Hemisphere Rocker

Collaborators: Daniel Xu

Role: Landscape Architect

Status: 2015 Jardins de Métis International Garden Festival Competition Entry

Location: Québec, Canada


At different times, each of us may find joy in play, in nature, or in companionship. It is the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; elation. Our proposal seeks to create a vibrant and intriguing public space where visitors can experience joy in each of those three ways. The happier you feel in a space, the longer you stay.

We also hope Hemispheric Rock can remind people of the importance of human interactions as we become more dependent on our digital gadgets. While serendipity cannot be forced, we attempt to create spaces that bring pleasant surprises through people’s interactions with nature and social interactions among themselves. 


The garden consists of 6 hemispherical planters designed to provide aesthetic pleasure and resting support to the garden visitors. The planters, located on the edge of the woods, are filled with selected plants. The round bottom of the planters makes them swing up and down as different people sit on them. They tilt, turn and rock, which can only reach equilibrium by a balanced weight on all sides. They are like rocking chairs in the woods. These dynamics and the sense of sharing are designed to make the experience more fun and to promote interactions among visitors.

The installation will be located along the east-west axis, partially shaded by forest canopies. Their exact placement will be determined by the sun and shade distribution of the selected site paired with plant preferences. Each planter has a theme, featuring the cultivated beauty and naturalist wilderness from the garden and the forest. The characters of these plantings will be emphasized through encounters with the planters. As Reford Gardens is described as “a plantsman’s cabinet of curiosities”, Hemisphere Rocker tries to renew that curiosity by creating new ways of displaying the plantings.

We wish to create a garden where visitors can encounter one another without pressure or pretense. They are free to play, to rock with friends, to laugh with family, and to spin and to let go.

Plant List

Allium Giganteum | Giant Globe Allium
Aquilegia caerulea ‘Music Blue & White’  | Columbine
Arabis caucasica | Wall Rock Cress
Astrantia major | Great Masterwort
Delphinium ‘Blue Bird’ | Pacific Giant Delphinium
Equisetum pratense | Meadow Horsetail
Geum triflorum | Prairie Smoke
Gypsophila paniculata | Baby’s Breath
Juncus effusus ‘Unicorn’ | Unicorn Rush
Lilium regale | Regal Lily
Matteuccia struthiopteris | Ostrich Fern
Molinia sp. | Moor Grass
Paeonia ‘Avant Garde’ | Peony
Paeonia lactiflora | Chinese Peony
Papaver orientale | Oriental Poppy
Petroselinum crispum | Garden Parsley
Rhus typhina |  Staghorn Sumac
Rosmarinus officinalis | Rosemary
Sagina subulata | Irish Moss
Salvia officinalis | Garden Sage
Stachys byzantina | Lamb’s Ear
Thymus serpyllum | Wild Thyme
Veronica spicata ‘Blue Fox’ | Blue Fox Speedwell

Design Concept for 2017 Boston Architecture Expo Installation Competition Using Hemphisphere Rocker as An Site Element