Design
JWE 04 - 01 - 2010

As we travel around the globe, we investigate more than just interesting buildings. We also experience a lot of interesting and unique landscape architecture and city planning. Because of this, my hometown project is being infused with numerous landscape architecture principles and design ideas that Iíve seen over the past few months. While the nature of this study abroad experience leads to design discoveries that are more than solely architectural, one of the most rewarding aspects of this study abroad experience is the chance we have for interdisciplinary design interaction as well. When dealing with the site planning of my project, I collaborated with fellow design students whose area of study is in landscape architecture and urban planning to help me take a more well rounded approach to design. The site for the community and arts center is currently a large open field between two neighborhoods the east and west and two schools to the north and south. There is also a small pond to the south west of the site with a creek cutting diagonally through the site on its way to the pond. I wanted to create a buffer space between the immediate grounds of the center, a space that could be crowded and noisy at times, and the neighborhoods. I was worried about possible noise pollution and privacy issues, but still wanted to create a connection of walkability between the neighborhoods and the center. The aim was to create a zone of semi private park space between the neighborhoods and the community center that would incorporate a ring of garden space around the edges of the immediate site. Conversations with planning students helped me determine the best points of access from the neighborhood into the site as well as possibilities for using the water from the creek and pond in a sustainable and efficient way. Conversations with landscape architecture students helped me to understand what kind of vegetation would work best in different locations on the site in order to create the barriers, views, shade, and drama that I was looking for in each situation. The plan view sketch shown is a rough idea of how principles obtained from these conversations could come into play on the site. Shrubbery could be used on the edges of the site to create a solid buffer between the neighborhoods and the community center. As you move closer to the center there are areas of shade created by canopy trees that surround open areas for gathering. A series of bike trails and pathways move through the site and towards the central feature of the built forms. An art wall, as well as manmade creeks, run along the edge of these pathways and help to guide the user towards the community center. In Berlin, we found a small pocket park that incorporated tilted triangular landforms of grass all sloping up to the center with pathways cutting through to a central space. The grassy lawns worked as gathering spaces for members of the community to sit with friends and talk or enjoy lunch in the sun while watching the community moving around them. This inspired a more defined form for rooftop garden spaces I had been working on after being inspired by the rooftop gardens we had walked past in Granada, Spain. With a obelisk like form protruding from the center of the site, the triangular landforms could help create a smooth visual transition from the flat surroundings to the central feature as well as create distinct spaces that could interact both with the central plaza and the park area around them. Image below: sketch of grassy triangles Image to the right: sketch of possible site planning

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