Architecture Malaysia Issue 1 | 2019
Edible Park is a five acre edible landscape and platform for cultivating community around sustainable living values situated in the business district of Medini City, Iskandar Puteri. It is part of a larger initiative of a series of boutique urban parks titled Medini Green Parks, designed around sustainable principles and current thinking in urban green space.
Two pavillion buildings, the Studio and Cafe, designed by Y.architects, anchor the site inspired by the tropical umbrella with deep overhangs on angled ribs that reach out from the core structures. The buildings are designed to accommodate the place making activities of social enterprise JOGreen who harness the venue to develop community around new ideas of sustainable living, zero waste management, green entrepreneurship and farm to table dining.
“Climate place and time”, underlies y.architects’ approach with all their work, which resonates with this project’s primary mission to bring people back outside to spend time in nature. Airy and porous, the pavillions deeply connected with the landscaping that climb and circle the structures, provide shade and refuge yet never disconnects the visitors experience with the natural environment that surrounds them. The landscape design by Chris Parry both intertwines with the buildings and provides the content for the parks narrative of ‘edible’ incorporating a wide array of edible roots, shoots, herbs, flowers and foliage curated into an assortment of edible landscapes: groves, orchards, flower gardens, farm and patios.
Informed by the vernacular of local heritage tropical buildings, the buildings assume contemporary modernity in their material and aesthetic choices of prefabricated steel, stencilled concrete floors and walls that double up as chalkboards for wall murals and cafe menus. The space quickly transforms with roll down blinds, pop up tents and folding chairs to accommodate inclement weather and the swell of visitors on market days and festivals. Fan cooling, rainwater harvesting, LED lighting and solar lit pathways add to the visitors immersion in sustainable features.
The Studio, stands on a low hill with a tower rising out of a flower garden adding to its prominence and visibility from the road circling the site. It’s skeletal nature of metal frame with a skin of wire mesh feels light and sketched into the landscape its volume shifting over time as the creepers mature and flower. Yoga, soap making and nature classes for kids, talks, forums and dance performances are some of the ways this pavilion comes to life.
More nested, almost hidden in tall vegetation of sugar cane, bamboos and ginger plants, the Cafe’s overhangs are further enhanced with a fabric canopy at the front and shade structure at the back. A farm stand with produce from the park’s one acre urban farm and plant based cafe fare are available at weekends with the offering amplified every first Saturday of the month with an additional twenty or so vendors who bring more local, organic, artisanal and handmade offerings.
The site includes a recently completed third building: a washroom, its upturned roof housing a rainwater harvest tank to be hidden by climbers set in a citrus grove and planting selected for fragrance. There are also three small expandable market structures with planted green roofs that line the front of the park expanding the venue space when there are festivals, and a small nursery structure that services the farm. All of the above echo the same architectural language of light frames integrated into the planted landscape.
The park has since its launch in March 2018 quickly captured the interest of an emerging demographic of this new city, a vibrant mix of locals, expatriates, part and full time Singaporeans, tourists and new arrivals from other parts of Malaysia who have found work or homes in this ambitious development. This is not only visitors but also vendors and enterprises that partner in the parks activities.
Medini Iskandar Malaysia Sdn Bhd ("MIM") is the
master planner and master developer of the
2,230-acre urban township Medini, located in the
Central Business District of Iskandar Puteri is
managing and maintaining the Medini Edible Park.
Iskandar Puteri City council (MBIP) is the local
authority which administrates Iskandar Puteri City in
Johor, Malaysia. MBIP is currently the land owner of
Medini Edible Park.
labDNA is the place-making consultant for Iskandar
Puteri, which strategizes the urban development of
public realm and help build communities through
tactical alliances and programming.
JOGREEN is a social enterprise focussed on
cultivating a green and sustainable urban lifestyle.
They currently operate the Edible Park as an edible
landscape and platform for cultivating community
around innovative ideas of sustainable living.