photo: L. Stacy Passmore

Monday, March 28, 2011

Anam School Site Design

My site is E. It's a school which needs to be designed as an outdoor classroom and also a park which could produce edible food.... According to the requirements of site design and my research of the site, I will focus on several aspects: education, flooding and hyacinth issues, technology, and agriculture, of course all of them need to develop with landscape architecture.

Diagram 1 shows the basis of my design, according to these lines to create interesting space and analyse the site. The second diagram shows the critique nodes which need to be considered first. These node will be sight focus, from there people could have a good sight view to different ways. So the third diagram shows the sight view. Based on the analysis of it I also create one focus node which is blue coloured on the right.

Diagram 4 shows the analysis of functional zoning. I try to put all the four aspects to my site reasonably. But after that, I found the different buildings are used for different level's students, for example, the north classrooms are for kindergarten and lower grade students, so it's not reasonable to locate agriculture area there. Based on this information, I change the playground and agriculture area. This will be expressed in my design.

Diagram 5 shows my main design idea about the school site. From DK and Stacy, I get useful information about the flooding information of the school. In one year, the school might be flooded for two months. So I need to design the boat station for the school. And in the original design, there is a round teaching area on the water.

Based on the analysis lines, I create an half open circle space to connect the teaching area and the boat station. Inside the circle area, I will plant hyacinth. One is to control its fast growing, one is to teach related information to students about phytoremediation, such as how to make hyacinth as biogas.... And around the west river side, I design wave steps to soft the hard line. For solve the problem of the flooding area, I design two low plaza with landscape. In normal days, it's playground for students;When it's flooded, it also could be a kind of landscape.

About the technology aspect, I design one interesting playground for the lower grade students, and one corridor area for students who need to use laptop outside. In these two area, water-storing smart material and phosphorescent access will be used. Based on the analysis lines, I recreate the river side line, and around it I design a long wooden access to give people the opportunity to see river scene. On the left of the football area, I design agriculture area to produce foods and to supply teaching area.

Basically I have finished the draft design about the site. There are still some questions which I need to figure out. I still have some questions about the site. For example,

What's the height of water in school when it's flooded?

About the waterway in the river, does it influence the boat transportation?

How do people walk in flooding school now? What's the situation about that?

Do the students often play outside when it's flooded?

During the flooding period, how do people keep the plants live?

Anam,New City: Dynamic Waterfront

From the existing building, spaces and circulation, I developed the view lines for the design. According to the view lines above, we can easily find the best area for the landscape, gathering spaces, waterfront shape. That's how I produce the basic outline for the waterfront park.

Because I chose the tide as one of my five tools, I serious considered tide landscape as my feature in the concept 1. And with the wood ribbon, I hope to ease the contrast between the waterfront and urban edge which is my main goal.

This bubble-look shape is originally from the bacteria cell. The design featured the small ground in the water as well as on the ground. Besides, the grounds also connect the city to the waterfront park.

The design is inspired by Netherlands flower land. With the varied color flower land, the concept is to create dynamic waterfront edge.

Combination Concept
This design is the product of the first three concept. It kept the two wood stripes, flower squares, and the curve dynamic waterfront edges. And I develop the inner canal to let the water in during the rain seasons and create the unique landscapes in different time.

More Details (Auto-CAD Drawing)
The latest one is produced by last Friday. With some problems, it's still need to be refined later. The problems concerned about the end of the stripes, the pavement patterns and the waterfront edges.

To be continued

Anam New City, Nigeria: Transit Node

The developing of the concept for the transit node on the Anam New City site came through the progress of many diagrams, helping in revealing the importance of the transit node to the city. The first concept came from diagramming pollution, one of the six key words I had chosen, that would be caused by the transit node, block factory, and poultry farm. Through this the concept of adding sound walls, made of a mixture of glass and concrete, in front of the vegetated swales to help mitigate these elements from the residential areas that are located on the west and the north of the transit node. From this iteration I began to think about the rest of my key words I had chosen to help better understand the focus of the site; density, network, glass, and navigate. Through the diagramming of navigation came the next concept that focuses on the visual site lines at human scale on the site. The of process diagramming site lines showed the understanding that keeping key visual lines of site open through the transit node would not only connect the site to the entire city, but also give people a way finding through the site as well. The sites lines then lead to delineating what would be build able area and non-build able area according to what would and would not block these views. By then manipulating these forms created in this diagram I came up with the final concept. This idea further progressed after looking at precedents such as Edwin Santhagen’s Hodge Weide Park where he uses pavement hierarchy to help create a focal point on the site. I tried to utilize this idea by using different pavement materials such as concrete and permeable pavers for the pathways, and turf for the amoebic shapes where the kiosks and seating will be placed. Lastly I wanted to use a vegetative canopy to help with the pollution absorption on the site and also as way of connecting the natural surroundings of Anam City to the new mixed used city.

Agro-Industrial Working Waterfront

The portion of the Anam New City that I chose to analyze and design is the agro-industrial waterfront. The area is located at the southern tip of the Anam New City. This project has been very challenging on a multitude of levels. It has been difficult to “visualize” and truly understand the project site and the Anam New City in general, because the site is located in Africa and the city only exists on paper at this time.

To assist with concept design, an analysis of the site was completed. The site analysis included looking at a number of existing conditions and connections as illustrated by the attached site analysis diagrams. The site analysis focused specifically on the agro-industrial potion of Anam New City, and I soon found that although I understood the workings of the agro-industrial blocks, I didn’t really understand the relationship with the rest of the city and peripheral areas, for which the agro-industrial area will undoubtedly impact. This lead to an analysis of the way in which the edges of the overall city are to be used and a review of the tools that I chose for the project. As a result I looked at the agro-industrial area in terms of the cycle that starts with inputs (materials) and ends with outputs (products) and everything in-between.

To tackle concept development, I referred back to my concept collage for inspiration and created a concept diagram. Although the diagram made sense, developing concept diagrams that incorporated all the elements proved to be difficult and frustrating. Without an actual built site, it was hard to visualize a design solution and how it would actually meld with the rest of the city. In the end three concepts were developed. The first is based on site lines from surrounding buildings, the second is inspired by bamboo and the third is based on the eight communities that comprise the Anam New City. The goal with each concept was to incorporate the key elements that were identified while attempting to minimize impact on the environment. At this time a final plan has not completed.

The Tech/Conference Center Area Plan

I was working on developing a seawall promenade along the waterfront for the Tech/Conference Center. Goals were set for a tree canopy to provide shade, reduce hardscape temperatures, assist in retention, detention and cleaning of rainwater on-site, and provide a beautiful area for pedestrians.

The promenade offers space for runners, walkers, and bicyclists separated from main traffic. The sculptures, lights and other equipment along the promenade will become a part of the image of the city and a unique element reflected to Igbo culture.

The areas adjacent to the Tech/Conference Center will serve as different functional zone to support the building. The space on the western side of the building is a public activity area, it contains an outdoor exhibition area and an outdoor amphitheater. The outdoor cafes on the eastern side of the waterfront adjacent to the building have become an element of spacial design both as a functional part and as a part of the visual identity.

The terraced gardens sit on area adjacent to the town house, providing a quiet area to sit in the shade and enjoy the heavily landscaped area.

Fish Farm - Public Wetland Park

This project has been a big challenge because it is forcing me to design something that I know little about. The project statement calls for a public park to be designed at the fish farm location. After several iterations, I came to the conclusion that this space is not best suited for a conventional large park, but a better use of the space would be a wetland. The idea is that this land south of the fish farm will serve dual purposes. Since this area currently floods in its entirety, a wetland will help slow the rate of the storm surge and allow for a better retention of the water. In the process it will help clean the water both downstream and the water that is used by the fish farm.

As the water recedes during the dry season, the area will take on a new form. With elevated paths, people will be able to walk through the wetland and have access to their environment. The different slopes and elevations that act as a guide to control the water, serve as focal points during the dryer periods. Each elevation would be planted with different plants which help create a healthier ecosystem, but can potentially be visually stimulating as they bloom.

Below are a list of my initial iterations.

In this concept I was trying to allow the water to enter while still maintaining public access and the use of the rectangular form.

Again, I was trying to create a park off of the main walkway and allow the water to flood.

For this interation, I decided to develop a more conventional park. I placed a restaurant near the entrance of the fish farm because there seemed to be a good with the market diagonal from it. It also created a barrier between the private fish farm and the public park. There were open lawns and a hill that served as a focal point and seating for outdoor events. The flooding would be addressed on the exterior of the park.

Overall, I think that my design has a lot of room for strengthening. It has been a real challenge developing these concepts, but my main goal is to address the flooding, while create a public park that does not interfere with the fish farm industry.

Concept development: Civic waterfront, Aman New City, Nigeria.

Considering all the analysis of the site, The 1st iteration presented the functional divisions based on the anaylsis of potential usage of different areas. To make a more static space in front of the hotel for people getting together and talking . And to make a more active area along the river for people walking and to rest . And when turned function to form, it took the main views to the site into consideration and set a few focal points on the site.

The 2nd iteration refined mainly based on two aspects. One refined the form based on the city grid. The other made the margin between water and land "thiner" and tried to blend them with drawing water from the river into the site.

The 3rd iteration more emphasized on the important position of the hotel. To achieve this from both function and form, this iteration added a wooden platform along the river at the east side of the hotel.

After 3 iterations, the final concept combines the interations and refines them. It makes verious spaces for the guests from the hotel and the pedestrains from the city center and other sites. And achieves the goals of the civic waterfront.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Anam, New City, Nigeria: Greenway and Parks Concept Reflection

The Anam, New City, project has been an interesting one for me in that we are developing a concept from a concept. As such, the process has been quite evolutionary, and in truth, still is as each iteration and rendition reveals more and more possibilities. The concept presented here is based on the proposed Greenway and Park Corridor that will run east-west across the southern half of the proposed city site. The design concept itself celebrates the river and the water that runs in it, its importance to the city, the value and potential of Bamboo as an integral part of the environment and culture, and the concept of time from the youth of a young stream to the delta of a mature river.
The concept itself began with the idea of a river and an evaluation of the greenway site. In addition to traditional site analyses that look at climate, vegetation, geographical location, etc., an evaluation of the AutoCAD design plans revealed a series of “Block Types and Linkages”, and these were particularly scrutinized along the greenway corridor to determine how they might be reshaped so that they could best accommodate the flowing concept of a river. Proposed “use” of the surrounding area (i.e., proposed zoning for residential, commercial, etc. in the developed areas to the north and south of the Greenway) was also investigated and diagrams like the one shown below indicate commercial and business use will be the primary role of the central corridor, and that residential housing will be primarily located in the east and west outside corridors. Views along the road and laneways were also considered along with the proposed terrain slope, and how this section of the greenway and the parks would fit into the entire greenway itself.

After a number of iterations (see Concept 1, Concept 2, Concept 3, and Concept 4 here) the final concept incorporated ideas that involved the sequestering of space in each development corridor for the creation of parks, a market place, the drawing of the greenway into the built environment space, and to enhance the concept of a meandering river. Ponds will also be added to both east and west ends of this Greenway section to act as both visual endpoints, and as turning points for individuals moving along the greenway. The initial design proposal investigated the idea of having a water-course that flowed from one side of the site to the other. This appeared to be very difficult to implement without creating some considerable engineering and technological dependencies. As such, the concept was revised to have the water flow naturally from the center of the site to both east and west sides separately, while still maintaining the concept of the river by having each side of the water-course joined in the center. Subsequent iterations of the design and concept introduced the Marketplace to the central corridor park space, with a young children’s playground located in the eastern corridor park, and an older children’s playground located in the western corridor park. The success of the central market place could also be enhanced by closing down the cross street that the greenway runs along during the lunch time period (i.e., 11am until 2pm) so that the road itself can become a pedestrian mall.
The final rendering to date is shown here although I already have second thoughts about the seating wall along the road. I initially thought this would make a nice “low divide” for the playgrounds from the road but in hindsight, they appear to be more of wall and obstruction to the flow of movement through the edge. In this case, I have reverted back to a previous iteration and used half seating facing inward to the park so that there is space for movement between the trees (This can be seen in the most recent AutoCAD version of the design here). Some final thoughts include the use of a cobbled paving in the street sections in the greenway to provide drivers with feedback regarding their approach to the park area. Bamboo will be the primary building material for all the structures in the park and will also be used to help slow and clean the water around the park and market islands. A permeable gravel/river stone will be used for the pathways through the park and market areas and large flat stones will be used for pedestrian crossings, and as a mechanism for slowing the flow of water.

Play ground equipment for the young child playground in the east corridor will be developmentally appropriate in terms of size, and will focus on gross motor and perceptual skill attributes like balance, agility and spatial awareness. Equipment here will include spaces devoted to mazes and concealment, tunnels, and balance beams.

The west corridor park playground will also be developmentally appropriate in terms of sizing, and will focus on physical attributes like strength, balance and coordination. This playground will utilize a series of tree house like structures and include rope ladders, staircases, slides, and other assorted climbing apparatus.

Pete Ellery, Ball State University