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Aaron Christopher Elswick

URBAN DESIGN + LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE


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....cities are works of civic art. True sustainability is attained not just through state of the art environmental design and development best practices, but through means that help ensure social, cultural and economic sustainability as well. Daniel Burnham

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The curiosity that shaped me into who I am today is now the fuel for my creative capacity. The mediums of my artistic expression were once paints and pencils and now, as a civic artist, they are buildings, vegetation and other urban features. The worldview I wish to share is that of uniquely identifiable cities. Moving frequently throughout my life, I have been fortunate enough to experience first-hand the impact a strong identity can have on a place. Becoming aware of the shortcomings in the connection of civitas and genus loci inspired me to pursue a profession involved in mitigating the gap. As a landscape architect I discovered that by addressing solely the landscape, these solutions became fragmented. The same situation applies to sustainability, which I feel is a moral obligation. The distinction of the built and natural environments must be erased for sustainability to be obtained. If the human population is to ever become a viable civilization, the evolution must begin in our cities. Diagnosing this truth lead me to urban design, where presently I am looking to nature for the answers. By viewing the city as an urban ecosystem I am attempting to identify opportunities to diversify the interaction of urban systems. Going further, I seek to continue the expansion of my understanding of the urban environment through a professional view point as an intern and/or entry level designer.

-Aaron Christopher Elswick

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personal statement delta urbanism scale abstraction super block reincarnation art at night architecture firm hydro-therapy center personal art curriculum vitae


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You could look at nature as being like a catalog of products, and all of those have benefited from 3.8-billion-yearsof research and development. Michael Pawlyn

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DELTA URBANISM

New Orleans, Louisiana | 2014 The rising sea levels, increased intensity and frequency of storms and floods will be the challenge par excellence for coastal cities across the globe. The main goal was to eliminate the distinction between built and natural ecosystems; instead, addressing them both as components of the environment. By doing so the methodology places the design of a sustainable built ecosystem at the core of its values. The approach is unconventional in the sense that it mimics the natural wetland ecosystem. Discovering that the most sustainable ecosystems are those that are the most diverse in function lead us to embrace diversity in all areas, be it ecological, economical or sociological. The design employs a new depth of biomimetics based on the assumption that all factors in an ecosystem are links in a circular chain, be it urban or natural. The sustainable master plan transforms the Upper Ninth Ward into a functioning water mitigation and storage system. This model could remedy the present and future issues facing similar coastal cities facing the inevitability of changing circumstances brought on by climate change. 00

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Lead Concentration Sectional Study

Flood Plane

Flood Damages Sectional Study

REGIONAL ANALYSIS

Flood depth


1 8 3 9

1 8 7 0

1 9 9 3

2 0 2 0

Lead Concentration

Existing Storm Water Infrastructure

Wetland Loss

Subsidence Threat

Existing Stormwater Infastructure Sectional Study


Portrait Analysis

Existing Urban Ecosystem Economy

economic strength

The main regulator in an ecosystem is its apex predator. In the Upper Ninth Ward this role is filled by capitalism and it is failing. Its inequities cascade down to all other layers.

urban form diversity land use

apex predator

Material Infrastructure

cultural assets social diversity hardscape density

Communities

biodiversity

New Orleanians pride themselves with the strength of their communities. The issues of the higher layers take their toll on the identity of these neighborhoods.

topography

subsurface

MATERIAL CYCLES

Many of these problems manifest themselves in the built environment. Too much of the surface is non-porous. The presence of water is the only constant in this ecosystem.

carnivore

omnivore

Access and Mobility

Composite Portrait

The movement of elements and energy play a central role in the physical form of any ecosystem. Many of the surfaces in this area attempt to serve that purpose.

herbivore

Landscape The natural mural is the starting point for all activities in the ecosystem. Changing its traits have been the fruits of mankind’s labors since its inception.

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DESIGN DEVELOPMENT

vegetation


Proposed Urban Ecosystem Economy

Material Infrastructure

The urban packing vary in this proposal. Between the main corridors medium-rise high-density buildings are home to office space, stores and dwelling units alike.

Communities

BOTTOM UP DESIGN APPROACH

Civil structures and urban spaces strengthen the neighborhood. A large public building serves multiple functions, from communication to disaster shelter.

Access and Mobility

Rain and flood water is cycled through a series of bioswales into the retention basin. The revitalized wetland greatly increases evapotranspiration. Excess water is drained off site.

Landscape

The new urban ecosystem is prepared for flooding and also the rise in sea level. Alternative energy, green roofs and vegetation infill ensure life with nature and not against it.

ography current top

projected sea level rise

TOP DOWN SUSTAINABLE BENEFITS

In this model economic feasibility meets sustainability. A flexible market space sells locally grown produce. Adjacent street corridors become hubs of economic activity. The industry of Eco-Tourism is introduced.


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DESIGN VISUALIZATION

Illustrative Master Plan

(original design scale 1”=350’)


Wetlands Perspective

Commercial Infill Perspective

Vertical Site Section and Diagrammatic Activity Program

Horizontal Site Section and Diagrammatic Activity Program


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Music is liquid architecture; Architecture is frozen music. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


SCALE ABSTRACTION Savannah, Georgia | 2013

City Market in Savannah, GA is a pedestrian arcade and popular tourist destination. Although this site is very successful, studies have shown that design flaws inhibit the site’s full potential. This redesign translates the site’s existing 24-hour program and energy into a musically inspired concept that accounts for users that were previously excluded. The holistic composition occurring both horizontally and vertically in the design is derived from the abstraction of a musical score. Young families, children, and locals residents are welcomed onto the site with the addition of the music note incidental playground and increase of public seating. This transforms City Market into a more diverse space of social interaction. All the while the proposal still accommodates all of the site’s pre-existing activities and functions. Through this, the site will continue to appeal to the audience that already frequents the space, strengthen the identity of City Market and expand the audience it attracts. 00

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3dsMax Design

Render of Incidental Playground

3dsMax Design

Render of East Entrance

3dsMax Design Master Plan Render (original design scale 1�=10’)

3dsMax Design Horizontal Site Section


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To truly make good public space, you have to erase the distinctions between architecture, urbanism, landscape, [and] media design. Liz Diller

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SUPER BLOCK REINCARNATION

Savannah, Georgia | 2013 This project was an urban infill and adaptive reuse design for Savannah’s Civic Center, done in conjunction with relocation of the existing arena occupying half of the building. The concept was to develop an identity for the site by embracing its current solitary presence as Savannah’s only super block. Capitalizing on these unique opportunities timelessly ferments the site into Savannah’s environment. An Aquarium reuses the arena structure and serves as the site’s main draw. Permanent and temporary public art displays line the pedestrian circulation, and allow the site’s new identity to evolve. A central pedestrian axis from the SCAD Museum of Art to New Orleans Square breaks apart the super block and increases the site’s accessibility. Green roofs, roof top gardens, bio-swales and rain gardens improve the ecological environment and aesthetics of the site. 00

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Axonometric Perspective


Illustrative Master Plan

(original design scale 1”=50’)

Vertical Site Section Elevation (original design scale 1”=50’)


Mixed-use Infill Exterior Perspective

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Streetscape Section

Details the new stormwater management system, public art display, seating area, and the sites relationship to the adjacent boulevard

Mixed-use Infill Section

Depicts the necessary spatial requirements of proposed mixed-use infill, the semi-private roof-top garden, and the diversity of prospective units


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Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people. Leo Burnett

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ART AT NIGHT

St.Louis, Missouri | 2011 Art at Night was an urban infill idea generating project for the former Pruitt-Igoe site in St. Louis, Missouri. The concept of the proposal is to progress the site and surrounding community forward through the implementation of public art. The first phase of proposal entails the bio-remediation of the site. Once complete, site specific public art is to be installed upon the pre-existing Pruitt-Igoe building’s foot print. This public art will commemorate the site’s rich cultural history and serve as the platform for the reinvention of the site’s identity. Providing new ways for people to engage directly on contemporary issues, the art will promotes community cohesion by bridging the site’s historic gaps of age, race, language and class differences. Art education is proven to lessen educational inequality between socio-economic levels, especially in the early stages of childhood. The art will also act as a catalyst for economic activity by increasing the amount of civic dialogue occurring on site. This allows the community to capitalize on the local and global uniting forces of cultural tourism. The 5,000-foot light cannon acts as a visual magnet, connecting the site to the city by adding to its nighttime skyline, and monumentally depicts the abandoned site’s bright future. 00

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INVENTORY AND ANALYSIS ArcMap and Illustrator

(original design scale 1”=1000’) Identifies the site’s opportunities and constraints at a regional scale

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CONCEPTUAL MASTER PLAN

Illustrator and Photoshop

(original design scale 1”=200’) Due to the idea generating purpose of the competition the plan was abstracted to depict only the concept.


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The desire that guides me in all I do is the desire to harness the forces of nature to the improvement and service of mankind. Nikola Tesla

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ARCHITECTURE FIRM Lexington, Kentucky | 2010

The objective of this project was to design a studio, including the surrounding landscape, for a Lexington, KY architecture firm. The design was also required to sustainably harvest all of the stormwater run-off on site. Drainage calculations were performed to determine the amount of runoff the site would produce in the event of a 500-year storm. To accommodate this factor, a system of floodable retention basins and an overflow cistern tank were incorporated. To complement the sustainable water management features, solar panels and rooftop gardens were added. The architecture and landscape of the proposal are rectilinear in form and composition. The building itself is composed of diverse materials to emphasize the bold cubistic forms present in the structure.

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Illustrative Master Plan

(original design scale 1�=10’)


West/Left Elevation

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(original design scale 1”=10’)

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Front/North Elevation

(original design scale 1”=10’)

Back/South Elevation

(original design scale 1”=10’)


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An artist paints, dances, draws, writes, designs, or acts at the expanding edge of consciousness. We press into the unknown rather than the known. This makes life lovely and lively. Julia Cameron

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Revit

UK HYDRO-THERAPY CENTER MASTER PLAN

Interior Render of Facilities Main Entrance

Lexington, Kentucky | 2013

This project’s purpose was to experience the theory and practicum of the construction documentation process in landscape architecture. This included site design, site engineering, implementation, and commonly utilized standards. The final product entailed base information, design plan, contract document set, and technical calculations. The design includes: public art display areas, earth works berms, bio-swales, rain gardens, an Olympic lap pool, aqua-jogging pool, kid’s pool and play area, observation deck, jogging trail, service area, parking, and the main structure with adjacent outdoor meeting area, which is all enclosed by a security fence.

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Revit

Exterior Render of Main Entry Sequence


Illustrative Master Plan

(original design scale 1�=20’)


Layout Plan

All dimensions are systematically located by two center points and radiate outwards on 5 and 10 ft intervals.

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CONSTRUCTION DOCUMENTATION


Grading Plan

The re-grading of the site implements a sustainable water management system of bioswales and rain gardens.


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I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. Albert Einstein

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15’

EYES OF THE WORLD Lexington, Kentucky | 2013

Eyes of the World is a 15’ x 8’ spray paint mural that I painted for The Learning Center at Linleee. The Learning Center is a specially designed program that serves students in grades 7-12 who thrive non-traditional more hands-on school setting. The faculty’s goals for the mural were for it to be interactive with the students, and to mirror the school’s mission: getting kids to be blind to the grays in their life and to see the color around them. From here I worked with the faculty and developed conceptual sketches until a design was accepted. Painting began by laying the base coats of paint on the wall that, after dried, were abstracted by the students under my supervision. Once dried, I then spray painted the gray scaled eye abstractions on top of student abstracted background.

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“3 x 1 = 1”

Lexington, Kentucky | 2012 “3 x 1 = 1” is a wall mural competition winning entry that I designed and collaboratively built with Jon Morris (professional metal sculptor). The competition was for wall murals that were themed around inspiration. I began by researching people who have inspired me throughout my life. In doing so I discovered that each of these people did so by breaking from normality. They each accredited these breakthroughs to being achieved by first balancing themselves. The concept of inspiration I then defined as being something only achievable through the balancing of one’s self. The piece compositionally is an abstraction of the balance present in a mind, body and spirit Venn diagram. The combination of three different materials into parts allowed the piece to visually play on said balance. The piece also breaks normality by being a mural comprised of sculpture and shadow, as opposed to traditionally two dimensional mediums.


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“Lunch with Mr. White” (2012) 36”x48” Oil Painting


“The Thinkers” (2010) 36”x48” Graphite Drawing


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I do not merely wish to be considered the best of the best at what I do; I desire to be considered the only one who does what I do. Jerry Garcia

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objective

Seeking a summer Urban Design internship to accommodate required experience of becoming a registered landscape architect, that utilizes knowledge and experience in the place making of functional, attractive, and sustainable places.

education

Savannah College of Art and Design | Savannah, GA Masters of Architecture Urban Design degree expected in 2016

University of Kentucky | Lexington, KY

CURRICULUM VITAE

Bachelor of Science Landscape Architecture degree received in 2012

Software Skills: Adobe CS6, AutoCad 14’, 3dsMax Design 14’, Revit, Sketchup Pro, ARC Map, Microsoft Office 08’

awards

Design Work Shop’s Design Week at the University of Kentucky, April 17-21, 2012 individual award: Outstanding Academic Exploration as Team Leader team award: Best Concept

community contributions

Summer 2014 | Conference on Ecological +Ecosystem Restoration | New Orleans, LA

Selected international speaker and will be presenting the biomimetic design process implemented in the sustainable master plan and design project “Delta Urbanism”.

Spring 2013 | Learning Center at Linlee Service Project | Lexington, KY Met with school faculty and student body, supervised a background abstraction with students, designed and painted a 15’ x 6’ mural.

Spring 2013 | UK 100: Living on the Right Side of the Brain | Lexington, KY Lectured findings of independent research pertaining to combinatorial creativity.

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professional experience

Summer 2013 | American Gardens Landscape Architect Intern | Elmhurst, IL Designed residential landscapes and urban annual arrangements, produced grading and drainage drawings, supervised residential landscape and hardscape installations, client presentation and public relations

Summer 2012 | Robert Jendra Studio Graphic Designer | Chicago, IL Designed: menu layout, logo, and flyers for Cocoro Japanese Steak House; produced assorted flyers and business banners. Digitally enhanced photographs, conducted photo shoots, custom framed images, water colors, and oil paintings for commission

Summer 2012 | The Lannert Group Landscape Architect Intern | Geneva, IL Designed and hand rendered waste transfer sites, produced technical drawings on AutoCad for multiple projects, attended public and private meetings, formatted Powerpoint presentations and proposed design ideas for large scale landfill reclamation proposals

hobbies

TRAVEL

Lived and worked in 7 cities Visited the Caribbean multiple times Traveled the United States extensively

ART

Oil paints, water color, guache paint, spray paint, chalk and oil pastels, charcoal, graphite, prisma color, marker, pen and ink, graphic/digital, mixed mediums, and tattoo design

RECREATION

Guitar, golf, snowboarding, rock climbing, scuba diving, kayaking, fishing, and longboarding


Aaron Christopher Elswick, ASLA M.U.D. Candidate, Landscape Architect SCAD School of Building Arts Savannah College of Art and Design速 Tel: 267.608.4570 acelsw2@g.uky.edu (primary e-mail) aelswi20@student.scad.edu | www.scad.edu


Aaron Elswick Urban Design + Landscape Architecture Portfolio