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A New Face for Industry:

Crooked Palm Village, Ventura

Josephine ‘Kalie’ Brown Landscape Architecture Senior Cal Poly San Luis CHROMA • 1Obispo Professor: Omar Faruque


A New Face for Industry Josephine ‘Kalie’ Brown Client: Petrochem Corporation/ Daly Group City of Ventura Rossi Enterprises

Thesis and Concept

As a developed society we have moved away from living in our natural environment and into a more synthetic, contrived landscape. We have become somewhat invasive species to the environment that surrounds us by disregarding the natural systems that we affect. As we become more aware of the consequences of this lifestyle, we have the opportunity to reconnect with the systems we have damaged. Designing based on community health, ecosystem integrity and economic viability is an engaging way to live within our local resources rather than having to look elsewere.

Project Background

Located on 4777 Crooked Palm Road, the closed Ventura Petrochem Refinery lies adjacent to Hwy 33 and the Ventura River and bike trail. In the 1950’s the refinery was in prime production and surrounded by active oil wells. By the 1980’s it needed to expand to continue production. The expansion plan was denied due to air pollution so the plant was shut down. The 96-acre industrial parcel has been officially out of use since 1984 and is polluted by refining chemicals, brine, oil, gas and various metal wastes. These wastes are carried out to the Pacific Ocean via the adjacent Ventura River. The holding tanks and refinery structures have not been dismantled and still contain chemical contaminants. Groundwater remediation has begun, but other remediation efforts are

Central Plaza at Crooked Palm Village stopped. Proposals for rezoning, city annexation and redevelopment have been proposed since the owner was not able to sell the land. Crooked Palm Village requires careful environmental design to be suitable for humans and natural systems alike. The natural Ventura River corridor runs along the western border of the site and is affected by the sites runoff, the erosion control measures implemented and the projected uses for the area. Much of the community is designed within the 100-year flood zone due to previous development encroaching onto the river’s natural watercourse, so many environmental and hydrologic solutions were inherent to the design. The site also is planning

to be re-zoned and annexed by the City of Ventura to serve as an economic catalyst. Innovation After studying various methods of contaminant removal I created a unique remediation design that allows for the aesthetic and environmental advantages of phytoremediation to be integrated into the developed landscape to provide health to the community while mitigating environmental contaminants and hazards. Remediating and redesigning the polluted space will not only improve the health of the site, but it will provide sustainable living for the community. CHROMA • 3


Brooks Drive Entry Rolling Grass Hilss (set)

Bus stop/Pedestrian Entry

Sound Berm

Petro Blvd. Entry Brooks Drive Entry

Commercial/ Office

Student Dorms

Student Dorms w/ Student Shopping Studios below Parterre Style (set)

Insitute Plaza

Canada Larga River Resotred

Canada Larga Park

Orchard Amphitheater (set)

Crooked Palm Village Master Plan


Exsisting Brooks Institute

Goals • Remediate the land and surrounding watershed for human and ecological health • Design a sustainable and connected mixeduse community that ransitions into the broader environment and community


Anchor Commercial

Canada Larga Park

Maintained Oak Grassland (set)

• Design a mixed transit circulation system to provide auto-alternative access to and through the community • Design the community to function as a functioning hydrologic and ecologic system • Work with the land and its resources to develop a community recreation plan • Preserve the natural history and oil industry history on the site • Use alternative safety measures and techniques to bring a safe community atmosphere to the area


To ecologically remediate and redevelop the abandoned Petrochem Refinery and expand the adjacent Brooks Institute in Ventura County as an environmentally viable housing and university community and recreation area while conserving the site’s industrial and natural heritage.

Student Dorms

Description To acheive these goals the design leaves programmed space for natural hydrologic cycles to run their cycle without being at expense the the inhabitants quality of life. There is somewhere for every demographic to find peace in nature and community, while allowing room for the sites native inhabitants to recolonize. After studying native plants and animals to the area and the oil industries history in the area, the design reflects the two as viable components from the past as a part of the future development.


Succulent Gravel Garden (set)

Farmer’s M Walk

Crooked Palm Village Early Concept

Light Industry/ Offices Restored Manuel Creetk

Mixed Use

Central Plaza

High Density Housing

Commercial/ Office

Anchor Commercial

Residential Open Space

Manuel Park

Botanic Garden

Medium Density Housing Holding Tank Agriculture Plots Organic Agriculture River Paths Maintained Oak Grassland

Environmental Analysis

The site is being combined with the adjacent Brooks Institue, which has plans to quadruple its student population. The site is set at the base of the coastal mountains to the west and Hwy 33 to the east. The site is proposed for residential housing, commercial, office space, recreational space and mixed uses. The site will be annexxed by the city by the Summer or Fall of 2011. It is currently in the city’s Sphere of Influence. • 136 acres to be developed • oriented north to south: approximately 1 mile long by 1/4 mile wide • the western portion of • oriented north to south: approximately 1

Hyperaccululator Clusters

Orchard Sculpture Walk

Poplar Amphitheater

mile long by 1/4 mile wide • the western portion of the site is protected by SOAR • views to the east and west are naturally vegetated or orchard covered mountains Elements • Ojai/Ventura Bike Trail • Hwy 33 • Ventura River • Manuel Creek • Canada Larga River • Brooks Institute • Petrochem Structures • Polluted Soils



Medium Density Housing

Topography The down gradient flows SW to the Ventura river so most phytoremediation will happen in that corner of the site. Crooked Palm Road is the high point and the Ventura River holds the lowest point near the site and will collect all runoff that is not infiltrated within the site.


nd Berm

Petro Blvd. Entry Bus stop/Pedestrian Entry



The bio-remediation process will begin with mass plantings of hyper-aclumulators and regrading to allow groundwater to flow down the site’s historic down slope and be cleansed by the hyperacumulators. Mass plantings of remediatory plants such as Achellia millefolium will be Development and Circulation Diagram planted and later extracted as toxic waste.

Hydrology Water filtration and flow is crucial to the site’s environmental viability. All run off is filtered through either swales, bio-detention ponds, or rain gardens before fully percolating into the ground water or being piped into the river. The hydrology plan below shows the interconnected swales and biodetention ponds. The darkest green is the more environmentally sensitive the area and the lighter is more developed. The detention ponds along the rivers serve to filter runoff, provide open space for recreation and mitigate floods as overflow ponds.


Open Space The core of this project is the connected open space. Each resident, visitor and student has ample and equal access to a variety of open space experiences, unique to the Ventura River area. The open space is connected by a pedestrian spine runnig through the site’s mile length. The open spaces conect for accessibility, but also for hydrologic flood mitigation and remediation efforts. The open space doubles as recreation and gathering space as well as runoff filtration and detention areas. Each space is connected by circulation, water and activities.

Historical Preservation The oil industry has been an important part of our history and evolution in the U.S., but as we advance our technologies and awareness of our affect on the land, we must balance heavy industry with environmental and social needs. Crooked Palm Village does not erase the site’s history, but reduces its scars and pays respect to the productivity of the site’s past.

Hydrology Diagram (below)

Residential and Community

The village is a place for all types of people to take pride in living within a sustainable environment. The balance of living, working, shopping and recreating in the same space creates aims to create a strong community aesthetic. University Life The Brooks Film Institute is planning the quadruple its student population and will need to expand it campus and living quarters. The student village is connected to the larger community through auto and pedestrian access through the Institute. A main plaza serves as a student gathering and event space with outdoor eating and sweeping swales. The student housing is high density dormitories to preserve open space opportunityies and to cluster development away from flood danger. Students will live in an outdoor focused, artistic community where film and photo opportunities surround them. After speaking with the developer, they expressed an interest in themed facades, so a series of streetscapes form a variety of film ready

Brooks Union Plaza Section

opportunities. The developed portion of the site is surrounded by the primary auto circulation and detention ponds to prevent flood waters from entering the site. The Canada Larga River is known to flood the Brooks site so the road and detention pond is depressed to mitigate any flood dangers. The surrounding open space has been sectioned into a themed arboretum where each consecutive garden inspires a new set for film and photography. Each space in the arboretum is moldable for different artistic expressions, but retains ethic of ecological viability. LA Boulevard Detail Community Public Spaces Living and working in your community takes on a new meaning through a walkable pedestrian core that leads to commercial and employment opportunities. The ‘quaint’ scale of the buildings and paths brings the community together and emphasizes cultural, arts and farmer’s markets. The local agriculture is just a step away from the market space and modern ‘Spanish” style plaza where local residents of all ages, along with the occasional tourist, can gather, shop and dine.

Light Industry and Commercial A new type of light industrial park will allow outdoor experiences for employees to enjoy on their breaks and reduce envrionmental impact by incorporating greenroofs, parking structures, solar panels and pervious paving The zoning of this industrial park is within a half mile of housing so the residents can live and work in their own neighborhood. A pedestrian and vehicular access bridge connects the two zones safely. The bridge is constructed out of exsisting steel structures from the refinery.


Environmental Interaction

Living ‘within’ an ecosystem means that resident must know the limits, benefits and resources of their environment. This means that opportunity for environmental interaction and community education are crucial components to the community design. Each space is designed to guide the resident or visitor to


experience a wholistic way of living. Views of the surrounding natural landscape, access the the rivers, plentiful common space and carefully designed hydrologic elements inspire appreciation for the environment. Agriculture Growing and selling food locally cuts down on transportation pollution and maony organic techniques reduce the need for pestiides and herbicides. Bringing back hedgerows and

alternating crops reduces pest issues and prevents a monocultural landscape. A local foods market, flower shop, restaurants and farmer’s market venue are in close vicinity to the agricultureal area to ensure a direct connection to the locally grown food. Community and Education Centers The first step to ensuring the communities stong environmental ethic is educating them on sustainable practices, ecology and healthy living. The main education building is centered between the village and university housing for

easy access for everyone. The village also has a community center for smaller scale educational events and community gatherings. These elements give a unique identity to the village beyond the physical space towards a healthier way of life.

Orchard Sculpture Walk To retain the site’s historical character, some of the Petrochem structures are retained and repurposed for recreational use. These structures are placed within a citrus orchard reflecting the site’s surrounding landuses, a combination of agriculture and industry. The

orchard walk is a maleable space where the structures uses and appearances can evolve as the site ages. Access from the bike trail into the site is focused through the agriculture and orchard areas. Bikers can stop for a peaceful rest among the citrus scents and the cool sea breeze. CHROMA • 9

Concluding Remarks

I aspire to create a balance between humans, the urban landscape and the natural landscape through my designs and restoration projects. I hope to ensure that people fully appreciate, understand and enjoy the story of spaces that surround them. Through studying landscape architecture we are in the unique position of being able to improve both human and environmental issues. My focus for the future is to design “complete” projects that encompass progress towards a healthier world. Josephine ‘Kalie’ Brown Landscape Architecture Senior Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Senior Studio: Summer/Fall 2010 Consulting Professor: Omar Faruque 10 • CHROMA

Brooks/Petrochem Redevelopment Landscape Architecture Capstone Project  

Kalie Brown's Capstone Project from winter 2010 -advisor: Omar Faruque -site: Petrochem Refinery in Ventura County, California -Brownfield R...

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