling with people coming and going, they seemed to know the space well. People wandered around different tables, some even came to ours and asked us about our stories. As the day grew, tables spilled out of the tea house, pots of tea and snacks flew out of the kitchen as plates and pots clanked away.145144The TearoomAs we turned back, we discover a tearoom tucked away under the gate. We walked around the wapan wall and find ourselves suddenly sandwiched between the bamboo and the building. As we moved towards the tearoom, we see glimpses of rocks within the grove. 147146We sit in one of the partitioned rooms, feet planted on the forest floor, looking out at the bamboo grove. In front of us lay three rocks, remaining unmoved in the midst of movement. At times they hid behind a growing shoot, only to be exposed as the bamboo matures and is harvested. We quietly observed the tea ceremony as she pours the tea gracefully into the various cups, with the bamboo rustling behind her. Once it was done, she walks away and leaves us with our thoughts.149148We finished our tea in silence, once done, we slowly stood up, and walked towards the stairs. Once again the concrete embraces us as we reach the gate and step out.151150The Village (Chinese New Year)Drawings of a similar village were made using information from interviews and photographs. The following drawings are snapshots of a household / the village at different times during the year.153152155154157156159158The Village (Tomb Sweeping Festival)During this festival, people from the city return home to pay their respects to their ancestors. Paper offerings are burnt and food is brought up to the graves in the mountains. The food is later brought back to the house to be consumed for dinner.161160163162165164167166The Village (Mid Autumn Festival)Mid autumn festival was perhaps my favourite festival growing up. Children played with lanturns, ate mooncakes, and paid tribute to the moon. 169168171170173172175174Bain, Marc. “The Meteoric Rise of Chinese Consumerism Will Reshape the World, and Maybe Even Destroy It.” Quartz. Quartz, June 4, 2017. https://qz.com/994345/the-meteoric-rise-of-chinese-consumerism-will-reshape-the-world-and-maybe-even-destroy-it/.Benedict, Ruth. Chrysanthemum and the Sword: Patterns of Japanese Culture. S.l.: Albatross  Publishers, 2019.Bernard, Kristine. “Top 10 Coffee Consuming Nations.” WorldAtlas. WorldAtlas, March 17, 2015. https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/top-10-coffee-consuming-nations.html.Billioud Sébastien. The Varieties of Confucian Experience: Documenting a Grassroots Revival of Tradition. Leiden: Brill, 2018.Biran, Michal. The Non-Han Dynasties. Oxford: Willey Blackwell, 2017.Blofeld, John. I Ching The Book of Change. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1965.Branzi, Andrea. Weak and Diffuse Modernity: the World of Projects at the Beginning of the 21st Century. Milan: Skira editore, 2006.Buswell, Robert E., and Donald S. Lopez. The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2014.Carrico, Kevin. “The Great Han.” University of California Press. Accessed May 1, 2020. https://www.ucpress.edu/book/9780520295506/the-great-han.CBS News. “China Embraces Coffee Culture Craze, Thanks to Millennials.” CBS News. CBS Interactive, June 6, 2018. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/china-coffee-craze-millennials-embracing-culture/.Chang, Kaiso, and Margarita Brattlof. “Socio-Economic Implications of Climate Change for Tea Producing Countries.” Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2015. http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4482e.pdf%20(31-10-2019,%204Cua, A. S. Encyclopedia of Chinese Philosophy. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis, 2013.Fibicher, Bernhard, and Matthias Frehner. Mahjong: Contemporary Chinese Art from the Sigg Collection. Ostfildern-Ruit: Hatje Cantz, 2005. Fresco, Louise. “We Need to Feed the Whole World.” TED, February 2009. https://www.ted.com/talks/louise_fresco_we_need_to_feed_the_whole_world?language=en.Heller, Chaia. Ecology of Everyday Life: Rethinking the Desire for Nature. Montréal: Black Rose, 1999.Huang, Yasheng. “OECD Global Forum on International Investment.” Accessed May 1, 2020. https://www.oecd.org/daf/inv/investmentstatisticsandanalysis/2421544.pdf.Hulme, Alison. Changing Landscape of Chinas Consumerism. Oxford: CHANDOS PUB LTD, 2017.Ji, Cheng, and Alison Hardie. The Craft of Gardens. New York: Better Link Press, 2012.Koolhaas, Rem, and Julius Wiedemann. Countryside, a Report Countryside in Your Pocket! Köln: TASCHEN GmbH, 2020.Kruse, Christiane. Ziran, Nature: Art, Nature, and Ethics. Berlin: Sternberg Press, 2015.Legge, James. Li Chi: Book of Rites: an Encyclopedia of Ancient Ceremonial Usages, Religious Creeds, and Social Institutions. Charleston, SC: Forgotten Books, 2008.Lin, Diana. “Excerpts Related to the ‘Pan Xiao’ Discussion on the Meaning of Life.” The Path of Life: Why Is It More Narrow?, May 1980. http://chinasince1644.cheng-tsui.com/sites/chinasince1644.cheng-tsui.com/files/upload/16-3.pdf.Lu, Yue, Francis Ross. Carpenter, and Demi Hitz. The Classic of Tea. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1974.Marquis, Chris, and Zoe Yang. “Learning the Hard Way: Why Foreign Companies That Fail in China Haven’t Really Failed.” Accessed April 30, 2020. https://ecommons.cornell.edu/bitstream/handle/1813/40209/Failures_CPR.pdf?sequence=4.Okakura Kakuzo. The Book of Tea: Japanese Harmony of Tea Culture & the Simple Life, 1919.Parker, Scott F., and Michael W. Austin. Coffee: Grounds for Debate. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011.“Phoenix Dan Cong Oolong 鳳凰単叢烏龍 : Oolong Tea : HOJO TEA.” 日本語サイトへ. Accessed December 23, 2020. https://hojotea.com/item_e/phoenix_e.htm.Post-Mao Era 1976-1989. Accessed May 1, 2020. http://www.chinaonlinemuseum.com/history-post-mao-era.php.Pronk, Michael. “Successful Foreign Companies in China.” 1421 Consulting Group, October 2, 2019. https://www.1421.consulting/2018/06/successful-foreign-companies-in-china/.Richter, Felix. “Infographic: China Is the World’s Manufacturing Superpower.” Statista Infographics, February 18, 2020. https://www.statista.com/chart/20858/top-10-countries-by-share-of-global-manufacturing-output/.Sandel, Michael J., Paul J.. DAmbrosio, and Evan Osnos. Encountering China: Michael Sandel and Chinese Philosophy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2018.“Spectacular Rise of China’s Intelligent Manufacturing amid Reform and Opening-up Trend-Setting Plant of GAC NE.” Spectacular Rise of China’s Intelligent Manufacturing amid Reform and Opening-up Trend-setting Plant of GAC NE | Business Wire, December 26, 2018. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20181225005017/en/Spectacular-Rise-of-China%E2%80%99s-Intelligent-Manufacturing-amid-Reform-and-Opening-up-Trend-setting-Plant-of-GAC-NE.Sun, Nikki. “China to Surpass US as World’s Biggest Consumer Market This Year.” Nikkei Asian Review. Nikkei Asian Review, January 23, 2019. https://asia.nikkei.com/Economy/China-to-surpass-US-as-world-s-biggest-consumer-market-this-year.“The Evolution Of China’s Coffee Industry.” US, June 28, 2019. https://china.usc.edu/evolution-china%E2%80%99s-coffee-industry.Watson, James L., and Evelyn Sakakida. Rawski. Death Ritual in Late Imperial and Modern China. 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