The Nariman Terrace is an ensemble of raised garden terraces, markets featuring vendors from Iromakuanhe settlements and a number of office spaces employed by the Astral Commonwealth for the resident diplomatic mission established on Yamatai at Reikan Park. It is unique in being the first and only Vigil temple outside of Commonwealth territory.
The Nariman Terraces were designed by a comittee of architects, civil engineers and landscape artists selected by the Ministry of Arts and Culture, with members selected from all of the ethnic and cultural groups across Commonwealth territory. Designed to showcase the cultural acheivements and sophistication of Iromakuanhe culture, it would include the functions of a marketplace where rare Iromakuanhe artisan goods could be distributed, gardens and performance areas for them to display their culture and a large library containing translations of classical texts into Nepleslian and Yamataian. The design selected by the comittee was one that reflected some more modern design sensibilities, featuring clean lines and geometric repetitions that would be appealing when viewed from the air.
There was a brief controversy over the usage of the floating structure, both due to the cultural associations with Elysian art and how it put the Commonwealth embassy over the allotted 250 meter limit. It was eventually allowed under the loophole that it qualified as a tethered aircraft rather than a permanent structure, although even those concession stretched both the patience and etiquette of the design cadre and extensive explanations and promises that the structure itself would primarily serve as an observational gondola and educational theater for visiting students. Apocryphal stories about the construction period mention Nepleslian embassy staff spectating on the meeting, later complaining that the Iromakuanhe had cheated in building the tallest structure, and that the diamond was to blame for some of the disagreements between the two factions.1)
The embassy was completed fairly early thanks to extensive use of automated labor and well-organized construction teams, slightly under a year after the spaces were allotted.
The Nariman Terrace is named after Rumi Nariman, a poet and philosopher who composed the Commonwealth's national epic, the Dream of Munarani.
The basic design of the Terraces can be divided into three unique structures, each one repeating the motif of a pyramid. The two basic structures consist of steppe pyramids with each level structured as a spiralling walkway, one sunken into the ground and the other rising up into the sky. The third structure is technically a violation of the 250 meter height limit established by the planning comittee, consisting of a diamond (formed of two smooth pyramids joining eachother at their bases) that floats above the peak of the ascending pyramid. The space between the two structures is interspersed with a sequence of segmented floating walkways that dynamically adjust to allow for a greater or smaller volume of people to tread across.
The grounds at large are a network of gazeboes and walled gardens filled with murals and elaborate diaromas and displays, each reflecting many different aspects of Iromakuanhe culture.
Sellers of street food common to Iromakuanhe pallettes are common in all of the market and terrace areas, including things besides culturally ubiquitous BEST KEBABS carts.
Ascension Terrace winds around the approximately 1 kilometer wide by 1 kilometer long hollow step pyramid that dominates the view of the Iromakuanhe embassy grounds, rising skyward towards an amphiteatre and the moorings for the Nariman Observatory. Its wide spiral walkway made from glossy golden ceramic and adorned with railings of iridescent crystaline glass, with small cable cars running along the inner edge of the paths for quick transport by visitors and residents. The outer edge of the walkable terrace is home to large hanging gardens maintained by the staff and fed by an artificial stream that has its source near the top of the pyramid.
The walkway proper isn't used for any particular activities by the embassy staff, but is the playground for a rotation of performers chosen by the Ministry of Culture to reflect the best in Iroma culture.
The space is heavily decorated with Iromakuanhe-built volumetric displays that allow for quick access to information, the imagery changing to alter the atmosphere for special occasions.
The small amphitheatre that crowns the Ascension Terrace can only seat around a hundred people, with its circular stage resting at the center of three concentric rings of step seats. During performances, hovering drones with acoustic reflectors are used to enhance the natural sound. The theater is a favorite spot of the ambassador when he has to deliver pep talks to the other members of the resident diplomatic mission.
The Ascension Marketplace is a large covered market placed beneath the Ascension Terrace, the lighting variably set to emulate the atmosphere of a dusky Sund Wakir souk or the blue neon of a colonial marketplace. Hand-picked artisans keep small workshops under the marketplace, selling handicrafts, working for comission and demonstrating their craftsmanship for tourists and visitors.
Many embassy staff and cultural representatives live in the luxury apartments under the market, although many prefer heading to Kyoto to shop and spend their downtime for the change of pace.
The Introspection Terraces are a mirror of sorts of the Ascension Terrace, save that it is 500 meter by 500 meter footprint is carved 100 meters downwards into the ground and spirals towards the low center-point. Artificial streams feed down from the Ascension Terrace's zenith and continue to nourish the hanging gardens that drape over the edges of the paths.
The bunkered offices of the embassy proper jut off from around the mid-point of the walkways at around 50 meters, expanding into a relatively modest underground area with a pleasant view of the water gardens at the bottom of the inverted pyramid. The ambassador and other essential staff live in this area, under tighter surveillance and military-grade construction materials to weather any attacks on the compound proper.
A large library open to the public adjoins the embassy offices, with a large collection of translated books and other media from Iromakuanhe culture made available in Abwehran and Nepleslian, Lorath and Yamataian. Expansions are underway to accomodate other cultures with embassies at Reikan.
The interted step pyramid is cut shorter than the regular one above, giving it a wide water basin at the bottom which is filled with aquatic plants, floating garden setpieces and bridged by floating walkways that are rearranged dynamically so that the displays every hour of the day are different. Murals depict scenes of the sea, the desert and the tundra, while fountains scatter mist that figures conjured forth by volumetric displays dance and hop around while expositing about the nature of life in the extreme climates the Iromakuanhe have had to adapt to.
A culture that reveres water due to its scarcity on their arid homeworld of Maekardan, the Iromakuanhe built the water gardens to highlight not only their appreciation of it, but also the various ways they have been made to respect it. Statuary and hanging figures actually conceal purifiers, condensers and moisture traps that prevent anything from being wasted, while making the entire embassy complex independent from the regular service lines in Kyoto. Rainfall is sufficient to replace the minuscule losses the gardens experience from visitors carrying loose misted water away with them on their skin and clothes.
The Instrospection Temple lies at the middle of the water gardens, but could be more accurately described as a small shrine, being a domed stone structure around twenty meters across. Small stained glass windows and a glass dome allow abundant light in, though candles are prefered at night to artificial sources. Religious icons rest in alcoves, depicting sixteen Saints of the Dreamer Vigil. Services are held daily for the embassy residents, while the rest of the time the Temple is kept open for public viewing.
The Nariman Observatory is a three-floored, 20 meter tall mobile floating structure designed as a viewing point to see the rest of the Iromakuanhe's embassy grounds and the Reikan Park at large. The interior features minimalist glass walls for maximum viewing area and amorphous solid seating that can dynamically reconfigure itself to accomodate the passengers.
The landing arrives at the larger middle floor, with the other two accessible via a spiral staircase and small elevator. As the 'bottom' floor has a glass floor to make it symmetrical with the top, it is not recommended for the faint of heart.
As part of the concessions to allowing it to be built, local authorities have the ability to override its flight path in case of hijacking.
The Hand of Peace is a ceremonial guard position (akin to the Sentries in Blaze's Spot), with approximately four such figures acting in rotation. Each is selected from fresh recruits from the Temple Guard, eager to experience the sights of the universe beyond Iruotl and protect the new temple at the base of the Introspection Terrace.
The Hand itself however is a single mechanized unit, adopted by the guard on duty as a sort of mascot role, in this case a brilliant, sparkling-white Erla VANDR I civilian variant heavily modified with ornate decorations seemingly made of solid gold, though actually specialized ceramics similar to those used on the rest of the Nariman Terraces, and a brilliant blue cape made of a biological metamaterial that appears solid at a glance but flows, drips and ripples like liquid water.
It looms ponderously near the entrances, regal and ever vigilant.
This page was originally created on 2014/06/25 15:54 by Exhack.