Bridges of Friendship Garden
A garden embedding ideas from maths and computer science
As part of the landscaping for the Jack Erskine building (constructed in 1998), and to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the sister city relationship between Christchurch and Kurashiki at the time, the university constructed this unique garden. The garden was conceptualised by Professor Tadao (Tad) Takaoka (1943 - 2017), and a plaque in the garden commemorates his connection with it.
The structure of the garden embodies modern ideas from computer science and mathematics, but the idea comes from the Oriental "Scholar's garden": crossing a bridge symbolises leaving day-to-day cares behind as the scholar focuses on more academic matters. The "Bridges of Friendship" also represent the many relationships surrounding a university: international links, links to industry, between staff and students, and between the university and the local community.
The symbolism is made particularly strong because the garden was made possible by generous sponsorship from local industry; each of the following companies sponsored one of the bridges: Business Computers Ltd., iTec, Magnum Mac, Sun Microsystems, Tait Communications, Trimble Navigation.
The garden was designed by Architectus, who had designed the Mathematics and Statistics/Computer Science building.
The 25th anniversary of the garden (and therefore the 50th anniversary of the sister city relationship) was celebrated in 2023, with the announcement of an indoor garden space that would be a reflection of the outdoor garden, designed to be a space where staff and students could relax, particularly in winter when the outdoor garden isn’t so suitable.
- The paths and bridges embody the famous Königsberg bridges problem.
- The smaller island has a stone lantern that was donated by Kurashiki City, Japan, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the sister city relationship between Christchurch and Kurashiki.
- The larger island contains a parallel sorting network.
- The smaller island contains a solution to the eight queens problem.
- The garden is a joint project of the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering and the Department of Mathematics and Statistics.
Contact: Tim Bell