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Silk Road Show Garden for Chelsea Flower Show 2017

25 May - WSP has provided structural engineering support to Chetwoods Architects to produce the Silk Road Show Garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in London.


Image (c) www.aireyspaces.com

Laurie Chetwood is collaborating with landscape architect Patrick Collins to design a fourth Show Garden for the Triangle Site at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in London.  They have previously won three gold medals for their Show Gardens at Chelsea.

Vote for the Garden here: BBC RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017: People’s Choice Award

The design combines architectural and planting design in a conceptual East-West landscape, with a dramatic ‘Silk Road’ linking the various elements of the garden. The capital of the ancient Shu kingdom 3,000 years ago, since ancient times Chengdu has been known as ‘the Abundant Land’ owing to its fertile soil and favourable climate. The Silk Road Garden reflects this rich history and culture.

The design of the garden takes full advantage of the multiple viewpoints that are a unique feature of the Triangle Site in the Chelsea Show Ground.  Using architectural 3-D modelling software more commonly seen in the design of buildings, the structure has been developed as a pre-fabricated modular concept that takes into account the location of a vulnerable mains sewer under the site, and the requirement to construct the garden within a very short time frame on site.

At the heart of the garden the circular symbol of the 3,000 year old Sun and Immortal Bird legend, which is the logo of Chengdu City and Chinese Cultural Heritage, lies on a central theatrical ‘plaza’. From this colourful centrepiece a strong linear ‘Silk Road’ path – with silk woven along its route – runs the length of the garden, representing historic and current East-West collaboration, and referencing the Su-Embroidery masters of Chengdu.

The mountainous landscape of the Sichuan Province is represented by eighteen profiled fins.  These fins are up to six metres high and are constructed from two skins of plywood supported on internal timber frames.  Each frame is designed to resist wind loads by cantilevering from a series of timber rafts hidden beneath the landscaping.  The frames are connected to the timber rafts with steel brackets and the weight of the landscaping acts as a counterweight to prevent the rafts from overturning.  The fins were pre-fabricated for fast assembly on site.  The largest fins were split into two pieces to enable transportation with a half-lap joint devised that provided a splice connection on site.

James Bishop, WSP associate director for structures, said: “We are delighted to have collaborated with Chetwoods once again at the Chelsea Flower Show and it is pleasure to see the large numbers of visitors enjoying the garden which occupies the largest and most prominent site at the show”. 

Notes to editors

For media enquiries please contact Tom Hawkins on 020 7314 4585 / tom.hawkins@wspgroup.com

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