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DANE CARLSON landscape architecture



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Michigan City’s coal generating station is a blight on Lake Michigan’s shoreline. Reintroduction of ecological processes, many unique to Lake Michigan, allow for recovery of this ecologically and culturally important place. The shoreline is the focus of rehabilitation: introduction of new dunes creates the foundation for all other plant communities.


Introduction of a neighborhood creates community on-site, while new cultural and social amenities provide necessities for surrounding communities. Each amenity lies within walking distance, creating the basis for a sustainable and tight-knit community.

coal ash pipeline

sheet pilings/ rip-rap

secondary settling pond

coal conveyor system cooling tower

operatiional boilers unused boiler building






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A. B. C. D. E. F. G. H. I. J. K. L. M. N. O. p. q. r.

transit station events and rec. lawn community recreation center adventure recreation center shops, equipment rental, & commercial activity cafe and plaza space on the promenade woodland fishing docks snack stands on the promenade public beach and walkway embayment and wetland mouth wetland observation tower protected embayment wetland ropes course/canopy walk main community beach access pipeline walkway community retail and commercial cooling tower hotel & public observation platform community access

DENSITY AND ACCESSIBILITY Pedestrian circulation is a primary method of site organization. The ash slurry pipeline is converted into an elevated pathway, allowing visitors to witness site evolution from above. The coal conveyor becomes the backbone of an aerial circulation system, connecting to modified transformer towers which are immersed in a pine forest. Vehicular circulation is hidden behind homes, allowing visitors and residents to bypass roads entirely as they walk the site.

evolving shoreline: EXISTING CONDITIONS

Reconfiguration of steel sheet piling forces sand to accumulate at the base of each piling. Pioneer vegetation colonizes these embryo dunes, which are the ecological and structural basis of the dune ecosystem.

evolving shoreline: + 5 YEARS

Ecological evolution continues as dunes evolve and new vegetation is introduced; the dunes the basis for an ecosystem. Coal ash pits are transformed into pannes, interdunal wetlands unique to northern Indiana.

evolving shoreline: + 10 YEARS

CONTEXTUAL EVOLUTION All existing topography is used to determine ecological evolution: low lying areas become oak savannah, foredunes become pine forest, etc. Each ecological zone is developed in context, utilizing existing resources to rehabilitate the site. Coal plant infrastructure forms the backbone of new development: coal conveyors are the basis of a new green avenue along which all residents live. This allows the site to maintain its industrial heritage in an era of rehabilitation.

oak savannah & pine forest

slag settling pond

= revetment shoreline

beach & foredune

= coal conveyor system

aerial access system


PUBLIC AMENITY Public accessibility is integral to the success of the site. Once dunes are stabilized by vegetation, reuse of steel sheet piling creates new entrances to the restored beach. The public beach is stabilized by pockets of vegetation, integrating public and ecological function. Steel, wood, sand, and dunegrass create a material palette unique to the place.








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PRODUCTIVE DOWNTOWN: REIMAGINING MAIN STREET IN MUNCIE, INDIANA More than 60% of Main Street in Muncie, IN is fronted by parking lots. Adaptive reuse of existing structures creates a new basis for micro-industry and agriculture. Rather than utilizing undeveloped land, vacant lots, cantilevered platforms, and rooftops become the basis of small-scale production. This production is intended to serve as an antidote for rampant and irresponsible mass consumption, transforming this empty downtown into a thriving community.









washington the one ring

ring which rises into a pedestrian bridge over the E side of walnut street to provide a safe crossing as well as elevated space for occupation, not merely circulation (30’ wide); encloses interior space for civic use and a nchor while providing enclosed space for county building workers and small storefronts on either side underneath the ramp

public courtyard

enclosed public space whose character contrasts that of the neighboring hardscape; provides gateway to secondary corridor of pedestrian spaces


outdoor performance space directly outside of the muncie civic theatre; part of a network of public spaces as well as a tier of the vertical progression system

market building

market street

indoor market/commercial space with upper story homes and gardenspace

small plaza provides introduction to market street; a 20’ street flanked by movable market stalls and retail anchored by two small plazas

hotel&parking garage tiered hotel provides an anchor for the corner of elm and main and is located in close proximity to many public spaces; much of the structure is occupied by several floors of parking

working studios

cintas warehouse is divided into four buildings with a central courtyard, also creates on street interface w/ cornerstone; provides living/working space for artists


Main St. itself becomes the spine in a network of urban greenspace, replacing redundant parking lots and vacant land. This network is comprised of both pocket parks and small productive plots, both being accessible to all residents.

The streetscape introduces cycling and pedestrian infrastructure, allowing cyclists to ride in either direction in a maze of one-way roads. Vegetation and narrowed road lanes calm traffic, increasing safety.

STREET FIXTURES All street fixtures and furniture are unique to place. Each can also be transformed into multiple configurations, making Main Street’s market zone a truly multiuse place. Market stalls rest on the ground, holding produce and art, or rise upward to provide shade.

A market street and new market building replace the largest existing parking lot, and are directly accessible from Main Street. Lined by market stalls and places to buy and sell, the market street is a center for trade and vibrant life.

AMPHITHEATER Next to the Muncie Civic Theater, a parking lot becomes an amphitheater for outdoor performance. New homes perched on existing rooftops are accessed by a series of ramps or by ascending the stairs of the amphitheater. While market street functions as Main Street’s commercial center, the amphitheater is its civic and cultural heart.

WORLD TOUR IV: STUDY ABROAD DESIGN SKETCHING & DIAGRAMMING Over the course of this 16 week study abroad, I visited 26 nations and over 50 major cities on three continents. Globalization and design, history and theory of architecture, design sketching, and studio design were courses undertaken through the duration of the study abroad. Sketches shown were developed in the field and used as precedents for the development of a studio design project.

WORLD TOUR IV: RIVERFRONT REDEVELOPMENT IN MICHIGAN CITY, INDIANA Michigan City’s Trail Creek is guarded by rusty fences and filled with refuse: it has been forgotten. The waterfront is reimagined in this design as a vibrant pedestrian hub for a residential development. Creation of a multitude of spaces vastly different in character and environment form the waterfront. These spaces are easily accessible from existing neighborhoods, establishing the creek as an amenity for existing neighborhoods in addition to the new community.

EMBRACING THE RIVERFRONT Large pedestrian boulevards continue the existing street grid into the site and form the framework for pedestrian circulation and site organization. These boulevards lead directly to the water, allowing visitors and residents to experience the water of the creek which has, for so long, been inaccessible.



Patterns of drainage are based on existing topography to minimize the impact of site disturbance. In this tiered system, weirs prevent erosion and allow water to be purified in vegetative filters before it is released to the creek. These weirs maintain water in the system to be later used for irrigation of productive plots.

Where tiered drainage is not constructed, slopes are heavily vegetated by water tolerant species as well as those which are able to clean water through biofiltration. The extensive root systems of these plants prevent erosion, not allowing soil to enter the waterway. Small inlets increase the creek’s perimeter riparian zone and biofiltration potential.










RESIDENTIAL EXPERIENCE A variety of architectural form provides multiple living experiences for residents. Each building type maximizes density, creating more interstitial space for public and cultural amenities. Through the introduction of new housing, the site becomes the heart of a new community as well as being accessible to existing neighborhoods.




TIDAL LANDSCAPE: PUBLIC SPACE ON SEATTLE’S WATERFRONT The tides of Elliot Bay rise and fall up to 16 feet each day. As a component of a larger waterfront development, the definition of this public space evolves as the tides rise and fall. Eight separate tiers ensure that the change in landscape is perceptible to visitors. The tidal landscape is defined by the turning radii of canoes and kayaks, allowing recreational boaters to navigate the channels with ease. Bull kelp and other species grow onto the terraces, forming the transition from hardscape to Elliot Bay.

CROSS-MODES OF AMERICA: MONUMENT CIRCLE IDEAS COMPETITION This design was developed for the Monument Circle Ideas Competition in Indianapolis in collaboration with four other students. Monument Circle is redefined as a vibrant public space through the elimination of barriers on the groundplane and connection to existing cultural destinations. The intersection of the circle and each cross-street becomes a unique programmatic zone defined by vegetation, lighting, and accessibility. The monument is surrounded by a spiraling, wheelchair accessible ramp. Introduction of an urban forest creates a canopy for relief from the sun, and creates a green oasis in downtown Indianapolis.

SEASONAL VARIATION Accessibility and program throughout each season is integral to the creation of a unique and successful public space. By lowering the walls of each fountain to the ground, the base of the fountain can act as a market place when dry, skating rink in winter, or a fountain to play in during summer months. rendering by James DeChant

rendering by James DeChant/Dane Carlson

rendering by James DeChant

Dane Carlson Porfolio  

Landscape Architecture Portfolio; a compilation of work completed during Ball State University's BLA program

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