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Resilient Improvisation: Parking lot explorations of the human relationship with time

Margaret Ann Herndon


Resilient Improvisation: Parking lot explorations of the human relationship with time by Margaret Herndon

Thesis submitted to the faculty of the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of MASTER OF LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE June 2010 Major Professor: Laurel McSherry

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Resilient Improvisation:

Parking lot explorations of the human relationship with time

Margaret Herndon

Abstract Designers and Scientists are becoming increasingly aware of the need to create places that house multiple uses. Especially in urban areas open space is so valuable and there are so many activities that people like to engage in that temporary event spaces are becoming increasingly popular. Open spaces that are paved are especially popular for events such as markets, sports fields, and concerts. In the case of my 11-acre site in Chinatown, it is used for parking during the weekdays and is often closed completely to parking in order to house visiting events. In the past year it hosted a Trapeze School, a Tennis Tournament, the DC 101 Chili Cookoff and Rock Concert, and the Avon Walk for Cancer Wellness Village. The most desirable aspect of parking lots-their flexible nature-is also a challenge to designers whose work it is to create spaces of enclo

View of Center City Parking looking west from the 15th floor of the Renaissance Hotel

sure and path sequences desirable for human habitation. This thesis proposes that Landscape Architects engage in parking lot design to allow maximum flexibility of use while also providing traditional park-like structure. My design proposal provides one example of how to achieve this goal.

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Acknowledgements This project, on its surface, chronicles the redesign of a parking lot in Washington DC. Underneath that layer, however, is the story of my wrestlings with ideas of process and form, the wild and the cultivated, beauty, pattern, context, and the urban-rural continuum. I was particularly inspired through this process by the writings of JB Jackson, Walter Hood, Nina-Marie Lister, Marc Trieb, Anuradha Mathur, James Corner, Alexander Felson, Stewart Pickett, and Ed Ruscha. I would like to thank Laurel McSherry, my major professor, for working through this process with me. For her insights into landscape design, her hospitality, and her perseverance through nights and weekends I am grateful. I would also like to thank Brian Katen for giving great concrete advise and Martin Rein-Cano for boldly sticking up for what my site has going for it. Paul Emmons also deserves thanks for his calm and elo quently contributions. My classmate friends offered continual technical and interpersonal support, and Marshall hung in there with me through thick and thin. iv


List of Illustrations: Cover Page iii Page 1 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6

Page 7

Page 8 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 17 Page 19 Page 20 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 45 Page 46

1:1 model of proposed parking layout View of site looking west from the 15th floor of the Renaissance Hotel Cross sectional view of an urban environment outside of Washington DC illustrating temporal relationships in the human occupied landscape. Illustration of the standard to which this piece should always be played. This score is adaptable (resilient?) These still sequences illustrate fluid and spontaneous movements that will never be played the same way twice. Armature wire provides the support for clay additions, which can take virtually any shape. James Corner’s proposal for the Downsview park design included adaptive management to promote increased species richness and diversity. Bernard Tschumi’s design for Parc de la Villette includes a series of points, lines, and surfaces which act as non-hierarchical layers which provide adaptable infrastructure. Rem Koolhaas’s design proposal includes a time-lapse recipe to grow the large park in stages into a diverse, multi-use landscape. Site context: The dark blocks house institutions, museums and art galleries, the dark pink blocks house municipal buildings, and the light pink blocks house federal government buildings. Site context at a smaller scale: Similarly, the dark color represents museums and art galleries, the dark pink represents municipal buildings, the light pink represents federal buildings, the yellow shows hotels, and the blue shows restaurants. Aerial view of Center City Parking. Park Size Comparisons Case study armature comparisons Site armature comparisons Event times. Daily and Yearly First Scheme: nested parking does not use entire site Second Scheme: unrelated pattern is non-functional Third Scheme: Events define parking layout Potentially confusing parking layout Setting first major guideline Setting perpendicular guideline Setting diagonal guidelines Views from street level Filling in with parking stalls Views from above Trees will ultimately be planted where all colors converge The green planting strip frames pedestrian paths in white an the final collapsed parking layout combination. Green circles represent trees, which are planted where all four layers converge on a point. Detail where path meets parking stall. Detail where event meets drive lane. New cars in port, Southern California Parking Lot, Southern California

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Table of Contents Title Page

ii

Abstract

iii

Acknowledgments

iv

List of Illustrations

v

Table of Contents

vi

Time in the Urban Setting Human relationships with time and space Improvisation Definitions

1-6

Armature and Event Site Context Case Studies Site Studies Comparisons/Conclusions

7-16

Site Matters 17-18 Known variables- opportunities and constraints Design Development Pattern Events define parking Parking defines events Parking defines events revised

19-34

Final Design Tennis Trapeze Walk for Cancer Chili Cookoff

35-44

Conclusions

45-46

Appendix Bibliography

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Time in the urban setting: Human relationships with time and place “St. Augustine appears to have been the first thinker to have carefully investigated the consequences of our actual experience of time being confined to the present instant. He came to the conclusion that our ideas of past and future must depend (both) on our consciousness of memory as well as our sense of expectation. In regarding time from this psychological point of view the primary concept is the instant rather than the duration.�1

My thesis investigation began with an exploration of contemporary relationships between people and time in the urban landscape. The psychological point of view Augustine identifies

that preferences our concept of the instant over our concept of the duration can be seen today in our extremely mobile and fast-paced society. On one hand, human-inhabited landscapes are being constructed to be as durable as possible-they are increasingly commodified, monitored, and constructed in ways to discourage spontaneous appropriation and unplanned transformation.2 At the same time, designers and scientists are recognizing that living systems (whether urban or rural) are open, complex, self-organizing, and subject to sudden but regular periods of dynamic, unpredictable change.3 1 2 3

Whitrow, JG. Time in History. Oxford University Press, New York. 1989. Print. Mathur, Anuradha. Neither Wilderness nor Home, in Corner, James ed. Recovering Landscape Essays in Contemporary Landscape Architecture. Princeton Architectural Press. 1999. Print. Lister, Nina-Marie

Fig. 1. This diagram is a cross sectional view of an urban environment outside of Washington DC. It illustrates temporal relationships in the human-occupied landscape. The ages of the landscape features as well as the length of an average human visit in those places reveal dynamic, complex, and self-organizing tendencies. 1


Resilience, rather than stability, is the new end goal when designing an urban (or rural) landscape, and some combination of the concepts of instant and duration (temporality

and permanence) must come together if we hope to contribute to a richer and more adaptable society. Examples of this contemporary juxtaposition of the temporal and the durable are numerous. The Sunday morning farmer’s market in Dupont Circle, the improvisational weekly drum circle in Meridian Hill Park, and Art-o-Matic, a 3-day annual art show in a newly constructed building that hasn’t been opened to for business yet come to mind. These spontaneous, temporary, self-organizing events provide contrast to over-programmed urban environments. And even though they are improvisational, if all we have is now, as Augustine suggests, what is the role of design at the intersection of the durable and the instantaneous? Is it possible to design armatures that are rigid enough to provide traditional hierarchical spaces while being flexible enough to accommodate multiple uses and rotating events?

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Time in the urban setting: Improvisation One of the first examples of a culture shift towards improvisation can be seen in music. It used to be that a Baroque score, for example, was written to be followed exactly. The composition would not vary from performance to performance. The beginning of the Jazz age, however, turned the rules around, valuing improvisation and open endedness over a “perfect� performance that met a standard. With Jazz, some rules (the musical equivalent of armature) are established and followed, but depending on the moment of presentation the sounds are variable. This culture shift involving time and the human-occupied landscape uses a few key vocabulary words, most of which have to do with re-defining our relationships with infrastructure.

Illustration of the standard to which this piece should always be played. Source: www.freescores.com

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This score is adaptable (resilient?) Source: www.jacop.net

These still sequences illustrate fluid and spontaneous movements that will never be played the same way twice. Source: Noise Orders, by Dan Brown


Time in the urban setting:

Definitions

ARMATURE:

The fixed design around which everything else operates. In sculpture, the armature is often made of heavy, dark aluminum wire which is stiff, but can be bent and twisted into shape without much difficulty. The wire is affixed to a base which is usually made of wood. The artist then begins fleshing out the sculpture by adding wax or clay over the wire. In a designed landscape, armature is the support, structure, and stability in a composition that has other, flexible parts. Designers create armature and users, during events, flesh it out to create the overall experience.

EVENT:

An even is something that happens at a given place and time, a phenomenon located at a single point in space-time; the fundamental observational entity in relativity theory.

RESILIENCE:

The ability of a system to return to stasis following a disturbance or change. Armature wire provides the support for clay additions, which can take virtually any shape.

IMPROVISE: To compose, recite, play, or sing extemporaneously. To make, invent, or arrange

Source: www.studioartshop.com/acatalog/4730.jpg

off-hand. To make or fabricate out of what is conveniently on hand.

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Time in the urban setting: Examples Improvisation and adaptation are also becoming critical in the field of Landscape Architecture. Because Landscape Architects work in human-inhabited environments that are constantly changing, we have a unique opportunity to affect both natural and cultural systems. Scientists and designers are working together on a number of contemporary projects to design environments that are capable of artful improvisation and adaptation, both culturally and ecologically. Emergent design, adaptive management, and use and reuse are all schemes which are designed to change over time. Designs for the Downsview Park competition, for example, proposed initial propagation followed by adaptation, the Fresh Kills project in New York similarly relies on predictable (but not fixed) design over time, and Parc de la Villette is a series of non-contextual, non-hierarchical layers that intersect at random to create new and unexpected relationships.

James Corner’s proposal for the Downsview park design included adaptive management to promote increased species richness and diversity. Source: Czerniak, Large Parks.

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Bernard Tschumi’s design for Parc de la Villette includes a series of points, lines, and surfaces which act as non-hierarchical layers which provide adaptable infrastructure. Rem Koolhaas’s design proposal includes a time-lapse recipe to grow the large park in stages into a diverse, multi-use landscape.

Source: Tschumi, Cinégramme folie: le Parc de la Villette

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Source: Czerniak, Case: Downsview Park Toronto


Armature and Event:

Site Context

My site is an 11 acre parking lot in Chinatown. It is located at the center of

Site

Washington which is a transitory city and is surrounded by buildings that house constantly changing events. Three large hotels, the new convention center and the Verizon Center all either border Center City parking or are within a three minute walk from it. This site is a perfect example of an urban place that resists over-programming Fig. 2 Site context: The dark blocks house institutions, museums and art galleries, the dark pink blocks house municipal buildings, and the light pink blocks house federal government buildings.

and commodification. It is a temporary placeholder for condo’s that will go up in the future but in the meantime, it hosts the city’s improvisational performances. It is a parking lot by day, and a temporary event space by night or at whatever other times of the day or year are important to event organizers. Within the past year it has housed a trapeze school, a tennis tournament, a Walk for Cancer gathering space and a chili cook off and rock concert. The site is incredibly resilient and can house almost any type of event. It is also, unfortunately, a very bland and formless landscape space. As a student of Landscape Architecture, this site provides the opportunity to examine ways

Site

to encourage flexible, resilient spaces in the city that are also beautiful and creatively designed. My challenge was to maintain the park’s flexible characteristics while simultaneously introducing sufficient formal elements to provide a park-like, rather than a parking-lot like experience to its users.

Fig. 3 Site context at a smaller scale: Similarly, the dark color represents museums and art galleries, the dark pink represents municipal buildings, the light pink represents federal buildings, the yellow shows hotels, and the blue shows restaurants.

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Aerial view of Center City Parking. Source: Google Earth.

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Armature and Event:

Case studies-Events

In order to understand the relationship between armature and event in traditionally designed parks, I looked at some case studies around the world. After some brainstorming I narrowed down the places where armature meets event to be on floors, paths, and within enclosure. The sketches show what is happening while the black and white size comparison charts show where the events are happening.

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Armature and Event:

Site studies-events

Following my case study investigation I looked at the temporary events that hap pen on my site and found the same armature categories with much more userdefined materials. Enclosure, for example, is created by pop-up tents and cars, rather than by allees of trees and sides of buildings. Paths are almost completely user defined, especially pedestrian paths, and the floor, which is asphalt on my site, can be used for virtually any outdoor use for crowds under 20,000 people. Again, the sketches show what is happening while the black and white size comparison charts show where the events are happening.

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Armature and Event:

Comparisons-Armature

This drawing shows size comparisons between my site and my case studies. It also reveals the relatively loose armature structure of my site in relation to those of my case studies.

Soccer National Mall

Ecliptic

Campo de’ Fiore

The High Line

Central Park

ry

nda

Bou Site Plantings Bus stops

Parking

Parking

Raised Path

Site

gs ntin Pla

Plantings

Plantings

Parc de la Villette The Old Convention Center

Figure 4. Park Size Comparisons

Scale 1”=50’

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Armature and Event:

Case Studies

Floor

Path

Enclosure

Seating

Comparisons-Armature

Movable

Fixed

Buildings

Trees Topography

Fixed

Movable

Movable or Fixed

Different Materials achieve similar effects

Multi Use Hierarchical

Paths have Use and Character

Floors Define Event Space boundaries

Inherited

Trees

Topography Trees Ceiling

Single Use Hierarchical

Single Use

Designed

Trees Buildings Topography

Single Use Thematic

Designed

Designed

Railings

Single Use

Multi Use Hierarchical

Inherited

Paths can be the sites of events as well as the infrastructure for events. Floor boundaries are either inherited or designed

Designed

Designed

Enclosure is either Constructed (walls, ceilings, topo, railings), or Planted (trees and hedgerows)

Inherited

Floors can be a stage for changing events.

Observations regarding Armature and Event Campo de’ Fiore

Central Park

National Mall Ecliptic

Parc de la Villette Schouwburgplein The High Line

Figure 4. Case study armature comparisons 13

Downsview


Floor

Path

Enclosure

Seating

Site User defined except when determined by game rules. Temporary except at bus stops

Constructed: Tents, painted lines, bus stops, cars Planted: Grass

Historic infrastructure and variable bus lines.

In the absence of path armature, people will create it. Different events can occur on the same floor over time.

Asphalt Parking is prioritzed when events are absent.

Armature and Event are scale dependent. Center City Parking Walk for Cancer

Chili Cook off

Trapeze School

Tennis Tournament Bus Stop

Figure 5. Site armature comparisons 14

History

Synthesis


Armature and Event:

Synthesis and Conclusions

The most distilled synthesis of the analysis of my case studies is this:

Floors, Paths, and Enclosure work together in parks to define event space boundaries. The key details behind this synthesis are: 1. The combination of floors and walls define event space boundaries. 2. Different “wall� materials can achieve similar effects. 3. Floors can be the stage for changing events 4. Paths have hierarchy, use and character and can be used as infrastructure for events or as event spaces themselves. 5. In the absence of path armature, people will create their own.

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After having synthesized this information I began the preliminary design process. Given that the flexibility of my site is one of its most desirable character istics, I set out to design an armature that would maintain maximum flexibility while also allowing for enclosure, usable and characterful paths, and floors that define event space boundaries. The materials I allowed myself at first were asphalt, paint, and cars.1

1 Martin Rein Cano, from Topotek in Germany came to my desk at this point and reminded me that if I believe that site matters, I should use the materials that are currently native to the place. Since my main objective with this project is to create a resilient armature for the temporary events that already happen here, I am not trying to change the parking lot’s character. He advised against “dressing the site up” with elaborate plantings and interesting “water features,” and suggested that I use paint, asphalt, and cars boldly to allow the site to express itself for what it is.

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Site Matters

Known variables- opportunities and constraints

Before beginning to draw, I gathered all of the information I had about the events that have occurred on site over the past year including the times of year and the times of day and the duration of each. I also considered the square footage requirements for each event based on the # of attendees. Some of the events had pre-defined spatial components and orientations, including the trapeze school and the tennis tournaments. The trapeze school also had to be able to happen simultaneously with all events because of its long duration. It also occurred to me that crowds need places to sit and eat as well as rest rooms, so I calculated those into my “equation.� The Chili Cookoff and the Walk for Cancer have self-supplying places to sit and eat, but the Tennis Tour nament and the Trapeze school had to have temporary ones designed in. The chart on the right also displays the total number of parking stalls for the design that eventually emerged from this process. 12am

1am

2am

3am

4am

5am

6am

7am

8am

9am

10am

11am

12pm

1pm

2pm

3pm

4pm

5pm

6pm

7pm

8pm

9pm

10pm

11pm Cirque du Soleil

Walk for Cancer Chili Cook-off

Reggae Fest Holiday Market

Washington Kastles Tennis

Ice Skating Rink Soccer Field

Trapeze School Film Bolt Bus

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

8 yr

10 yr

12 yr

14 yr

16 yr

18 yr

20 yr

22yr

Figure 6. Event times, daily and yearly

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2yr

4 yr

6 yr


Event

Population

Site requirements

Orientation/Form

Trapeze School

10-15 people

Flat/open

East/West Rectangular

Walk for Cancer

15,000 people

Accessible for lg. truck deliveries

�Wellness village� grid

Chili Cookoff

110,000 people

Accessible for lg. truck deliveries Must accommodate concert stage Square with open center

Tennis Tournament

2,100 people

Parking stats

Green

1,260 spaces

Orange

894 spaces

Red

898 spaces

Purple

877 spaces

Flat/open above court Accessible for lg. truck deliveries

North/south rectangular

Restroom Requirements (1/300ppl)

Additional spaces to eat/sit?

Trapeze School Walk for Cancer Chili Cookoff Tennis Tournament

Trapeze School Walk for Cancer Chili Cookoff Tennis Tournament

1 50 370 7

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yes no no yes


Design Development

Unrelated pattern

!"#$%&'$()*(+,(+%-#$'./('$%&+ I started out with a main idea: If each event were assigned a paint color, and each paint color were set up in a different orientation, it would be possible to create different “types” of parking that could be uniquely suited to a variety

of events at different times. The floor and the walls would work together to '$()*(+,(+%-#$'./('$%&+-0#,+1(!"#$%&create enclosure, but they would be completely temporary elements. The

cars tightly together in a pattern that can be customized to each event, a temporary but resilient armature can be created.

Monday, cars arriving on site would be directed by the parking attendant to use the green spaces. If tennis and trapeze were happening simultaneously,

%&'$()*(+,(+%-#$'./('$%&+-0#,+1(!"#$%&-

tennis could be on green and trapeze could be on blue and people would choose their parking color based on their event.

The first design scheme I came up with was one that tried to use as little area as possible in the hope that the rest of the site might be turned into a “park,” but that was sort of cheating because it didn’t take up the whole site.

The second scheme that didn’t work was flawed because it consisted of a pat tern I came up with in my mind and placed on the site but it turned out to be non-functional and unrelated to the site and its context.

!"#$%&'$()*(+,(+%-#$'./('$%&+-0#,+1(!"#$%&-

If the tennis tournament, for example, were set up on the green orientation on

!"#$%&'$()*(+,(+%-#$'./('$%&+-0#,+1(!"#$%&First Scheme: nested parking does not use entire site

Second Scheme: unrelated pattern is non-functional

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-#$'./('$%&+-0#,+1(!"#$%&-

use cars themselves to create the “walls” of the event space. By parking

!"#$%&'$()*(+,(+%-#$'./('$%&+-0#,+1(!"#$%&-

best way this could be possible is to suggest different floor “patterns,” and


Design Development

Events determine parking layout

After committing to the idea of using the entire site for parking, my first serious idea was to allow the square footages of the event spaces to define where the parking would be allowed. I also wanted to allow each event to be capable of happening simultaneously while creating as much enclosure as possible with cars. The minimum amount of enclosure I allowed for this scheme was one row of cars. I began by assigning each of the square footages for each event with three different shapes and then I analyzed all of the possible

!"#$%&'$()*(+,(+%-#$'./('$%&+-0#,+1(!"#$%&-

shape combinations. After considering all the options, I chose the best fit (there were only four possible combinations that !"#$%&'$()*(+,(+%-#$'./('$%&+-0#,+1(!"#$%&-

!"#$%&'$()*(+,(+%-#$'./('$%&+-0#,+1(!"#$%&-

Third Scheme: Events define parking layout

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!"#$%&'$()*(+,(+%-#$'./('$%&+-0#,+1(!"#$%&-

would fit on the site and one was clearly the best).


In this scheme the trapeze event is capable of being separated from the others quite easily and it is theoretically possible that all the events could be accommodated on site simultaneously. The thin colored lines represent 9’ pedestrian paths and the wavy lines represent 18’ pedestrian paths. These are the main pedestrian collectors. Individually each layer looks plausible, but when they are collapsed on top of each other the lines get potentially hard to read. This scheme led me to consider creating a parking layout that could be read as a whole.

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Potentially confusing parking layout 22


Setting first major guideline

Setting perpendicular guideline

Views from street level

Setting diagonal guidelines

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Filling in with parking stalls

Before proceeding any further with the overlapping parking idea I decided to test whether it would be possible to “read” a layout if it were more regularly arranged. These images are the result of an experiment through which I convinced myself that it would be possible to read colored parking lines juxtaposed on top of each other, especially if they were 4” wide rather than the approximately 1” I was working with.

Views from above

Trees will ultimately be planted where all colors converge 24


Design Development

Parking drives event space layout

Knowing that a layout that is legible as a whole would be more navigable by car, I laid down a field of squares, allowing the parking layout to drive the event locations. The horizontal grid was composed of 9’x9’ squares so that any combination of two of them would equal the standard dimension of a parking stall which is 9’x 18’. On top of this I laid out a diagonal grid to create a matrix that has four possible orientations. This “field of parking” scheme had a few advantages. Besides being readable as a whole, it suggests spaces for different types of events, (sporting, market, crowd gathering, and trapeze flying, etc).

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Superimposing the site on the grid provides guidelines for future design decisions.

Adding a perimeter planting strip allows the designer to guide pedestrians and vehicles to convenient entry and exit points. It also allow for the possibility of increased ecological services such as wildlife habitat and storm-water management. A perimeter access road is also added along with a central road where I st. once ran.

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After the perimeter planting and the access roads are added, horizontal-vertical parking is put in place and diagonal parking is also added.

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The resulting parking creates a legible pattern and trees are added where all four colors intersect. The parking lot looks good this way, but because the stalls are laid out so regularly, the aisles end up being 63’ wide, which is not functional. Other options will need to be considered.

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Design Development

Parking drives event space layout - revised

Returning to the original grid, perimeter planting, and primary access roads, I chose to locate pedestrian paths as well prior to laying out a revised parking scheme. I configured a potential event space layout and used that as one aspect of a guide for pedestrian pathways.

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30


Design Development

Parking drives event space layout - revised

From there I was able to re-align the grid so that it is less regular but more functional. This layout provides typical 27’ drive lanes and double-loaded, perpendicular parking stalls. I still added trees where all four colors met but because of the off-set nature of the orientation of the stalls, the created a less regular pattern. It occurred to me to make the event floors more dynamic than just simple rectangles inserted into the layout, so I figured out a scheme by which the Trapeze school could be located in the southwest corner of the site to be selfcontained, the tennis tournament fit north to south where it interfered with the fewest number of trees, the Walk for Cancer surrounded the long pedestrian allee, and the Chili Cookoff and Rock Concert fit diagonally in the most regular shape that allowed for the greatest amount of enclosure by cars. It is worth mentioning that the diagonal spaces are a few feet larger than the horizontal and vertical spaces which gave me more reason to put the events that require the most “accessories�-grill, beach chairs, mini-tents, etc. to be located in the most generously sized stalls. The following pages illustrate the process of locating each event. The green planting strip frames pedestrian paths in white on the final collapsed parking layout combination.

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Green circles represent trees, which are planted where all four layers converge on a point.

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During the process of citing each event it occurred to me that the temporary places for eating and resting which are required for the Trapeze school and the Tennis tournament should be provided by snack trucks. This is in keeping

Multi station entrance and exit

with the idea that floors and walls work together to create enclosure, but must be

Snack trucks

completely temporary to maintain maximum flexibility. The temporary restrooms, of course, have always been provided by porta johns

Space to sit and eat

and I did not propose any modifications to that rule. In order for these elements to contribute to the overall site armature, however, I placed them carefully to help create mini-rooms and wayfinding markers. This was especially effective on the diagonal parking schemes where many stalls were cut off by pedestrian paths. In these leftover spaces I located the porta johns at the exterior end of the stall to allow the path to retain its boundaries while simultaneously allowing a certain added amount of privacy, or resting area to the person exiting the path for the porta john. The other very logical place to add this necessity is in the dead end space that is created when the event floor intersects the parking drive lane. Traditionally a “dead space� is left to allow cars the opportunity to make a 3

Cars

Johns

point turn. I left the space, but rather than keeping it empty, I added porta johns on the interiors of these spaces, allowing room for a car turn around, but not wasting the space otherwise.

Detail where path meets 33 parking stall.

Detail where event meets drive lane.


Final Design

Armature and Event

Even though its not a conventional pattern, this scheme is legible as a whole. And even though they don’t line up in neat rows, these trees almost define their own planting spaces, which is beautiful in a bottom-up sort of a way rather than a top-down solution. When the lot is empty, its an interesting composition that can be read by people in offices and hotels high above the site, and when its full (of cars and events), it will be read as a shifting mosaic of urban elements.

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Final Design

Trapeze School

The following pages show how the designs for each parking “type� emerged from concept into form. Note the grey and green lunch trucks, the blue porta johns, and the green temporary seating that occurs in each scheme.

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36


Final Design

Tennis Tournament

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38


Final Design

Walk for Cancer Wellness Village

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40


Final Design

Chili Cookoff and Rock Concert

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Final Design

Model- Views along major pedestrian axis

After citing each event and providing places to sit, eat, and rest where appropriate I considered the combined issues of topography and hydrology. Besides showing views along the major pedestrian axis on site, this model illustrates a system of swales that were created to direct stormwater into the tree spaces. I converted the parking lot lines that house trees into trench drains that are cut perpendicular to the flow of water with the goal of catching as much storm runoff as possible. the white chalk lines show where the planting median is, and in the southeast corner of the site, where it is possible, that median doubles as a 4’ deep trench and retaining pond. The lower right hand image shows where a pedestrian bridge is constructed to allow access onto the site. By manipulating the terrain in this way it is possible for this site to hold its own runoff in a 10 year storm event (see the appendix for calculations).

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Conclusion

Matrix within matrix within matrix

In 1967, Edward Ruscha, a painter, photographer and print maker from Nebraska illustrated a book called 34 Parking Lots. The images in that book (some of which are on the facing page) allowed me to see painted lines, asphalt, and cars in a different light. Parking lots from this perspective are places that fill and empty multiple times a day in time with human habitation of a landscape. Looking at these empty and full lots, I can almost hear a jazz rhythm with an unpredictable tempo playing in the background to the beat of the cars coming and going across the asphalt. Another thing Ruscha said about parking lots was that he was as intrigued by the oil spots that were left in the stalls after the car had gone as he was by how the lines were painted and how the cars interfaced with the lines. To me, these ideas of the temporary, the durable, and the remnant are metaphors and illustrations of the contemporary relationships humans have with time in the landscape, whether urban or rural. Ruscha said that “art has to be something that makes you scratch your head,� and I agree. As much as I dislike inhabiting parking lots, and as much as I never dreamed of trying to design one, the idea of transforming humble urban materials

New cars in port, Southern California Source: Google earth

into a place that is capable of shifting like a mosaic from moment to moment in a highly inhabitable way truly appeals to me. 45


Parking Lot, Southern California Source: Ruscha, Thirty Four Parking Lots Parking Lot, Southern California Source: Ruscha, Thirty Four Parking Lots

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Appendix

Hydrology Calculations: Given: 1 Acre = 43,560 sf Site = 11 acres (479,160 sf) 1 yr. storm in Alexandria is 2.6” = (.216’)/hr of rain = .216/3600sec.hr = .00006’/sec 2 yr. storm 3.5” 10 yr. storm 5.5” Hydraulic Length = 503’ Average Slope = 2% Cover Factor for Asphalt = .8 Time of Concentration = 20 min or 1200 sec

(cover factor times square root of Hydraulic Length)

Calculations: Known: Drainage Swales and tree spaces hold 29,370 cf of runoff Peak Rate of Runoff = area(cover factor)(intensity) 479,160sf(.8)(.00006’/sec) = 23cf/s Total cf for 20 min rain event (1 yr. storm) = (23)(60)(20) = 2760 cf (roughly 102 pickup truck beds full of water) Total cf for 20 min rain event (2 yr. storm) = (31)(60)(20) = 3728 cf (roughly 138 pickup truck beds full of water) Total cf for 20 min rain event (10 yr. storm) = (49)(60)(20) = 5856 cf (roughly 217 pickup truck beds full of water)

47


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Resilient Improvisation  

Thesis Spring 2010

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