Ecology, Site and Design - Spring 2008 - Scheri Fultineer and Khaki Martin
- To gain a broad understanding of the ecological factors active in the landscape
- To engage site analysis as a process that initiates a design response
- To develop design skills and methods
- To foster abilities in decision-making, team work, and presentation skills
More specifically, we sought to understand how ecological processes act as a 'generative base for design as well as the ways in which program can be used to reveal fundamental structures and processes of the site.'
Studio exercises will entail an assessment of the dimensional measure, material qualities and phenomenological character of the spatial experiences of procession through and occupation of a site. We will begin with an analysis of a bio-mechanical process that we are all intimately familiar with - the experience of walking - in order to build our understanding, of the basic elements of the landscape such as a topography, exposure, view sheds, physical and visual boundaries, and thresholds.
This exercise will continue with the mapping and analysis of the ecological processes and cultural systems that have and continue to shape the site and its larger context. We will use the findings of these investigations to propose a constructed trajectory through the site that serves to shape and amplify the engagement of a visitor to specific aspects of the site's physical characteristics.
From this preliminary proposal we will proceed to develop a master plan for the site. This plan will include the introduction of a new architectural program for specific site-engaged activities, planting strategies that mediate the tension between the existing native plant communities on site, the remnant domestic plantings, and the proposed programmatic engagement with site vegetation, and finally, the creation of a site circulation system that provides opportunities for the desired experience of the site.
Looking back at my process, I approached the program through the use of a few bold interventions. I chose direct paths of trajectory that subtlety changed at specific view shed lookouts. I used a repetitive material palette consisting of both porous (the 98 cherry trees arranged in a grid surrounding a building above) and non-porous materials (the stone and zinc in the communal areas in center and retaining wall right bottom). However, I also used these materials for their spatial porosity. Though a cherry tree may hinder sight beyond only slightly, if that tree were multiplied, then certain viewsheds would only be visible at certain points. From one point, a visitor's viewing angle may be such that they see a dense thicket of cherry trees. And yet, a small distance further down may suddenly reveal a sweeping vista. Read More »