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South Forbes Gardens a la Francaise

Philippine Star
Updated December 17, 2010 12:00 AM

South Forbes Châteaux de ParisMANILA, Philippines – The French formal garden, also called jardin à la française, is a style of garden based on symmetry and the principle of imposing order over nature. It reached its peak in the 17th century with the creation of the Gardens of Versailles, designed for Louis XIV by the landscape architect André Le Nôtre. The style was widely copied by other courts of Europe.

Now, in the Philippines, South Forbes Golf City, the country’s largest fully-integrated and all-themed golf resort city at the forefront of the Metro Sta. Rosa – Tagaytay corridor, takes inspiration from the great gardens of the French capital and gives life to it through Châteaux de Paris.

Entrée. It’s fabulously French right away beginning nowhere else but at the main gate of Châteaux de Paris. Cobblestone paving, formal rows of trees, a feature wall along the approach lay-by, and wrought iron gates immediately signify a strong, dramatic French-inspired enclave. At the center are a fountain and a high-pitched roof that makes up the guardhouse while modern walkways, details derived from the façade of the Châteaux de Paris Clubhouse, frame the entrance.

Centre. Located at the center of the whole development, where the two major avenues intersect, is the goose-foot, or the focal point. Within the Grand Garden is the clock tower that serves as the identifying mark for the community. Surrounded by green open spaces for seating, walking, and gathering, allées or alleys bordered by trees or clipped hedges for easy access from homes and other gardens, and reflection ponds, this circular park is undeniably French.

Est. Sociable residents will love meeting with friends and neighbors at The Green Hall which is dotted with informal groupings of trees and unobstructed open lawns that serve as multi-purpose spaces for gatherings, recreation, and play. A fountain and water basin against a feature wall lends a cool, refreshing feeling as does the relaxing sight and scent of grass.

Sud. As French outdoor theatres were common in gardens during the 18th century, it now serves as the theme for The Theatre. At the center is a dais or elevated platform with a fountain and feature wall from which radial paving patterns originate, forming a fan-shaped plaza. This is the stage area where neighborhood performances and shows can be held.

Nord. The domed Pavilion is the centerpiece of this garden, set in the middle of the plaza and the terminus of the northern allée from The Grand Garden which is accentuated by formal rows of trees together with planters and plinths. This is a classic park with seat walls and benches where residents can read a book under the shade of a tree or perhaps doze off on a lazy afternoon.

Ouest. During the 18th century, the orange was regarded as a rare exotic fruit that came all the way from East Asia, then called the Chinese apple, and now, the orange. At Châteaux de Paris, L’Orangerie will be an orchard of our native dayap. Arranged in a geometric grid, the orchard not only serves as a source of citrus fruits but also provides a rustic, rural agricultural setting for residents and visitors. Harvest season will surely be a great inter-generational activity or community event, within the family and among neighbors.

Le Château Principal. Viewing the Clubhouse from the main avenue gives an impression of grandeur and elegance similar to the French palaces such as Versailles. On the approach, a huge and elaborate garden, a palette of flowering plants seemingly embroidered on the grounds, is a most fitting welcome to all visitors. Much like the old European castles, the recently-completed Clubhouse is surrounded by a moat of reflection pools that extend to the 25-meter lap swimming pool at the rear.

Bravo! Undoubtedly, South Forbes is rightfully the recipient of the Best Golf Community Development by the 2007 CNBC International Property Awards, the world’s most prestigious property awards programme, and, recently, the Highly Commended Award for Best Development by the 2010 Bloomberg Asia-Pacific Residential Award.

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