"When I first saw the artist's impressions of Atelier Jean Nouvel's One Central Park back in 2008, I wondered how possible it was to build these buildings. While I found the impressions to be a vague and noncommittal, I was impressed by the generous walls of lush vegetation. These towering hanging gardens reminded me of mountains... what a bold gesture to make! Now that Nouvelle's buildings have become a reality and are nearing completion, I can see how some of the buildings are meeting up to the artist's impressions. As the green walls are planted and begin to grow, the drabness of the urban surroundings are being revitalised by nature. This is exciting... how far can we go?
I love the city, and I love buildings, but I do wonder how far developers will go to impress their markets. While I am interested in developing better understandings of our relationship with land, and in particular, how the city responds to nature, I constantly experience the dichotomy of the urban and nature. I am drawn to the power and beauty of nature, and yet I love the city, just as more and more of the planet’s population does. But in order for cities to survive, and arguably, humanity, we need to listen to and learn from nature. I hope that Nouvel's One Central Park stands as a creative example of how city buildings and nature can come together, and I hope that the building and it's hanging gardens stand up to the test of time.
My painting 'Let's try to build mountains' is a warning - we must be careful as we attempt to build bigger, bolder and better, and it cannot just be about impressing people. We must think and design creatively and sustainably." - Mark Gerada.
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