International Garden Festival 2020

Augmented Grounds is a landscape installation project proposed and constructed for the InternationalGarden Festival 2020 at the Jardins de Metis/ Reford Gardens in the Gaspesie region of Quebec,Canada. The proposal considers the history of Metissages culture in the region, using a generativealgorithmic design method and Augmented Fabrication technique to provide playful and spacialexperiences.

The project is built during the pandemic Corona-19 outbreak. Despite the difficulties, our teamintroduced a cloud-based digital twin communication platform, together with AR technology, smoothlygo about the distanced communication problem.

Augmented Grounds is a winning competition entry of the International Garden Festival 2020. It is alandscape design installation, located in the Métis garden, Prince, Quebeck, Canada, completed itsconstruction in July 2020. The design is inspired by traditional Métis sash and the proposal uniquelycombines technologies in its making process which was highly evaluated by the competition juries. The project utilized Augmented Reality and cloud based digital twin communication platforms in orderto realize the construction during the pandemic. The project celebrates the fast and intuitivecommunication

between designer and maker, utilizing the digitally augmented human labours craftingthe delicate material on site by wearing AR Lenses. At the same time, a globally assembled team ofdesigners were able to review the construction process through a cloud based digital twin of theconstruction site, being able to intuitively supervise the construction process from far distance andpass on knowledge and guidance to local crews efficiently. This enabled the global team of designersand makers to be able to work together simultaneously in distance during the design and constructionprocess.

The installation also celebrates human craftsmanship. We chose to use colorful rope inspired by thecolours and history of the traditional Métis sash, the Augmented Grounds garden takes visitorsthrough a playful and colourful rope display of topography that reflects the pride of Métis culture andidentity. In the garden, visitors can walk along the colorful contours of ropes, sit and lie down on thecoiled seating, or run up and down on the mounds and the pools.

This garden is the Métissage of cultural pride and innovation. The Métis sash is traditionally madewith the art of finger weaving, and draped across one’s shoulder or tied around the waist. TheAugmented Grounds garden represents the Sash through colourful ropes made of twisted fibres thatare tightly laid on top of the terrain to create a landscape of contours that reflects the different depthsof Métis history represented on the sash. While the experience of the installation being highlyanalogue, the construction process of this topographic terrain contributes to a new innovative practiceof garden design by introducing smart construction technology using augmented reality. As thegeometry is generated based on a mathematical algorithm, the combination of traditional materialityand mathematical form surrounded by the beautiful forest of Reford Garden provides a uniqueexperience for visitors to truly experience the product of collaboration between human, computer nature.

About the team

The team consists of architects and landscape architects, experts in design research and practice,interested in exploring harmonious ecology of human, computer and machine. Currently focusing onways of constructing computationally generated complex forms by augmented human builders –augmented by AR devices or wearables etc. – to develop unique construction processes that can notbe done by pure automation nor by pure human labour. During pursuing various expertise in their fieldindividually in both academia and practice, the team collaborates for various projects such as designworkshops, research papers and competitions to pursue their research agenda.

Post Pandemic

The hit of pandemic alarmed humanity to re-think about the modes of working and communicationwhich will inevitably facilitate the change in the way we shape our physical spaces in the near future.

Our future office may just be wherever we have an internet connected. Many thinkers are alreadyseeing the impact of this, some think it might mean the end of office space, working from anywhereand everywhere will be predominantly the modes of future work. This also challenges the architecturediscipline and construction industry, urging us to propose new modes of production that can immediately adapt to ever changing society an d industry. Architects are facing challenges on the wayto adapt Intuitive communication methods and technologies into design and making process.

To challenge this idea, Augmented Grounds frontiered in this experimentation. The installation wasbuilt through a manual crafting process by augmented human builders who were wearing AugmentedReality devices. The data projected in the AR device was provided by the remote design team whohave been constantly reviewing the construction site remotely online through a cloud based digitaltwin of the construction site. This exemplifies the future way of working and collaborating fromdistance, provides as a good use case of the existing technologies and at the same time pushes andchallenges the technologies in this industry.