Water Garden . Tochigi

© Nikissimo Inc.


Botanical Farm Garden Art first winner of the Obel Award.

At the foot of Mount Nasu in Tochigi, a prefecture north of Tokyo, lies a garden of serene beauty.

The new Botanical Farm Garden Art Biotop is an outdoor extension of the existing Art Biotop Nasu, a resort that offers courses in pottery, glass making, and other artistic activities.

Earlier, the site was a paddy field; earlier still, a forest overgrown with moss. Traces of the site’s history remains, such as a sluice gate to draw water.

The site of the new hotel was a forest, where many trees would be cut down due to construction. Because the total area of the forest site and that of the meadow site were nearly the same, Junya Ishigami proposed to relocate the entire forest to the adjacent meadow. Through this act, the meadow site is transformed not only by moving the forest, but also by superimposing all the layers from past environments in the site’s history: the landscape of the paddy field and the landscape of the mossy forest are overlapped as one. Trees from the adjacent forest are rearranged on the site, and water is drawn in from the existing sluice gate to fill countless ponds, all connected to the existing irrigation system with water flowing continuously at different rates. The ponds and trees spread across the entire site at a close density never found within nature, with moss laid out beautifully to fill the spaces in between.

With this new mossy forest of innumerable trees and limitless ponds, a new nature never before seen appears on the site.