Fin Garden is the paragon of ancient Persian Gardens. Founded by Shah Abbas between the end of the 16th century and the beginning of the 17th century the garden was one of a series designed at that time. Fin is situated six kilometres west of Kashan, in the province of Isfahan. It is structured similarly to the palatial gardens of the Middle Ages, a perimeter wall with four control towers encloses a highly organised system of prominent walkways, kiosks, waterways and pools.
The planning of Persian gardens derived from the careful consideration of environmental conditions and performative criteria. The gardens founded on the edge of cities as well as in deserts were strategically positioned at the point where underground water springs came to the surface. Intricate schemes were subsequently developed to determine the position of the spring and then control the flow and distribution of the water once it was found. These schemes were manifested in the geometric arrangement and organisation of planting, waterways and avenues. The geometric layout and design of the gardens has largely been governed by the intrinsic need to modulate temperatures and levels of exposure to direct sunlight in order to create verdant landscapes in an arid and harsh climate. The garden has been laid out using a grid formation with each plot size specifically reflecting the amount of shading required to enable flowers to grow. Trees provide the primary source of shading within the garden, diffusing direct sunlight.
Fin Garden is fed by the Soleymaniye spring. Terraced water courses operate on a slight slope crossing through the garden running into the centre of the kiosk where three water lines converge. The water canals create a multi-purpose system. One of the main functions is to provide irrigation to the plants and vegetation within the garden. Another principal function is to form cool microclimates within areas subjected to extremely high temperatures and dry conditions. The central kiosk plays a large part in the modulation of the surrounding landscape. The porous design of the kiosk along with the 45° orientation of the garden towards the southeast optimizes the amount of natural ventilation able to pass through the site. The two-storey kiosk essentially acts as a large wind catcher. The first floor of the kiosk ventilates the warm air, while cool breezes pass through the lower level. The orientation of the kiosk and its openings affects the pressure and speed of the wind as it travels through the garden. Due to the wind direction blowing from the west to the east, the west-facing facade receives high pressure winds, with the east consequently receiving low-pressure wind forces. These pressure differences enable an abundance of air movement to flow through the kiosk. The pressure of the wind decreases at it enters the central area of the kiosk, which is relatively open, and continues to decrease as it filters off into the surrounding rooms. The heightened level of ventilation combined with the arrangement of small fountains and waterways enable an evaporative cooling process to happen, which is created by wind passing over the surface of the water. The cooling effect provides a comfortable internal environment within the kiosk.
In the case of Fin Garden and other similar gardens, architecture has been used to enhance and work in correlation with natural elements to provide environments and landscapes which perform climatically, enabling an otherwise unfeasible reality to occur. Digital tools have provided precise environmental analysis of wind speeds and pressures as well as thermal radiation levels. These results give an important insight into the dynamics and reasoning behind the structuring and use of particular typologies and layouts and the bonnets that can be obtained through the use of passive solutions.
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