Project Date: 2019
Location: NYC Center for Architecture
A method for designing architecture, Topiary Tango responds
to ever-changing contexts and grants people the agency to instigate that change
with a little help from topiary. The project began as a research project funded
by the Center for Architecture’s Stewardson Keefe Lebrun travel grant. I travelled
for four months across Europe, visiting famous topiary gardens in Italy,
France, and the United Kingdom. The research was exhibited a year later at the New York Center for Architecture.
What is topiary?
It is the horticultural practice of training perennial
plants into shapes. This forgiving art opens up opportunities for gardening newcomers
and veterans alike to influence architecture-scaled mass without extensive tools
or planning. Whether it’s straightening edges or fashioning peacocks, all a
project needs are a set of shears and a vision
Topiary is volumetric. It can be used to wrap objects and obscure their original forms with new
geometries. A cube surrounded by topiary can be disguised as a sphere or an
obelisk; meanwhile a sphere and an obelisk can be masquerading as two identical
Buildings wrapped in topiary become soft, undulating,
reactive bodies with a verdant veil. Topiary breathes new life into an otherwise
Topiary is scale-less.
Topiary sizes range from table-toppers to towering trees;
their figuration is infinate and can be applied to architecture. When wrapped
in topiary, a building’s inner architecture can fulfill its functional duties, while
the perennial exterior adapts to external stimuli.
Looking for a view? Cut a
Feeling fancy? Colonnade a court.
Enhanced by topiary, architecture could
be influenced by the most rudimentary manner of creation: snipping with