The Roof of Life

architect Diébédo Francis Kéré
written by Miloš Kosec

The English garden is a highly specific, carefully maintained landscape of Paradise. Paradise-like is also the clear boundary that usually conditions it. It does not necessarily take the form of a mighty defensive wall guarded by cherubs wielding fiery swords as in the Bible; cast iron railings and locks on gates usually suffice. They are characteristic not only of private gardens but also of public parks with their carefully specified and controlled opening hours. It is as if a strict delineation and temporal control of these key public institutions is also a precondition for their free access and availability to all. This is perhaps why in the last three hundred years English gardens became vital spaces of architectural experiments and bizarre eccentricities, of playful tests and picturesque installations.