Journal of South Architecture

Construction of Multisensory Landscape and Integration of Soundscape, Smellscape and Lightscape in Traditional Chinese Gardens



This paper proposes the concept of multisensory landscape construction, pointing out that people’s perception and appreciation of a landscape is a process of overall impression and judgment formed with a combination of visual, auditory, olfactory, tactile, and even thermal and humid sense. Examples can be found in many famous traditional Chinese gardens. Around the West Lake area, there are famous soundscape scenic spots, e.g., Liu Lang Wen Ying (Orioles Singing in the Willows), Nan Ping Evening Bell (Evening Bell Ringing at the Nanping Hill), Zhejiang Qiu Tao (Autumn Wave of Zhejiang), and Jiu Li Song Tao (Wave of Pine Trees Lasts Nine Miles) . There are also some famous lightscape scenic spots, e.g., San Tan Ying Yue (Moon and Candlelight Mirrored in the Lake) and Ping Hu Qiu Yue (Moon over the Peaceful Lake in Autumn) . In terms of smellscape, in addition to the famous scenic spot Qu Yuan Feng He (Curved Yard and Lotus Pool in Summer), the West Lake area is also widely planted with osmanthus and other fragrant plants, forming a smellscape in which "late autumn is fragrant with osmanthus flowers and lotus in bloom for miles and miles." At Humble Administrator Garden, there are soundscape scenic spots such as Wu Zhu You Ju (Secluded Residence among Bamboo Bushes) and Liu Ting Ge (Pavilion to Pause and Listen); there are smellscape scenic spots such as the Orchid Field, the Magnolia Courtyard, the Panicum Pavilion, etc.; lightscape scenic spots such as Liu Ying Ge (Hall of Reflecting Shadows) and Ta Ying Ting (Pavilion of Shadow of Tower) can also be found there. In Chengde Summer Resort, there are soundscape scenic spots such as Wan He Song Feng (Wind of Ten Thousand Ravines and Pines) and lightscape scenic spots such as Xi Ling Chen Xia (Morning Sunset on West Ridge), etc.; smellscape scenic spots such as Qu Shui Hua Xiang (Fragrance of Flowers in the Curved Water) and Yuan Xiang Tang (Hall of Fragrance of Far Away) can also be found.
The above classic cases eloquently prove that the creation of multisensory landscape and the integration of them are the valuable experience in traditional Chinese gardens, which play an important role in the achievement of famous landscape.
Therefore, the design of landscape must pay attention to the creation and integration of soundscape, smellscape and lightscape. Another key point of the theory of multisensory landscape construction is that it is necessary to pay attention to both spatial and temporal dimensions so that the constructed landscape can be enjoyed everywhere and at all time periods. In this regard, the creation of the three-scape (specifically refer to soundscape, smellscape and lightscape) can also highlight their regional and temporal characteristics. By analyzing some classic cases of traditional Chinese gardens, this paper proposes that the construction of multisensory landscape and the integration of soundscape, smellscape and lightscape are the valuable experience in traditional Chinese gardens, which are also important for the achievement of famous landscapes and are excellent traditions that we should vigorously inherit and carry forward.


multisensory landscape construction; soundscape; smellscape; lightscape; Chinese traditional garden

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