amber knee: design portfolio
city planning, MCP 2014 | penndesign
table of contents landscape, urban design + planning coursework strengthening the core: creating a neighborhood hub through vacancy, penndesign, fall 2013 redefining the green network, penndesign, fall 2013 phl_thevoid: a campaign to end vacancy, penndesign, spring 2013 a new front at east kensington, penndesign, spring 2013 annica waterfront park, columbia university, summer 2012 collect park, columbia university, spring 2012 park.117, columbia university, fall 2011 gateway: parasol promenade, columbia university, spring 2012 barnard courtyard: activating a dead zone, columbia university, summer 2011
professional work park slope private residential backyard, brooklyn, ny, professional project, summer 2012 mad fun farm: project site, east harlem, concrete safaris internship, summer 2012
landscape, urban design + planning coursework
strengthening the core: creating a neighborhood hub through vacancy penndesign fall 2013 | advisor: evan rose
This project proposes design interventions in the Point Breeze neighborhood to develop the idea of a 20-minute core, and to help establish a strong identity for Point Breeze Avenue. Angled streets that cut across the grid inherently have presence, forming unique triangular sites, which makes this site an ideal location for design interventions. This project explored an environmental planning concept used in habitat conservation, which establishes an oasis for animals by creating a system of hubs and protected corridors. Similarly, this project works to create an active neighborhood hub located near a concentration of amenities, which is then connected by established “safe passageways.” Like in nature, where one neighborhood meets another, there is the potential SEARS for edge effects and for something interesting to happen. Completing one neighborhood at a time and building stronger identities for communities will help create a well-connected system of hubs, truly strengthening Philadelphia from the inside and utilizing vacancy as an opportunity to EARP reimagine the fabric of the city.
LATE NIGHT TRANSIT OPTIONS
BIKE ROUTES BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT SUPPORT
ACTIVE GREEN SPACE
JOB TRAINING CENTER
10 MINUTES 20 MINUTES
STRONG RETAIL MIX PEDESTRIAN FRIENDLY STREETS
REED HEALTHY LOCAL DINING OPTIONS
PEDESTRIAN TRAILS PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
AC T AC IVAPO TIV TINET BR EE ZE AT E
STRONG HOUSING STOCK
24/7 STREET ACTIVITY GERRITT COMMUNITY CENTER + SUPPORT SERVICES
SOUTH PHILADELPHIA H.O.M.E.S. INC
SANFE PA SSAGEW AY
L G INFIL HOUSIN
IV AT E AC T
SAFE P ASSAG EWAY
CK WOODS TO
DIVERSIFIED COMMUNITY CENTER
AC T IN
HOUS ING IN F
PU SP BL AC IC E
SHIPPING CONTAINER VENDING
BIO-SWALE + NATIVE PLANTS
NEIGHBORHOOD PLAZA COMMUNITY PLOTS NEW BUILDING
PERMEABLE PAVING RECESSED LIGHTING
POP UP BOOTHS MOVABLE PLANTERS
TRAFFIC CALMING ISLANDS RAIN GARDEN
NEIGHBORHOOD BIKE SHARE
strengthening the core: creating a neighborhood hub through vacancy
redefining the green network
penndesign fall 2013 | advisor: evan rose | partner: katelin kutchko Using three cores as examples, Redefining the Green Network develops the relationship between a city-wide system of cores and a proposed extended green network. The three cores have distinctly different building footprints and types of vacancy, making each interaction with the green network very different, and strengthening the idea that a green network will help create “place” in unique ways in each neighborhood. The green network was formed around a number of organizing principles, including historic stream locations, current stormwater projects, recent green space projects, and linear clusters of vacancy. While the resulting network might seem extreme, it utilizes Philadelphia’s historic model of creating extensive watershed parks, including the Fairmount Park System and Pennypack Park, as a model. These parks help ensure clean water for the city, while also managing stormwater runoff, providing recreational space, and enhancing the public realm. To further define the network and create an implementation strategy, a green network catalogue was established, organized around three different functions: performative, productive and programmatic. These strategies were then implemented throughout the network, based on vacancy opportunities and identified neighborhood needs, to create more livable and complete communities. PERFORMATIVE
NEIGHBORHOOD PASSIVE PARK RECREATIONAL PARK
LARGE RECREATIONAL PARK
phl_thevoid: a campaign to end vacancy
penndesign spring 2013 | advisor: amy hillier | partner: shelly zhu The PHL_theVOID campaign uses social media and other technological tools to help raise awareness and engage the Philadelphia community in the process of transforming vacant lots. Many people may notice vacancy in their neighborhoods, but not know who to contact about it or what they can do to make something happen in that space. Additionally, city officials may not have accurate counts of vacant land in Philadelphia or know what neighborhoods want to see happen in their communities. This campaign will allow community members to engage with city officials and offer real-time data and suggestions for the transformation of vacant land. By creating a user-friendly and fun way for people to help catalog vacant lots, we will raise awareness about this issue and encourage people to get involved as much as possible. So spread the word! If you _SEEit, TAGit_ and look forward to a _SHIFT in your neighborhood!
a new front: at east kensington
penndesign spring 2013 | advisor: scott page | project partner: shelly zhu A New Front at East Kensington seeks to revitalize an area that was previously a creative industrial hub and strengthen the link between nearby commercial and cultural corridors on Kensington Avenue, Front Street, and Frankford Avenue. Building off the New Kensington Community Development Corporationâ€™s plan for a Frankford Avenue Arts Corridor and other neighborhood revitalization projects in the neighborhood, the plan is for East Kensington to serve as a feeder street between existing corridors, while also establishing new housing and cultural facilities. Interventions will include market rate housing, affordable housing, a film & community cultural center, and additional green infrastructure and recreational space. These changes will target the south-west corner of the East Kensington site in hopes of encouraging more active street life along York Street and anchoring incremental development of vacant lots throughout the site.
NT GE AR
HA AR ZZ
GE HA ON ST BO
DELAWARE RIVER IZO
annica waterfront park
columbia university, summer 2012 | advisors: judith heintz + diana drake The Annica Waterfront siteâ€™s historic vitality as a shipping and trade center has completely declined over time and currently there is little connection to the downtown area of Stapleton, Staten Island. This lack of connection informed three approaches: trade, connections, and impermanence. Using these approaches, three levels of programming were created for the site. The west side of the area is naturalistically inspired and was left almost completely untouched except for the addition of a raised, grated path through the space, allowing visitors to experience nature, while also protecting wildlife and the plant materials by limiting contact. East of the first section, it is possible to stray off the path and walk through the grass or sit under a canopy of trees. Throughout this section there are bio swales, which collect and manage excess stormwater runoff while also restoring biodiversity to the waterfront. Water flows into the site, mimicking the movement of the piers out into the water, and allowing people to witness the differing water levels at low and high tides. The remaining east section of the site is programmed space for active recreation. There are flexible grass soccer fields and four clay tennis courts, and the existing pier contains pop up shops and restaurants which will rotate every few months, providing opportunity for new businesses to try out marketing strategies in a relatively inexpensive way. Repurposed shipping containers act as the store fronts, a nod to the siteâ€™s history of shipping and trade.
columbia university, spring 2012 | advisor: michael weber The concept for Collect Park stems from the idea that water flowing through a site over time will begin to change it. Likewise, a site will also be transformed as people interact with it. The Collect Pond site in New York City has a history of people’s actions altering the area, to the point where eventually the pond had to be filled in because it became so polluted that diseases were being spread. The site area is also part of the downtown civic center, which provides many opportunities to remind people of their potential impact on society and the environment. By installing flexible poles made of recycled plastic, a physical manifestation of this effect is displayed. The poles, or “reeds,” arranged in a dendritic pattern and cerulean in color, reference the site’s history and the channels that used to drain the pond out to larger bodies of water in the early 19th Century. As visitors touch or bump into one of the reeds, a ripple effect occurs through the lines of reeds. A rain garden in the center not only provides visual interest but also collects storm water runoff and helps reduce water consumption on the site by gathering water used for irrigating plant material. The reeds themselves contain a photovoltaic film, which collects and stores energy to illuminate the paths through the park after dark. The new Collect Park is a gentle reminder that we must recognize our individual impact as part of a larger collective and take care of one another and the environment.
columbia university, fall 2011 | advisor: richard alomar Park.117 is the redesign of a vacant lot on the corner of 117th St. and Frederick Douglass Blvd. in Harlem. Adjacent to the lot is senior housing and in nearby blocks there are a number of elementary schools. In order to appeal to the varied age groups in the area, the empty lot was redesigned as a sensory garden. To create circulation through the park, I used a figure eight shape, which is an easy path to navigate and prevents people from getting lost, and rotated the petal shapes to facilitate movement through the site. Plants included appeal to the five senses: in addition to being visually stimulating, various elements of the park can be touched, smelled, tasted and heard. Red painted pavement juts out into the nearby sidewalk areas, drawing people into the park. Red fiberglass planters act as plant containers, while also providing seating throughout the park. The rear area has tiered seating and also functions as a small performance stage for informal productions. By providing opportunities for people of all ages to actively participate, in addition to providing passive recreation, Park. 117 will become a new hub for the neighborhood, offering fun for individuals of all ages.
gateway: parasol promenade
columbia university, spring 2012 | advisor: michael weber In 1885, Olmsted and Vaux designed Prospect Park as a refreshing escape from city life. The city was viewed as man-made and unnatural, while the park was viewed as natural and healing. Parasol Promenade seeks to blur the line between Prospect Park and the surrounding area of Park Slope, while demonstrating that urbanism and parks work better in tandem. The new entrance to Prospect Park at Third Street incorporates a large number of organic forms constructed from red, translucent plexiglass. As the viewer approaches the entrance, the forms begin to â€œbloomâ€? and become larger and more numerous in number. An implied swirling motion, similar to that of a leaf or flower being picked up by the wind, highlights clusters of these sculptures, forming smaller groupings and outdoor rooms in the park. At the entrance to the outdoor rooms, the sculptures are interactive pieces and include rainwater storage, small play structures, and gently curving benches. Throughout the seasons these bright organic forms remain a cheerful, poppy red, while also subtly changing as the semi-transparency reveals the ever-changing natural plant material behind them, providing yearround seasonal interest. The sculptures, more tightly packed at the entrances, form clusters that disperse throughout the park, casually directing people to and from the entrances based on their concentrations. Parasol Promenade is a playful reminder that one does not need to leave the city to find healing and respite from urban life, and that the city and park system need not have formal barriers from each other.
barnard courtyard: activating a dead zone columbia university, summer 2011 | advisor: jan johnsen Despite its location between two of the most visited buildings on Barnard College’s campus, the courtyard between Barnard Hall and Lehman Library is a dead zone. The space has few plantings, uncomfortable seating options, almost no lighting, large buildings on either side, and no interesting aspects to draw students into the space. In redesigning this courtyard, it was crucial to provide visual interest to draw students, while also providing a variety of seating options. Additionally, it was essential to lower the “ceiling” of the space between the two buildings, making it a more appealing space to inhabit. Vintage photographs of Barnard’s campus from the early 20th century portray large green lawns and an allée of trees. As a nod to this campus history, an allée leading up to the courtyard was designed, featuring benches for students to stop temporarily or to sit beneath the shade of the trees between classes. Within the courtyard, strands of lights with colored shades reflect colored circles on the pavement during the day, further activating the space, and at night provide additional lighting, establishing a safer and more vibrant area. Moveable tables and chairs enable people to locate in either sun or shade, and the stairs leading up to the courtyard are angled, creating the option for people to sit and watch passersby. With views toward both campus life and the city street, students and visitors can use the courtyard to meet up with friends or for a colorful break in their day.
barnard college: circa 1920s
park slope, brooklyn, ny: private residential backyard professional design work | summer 2012
This private residence was recently purchased in the neighborhood of Park Slope South in Brooklyn, New York. The clients hired me to design a space where their two young children could exercise and play outside, while also creating an outdoor room to use for entertaining friends and family. The design program called for open space where the children could run and play, a dining and relaxation area next to the house, screening of two recently installed HVAC units, and a small vegetable garden to help the children learn about growing their own food. At the time of purchase, the entire backyard was paved with concrete. The concrete was removed and the remaining soil was cleaned and aerated. Bluestone paving was installed next to the house to create a seating and dining area, and a wooden planter measuring twenty square feet was placed along the east side of the yard to take advantage of abundant afternoon sun. Lattice was installed in the rear of the yard to screen the HVAC units, and for consistency, the lattice was constructed out of wood resembling the existing fencing around the yard. As the new lattice weathers, it will gradually match the existing wooden fence. Native plants were selected to provide year-round seasonal interest and to create pops of color and diverse textures throughout the yard. The new backyard design creates a space for the family to dine, play, learn, and entertain, in addition to passive relaxation.
SPACE FOR MAINTENANCE / VENTILATION
TRUNK FOR STORAGE
PLANTERS 1/4” = 1’ 0
EXISTING ROSE BUSH
3 Ig 1 At
2 Bg 3 Ig
1 Ep 3 Ig
2 Bg 1 Gm
1 Ig 1 Bg
1/4” = 1’ 0
mad fun farm: project site
east harlem, new york, summer 2012 | intern advisor: mac levine During the spring and summer of 2012, I interned with Concrete Safaris, a green exercise and gardening program for kids in East Harlem, New York. As part of the internship, I conducted and coordinated the surveying of the Thomas Jefferson and George Washington Public Housing sites, including the Mad Fun Farm site, which is located at 96th Street and 2nd Avenue. After site plans were prepared and an analysis of the site was completed, I collaborated with the program director and students, aged 5-7, to design and select plants for proposed garden projects on the two sites. In the summer of 2012, we received funding for a community planting day and worked with community members and corporate volunteers to plant various flowers and herbs. Whenever possible, we utilized native species, while still incorporating plants the children selected and would recognize. The new plant beds and garden add vibrancy to the site, while also providing community space for public interaction, education, exercise, and collaboration. The final installation was not necessarily the envisioned scheme, but the project was a great exercise in incorporating the community in design work and sharing expertise.
INITIAL PLANTING DAY, MAY
SECOND PLANTING DAY, AUGUST