This garden is unique. Rustic and asymmetrical at first glance, it was nonetheless created according to rigorous esthetic principles. It is both a place of contrast and harmony. The spatial organization and pavilions' architecture, the selection of plants and minerals, the water and the contrast of yin and yang are all expressions of the secular principles of the Chinese art of landscape design.
Chinese gardens play havoc with perspectives and Western conventions. Their components are laden with great metaphorical meaning. A designer reproduces nature not by imitating it, but rather by interpreting it, by creating a three-dimensional portrait. Shapes and masses are used to achieve contrast and arouse emotion.
The concept of the garden was the work of Le Weizhong, renowned architect and master landscaper and the director, at the time of construction during 1990-1991, of the Shanghai Institute of Landscape Design and Architecture.
The harmony of a Chinese garden is achieved by four major elements: plants, water, stones, and architecture.
The Chinese garden is the fruit of bonds forged between the Parks Department of the City of Shanghai and the Montréal Botanical Garden. The thousands of pieces of material needed to build the garden were shipped from Shanghai to Montréal in some 120 containers. It took 50 Chinese craftsmen to assemble them all in 1990.
The Friendship Hall will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 15, 2014, to September 4, and from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. September 5 to November 2, during the Gardens of Light event.