January 20 2014

To influence our designs, the Gunn team is continually finding inspiration in unexpected places, countless aesthetics, and different cultures. So when our intern Jaeyoon Kong offered to present to the office a lesson on the traditional gardens of her home country of South Korea, we were thrilled by the opportunity to absorb her unique perspective of landscape architecture. 

While many of the traditional projects she presented to us, including the Ocryu stream and Gyeongbok Palace, seemed in stark contrast to our firm’s clean and modern aesthetic, it was interesting to note the overlap in design approach. Along with cultural ideology, religion and philosophy (Confucianism, Buddhism, Pungsu Jiri), Jaeyoon spoke of a fundamental respect for the principals of nature. Instead of approaching a site with a foreign or irrelevant concept already in place, Korean gardens, and Gunn’s gardens, utilize the inherent conditions, including topography, soil condition, natural water elements, etc., to lend unique, and site-specific qualities to the design. Existing ‘scenery’ often finds its way into the construction and design. An impressive landscape or city skyline might lend itself to a window or frame within which to sit and absorb the scenery, topographical slopes may become a tiered perennial garden, or an existing stream might give way to exaggerated and lush marshland plantings.  

Thanks, Jaeyoon, for your hard work and willingness to share a bit of your culture with our office!