Santa Claus' Planetary Garden
The Unbelievable Challenge Competition, 2014 Honorable Mention
El Hadi Jazairy + Rania Ghosn
Kelly Koh, Chen Lu
“Clothes maketh not the man.” Santa Claus has decided to quit his job and trade his red-and-white attire and gallivanting around the world selling hyper-sugared carbonated refreshments for the costume and life of a planetary gardener. His logistic center for goods and toys will instead resemble a botanical garden dedicated to the collection, cultivation and distribution of plants from various climatic regions of the Planet. From his new adventures, Santa Claus will bring back stories of plants: tropical plants with large leaves to capture light, trees with lush fruits to attract animals, plants adapting to seasonal flooding, aromatic shrubs surviving in poor soils, cacti with defensive mechanisms against thirsty animal. He will share his sample collection with the people of Finland and encourage them to come with their families and friends to discover the world in open-air and sheltered theatrical and musical performances. He will work with scientific and artistic units from the university to document, classify and display all plant varieties and cultivars. Once a year, he will travel the world and offer plants to children hoping to create an awareness of the threat to ecosystems from human development. It is up to humans to organize their territory and life, to consume without defacing, produce without depleting, to live without destroying.
The Santa Claus Planetary Garden tells the tale of a global gardener who acts in the name and in the interest of the Planet. The project proposes to shift the focus of the program from the logistic center to the botanical garden, rethinking the relation of humans with their environment. The Santa Claus Planetary Garden is a political project based on ecological humanism, emphasizing the diversity of species on the Planet and the role of humans in husbanding it. It reveals the delicate nature of the planetary biomass epitomizing the fragility of life on Earth. The word “garden” comes from Germanic "Garten", which signifies enclosure. Historically the garden has been the place to produce the "best:" the best fruits, best flowers, best vegetables, best trees, better living conditions, better thoughts ... The Santa Claus Planetary Garden is the place for the collection of all varieties of plants and stories produced by geographies and cultures.
"Together, let us assume that the Earth is one small garden." This statement by the Landscape Architect Gilles Clément radically alters the relationship of humans to the environment. By encompassing in its vision the entire Planet - a fragile, autonomous enclosure – the proposal calls for the utopia of a world protecting its beauty, health and potential for future generations.