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OUTLINE : Team VIA develops a symbiotic relationship between modernization and nature to complement and transform the ordinary into the extraordinary. This is achieved through the concept of negative spaces. Negative space, by simple definition, is space that has no mass: Circulation paths, wall openings, open spaces in gardens, anything that cannot be physically touched. Yet, it is a "touchy-feely" type of space, one that is warm, inviting, and embracing.

The site is situated in a vast natural setting among diverse and unique ecological environments. The initial design concept is created by the natural progression of negative spaces, how it evolves, ebbs, and flows. It is the vitality of the design concept. It is similar to the way in which the earth is pushed outward to become a mountain, how wind and water changes the landscape, sculpting out rivers, carving canyon walls, and shaping coral reefs. This is an analogical study of such occurrences - finding the least resistance in the natural path and progression through negative spaces.

This writing focuses initially on the main area, the botanical garden arrival area. This arrival area sits on a plateau, and the land slopes down southeastwardly toward the sea. This is the chosen area for the botanical garden entryway, the front gate to the gardens. As with any gateway, a distinct definition of what is contained, such as the botanical garden, and what is exposed, are differentiated. Team VIA will illustrate how the areas are refined and redefined by the use of negative spaces in site-specific analogies.

Elements that need to be within the confines should be adjacent to its related venue. This may include the laboratory, visitor center, Kenting Forest Bureau offices, and so forth, the quorum of the contained side. The exposed side, the public side, may include shops, lodgings, eateries, parking, and other support areas that add vibrancy to the project.

How do these contained and exposed elements work with each other? This is where the study truly begins. The negative spaces allow the elements, both natural and man-made, to work together as a symbiotic system. Much like the way indigenous cultures are one with their environment and are refined over time, the negative spaces are the entities that provide vitality, cohesion and adhesion to this area.

The analogy of how wind, water, and earth play significant roles in shaping and refining natural negative spaces, may be applied to the project. Imagine observing the plateau as a tablet as it undergoes its evolution, gradually changing its shape, pattern, and functions. In this case other forces include the scientific and economic forces that encourage research and ecotourism alike, as well as the development of man-made structures. See the design concept sketches below. Negative spaces carved out are the major circulation pathways for pedestrians, sightlines, grand plaza, intimate courtyards, vista points, meandering in-between points-of-interest, and destination nodes. The distance between each of these locations will be calculated so that it will not overwhelm visitors, and designed to whet the visitor's appetite and entice them to seek the next point-of-interest or node. Together, these negative spaces link the visitors' symbiotic experiences at the Hengchun Peninsula project in the Kenting National Park.