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Choosing to consider built form relative to unstable conditions requires a recalibration of the metrics used to evaluate material performance in terms of resolution, durability, and longevity. The work included here rejects the Vitruvian virtue of firmitas, which has guided material practices toward firmness, durability and strength for centuries. Instead it embraces more emergent processes such as degradation, re-composition, accumulation, and growth. This shift from the making of site assemblies that resist natural processes to the making of those that anticipate and support them inspires the development of new materials and construction methods. The 13 projects included here are first responders to a call for Landscape Surfaces.


Landscape Surfaces; such as paving assemblies, drainage structures, retaining walls, and erosion control systems, occupy a potentially dynamic boundary between the ground and human habitation. In this position they have the unique capacity to simultaneously influence biologic process and sensory experience. This report documents a series of prototypical Landscape Surfaces that embrace this dual capacity toward the making of unique places through greater legibility of landscape process and the coupling of social and biological agendas. Surface FX are the combined performative effect and experiential affect of these assemblies.


Katherine Jenkins Gwendolyn McGinn and Brian Osborn (eds.)


FX Surface FX

Spring 2013

Landscape Architecture Department School of Architecture University of Virginia

Instructor: Brian Osborn

Teaching Assistants: Katherine Jenkins and Gwendolyn McGinn


INTRODUCTION Surface FX Brian Osborn


EROSION CONTROL, MICRO-TOPOGRAPHY, MATERIAL DEGRADATION TECMAT | Temporary Erosion Control Mat Katherine Jenkins, Gwendolyn McGinn, and Brian Osborn


MICRO-DAMS, LOCAL RESERVOIRS, MADE BY HAND Recalibrating the River | Rebalancing social and political dynamics Erin Root


DRAINAGE, CIRCULATION, SUB-DIVISION Wetland Cells | Pinching lowlands around high ground Danielle Alexander


PAVING, URBAN HYDROLOGY, SOCIO-ECOLOGY Gradient Ground | Streets as networks for resilient cultural ecologies Aja Bulla-Richards


PAVING, RETENTION, CONVEYANCE, INFILTRATION Water Pavers | Explorations for enhancing urban hydrological functions Chelsea DeWitt and James Moore


PAVING, SPEED, MICRO-TOPOGRAPHY Red Ramp to a New Normal | Green Infrastructure as Public Space Rae Vassar



DRAINAGE, PAVING, PROGRAMMED VOIDS Belle Isle Modular | Re-constructed landscapes William Haynes




ROADWAY, BARRIER ISLAND, INFRASTRUCTURE Overwash Road | Functional patterning for temporary path surfaces Nate Burgess


EPHEMERAL PATHS, ADAPTIVE MAINTENANCE Studies in Responsive Path Construction John Trevor


MAINTENANCE, MOWING, TOOLPATH Editing Emergence | Surface of layered maintenance Michael Geffel


ROOF GARDEN, URBAN AGRICULTURE, SOLAR RADIATION Modular, Adaptable Intensive Roof Garden | An urban farming solution Sarah Brummett





processes to making those that anticipate and support them inspires the development of new materials and construction methods. The 13

Landscape Surfaces

projects included here are first responders to a

Landscape Surfaces; such as paving assemblies,

call for Landscape Surfaces.

drainage structures, retaining walls, and erosion control systems, occupy a potentially dynamic

SurfaceFX Course Methodology

boundary between the ground and human

Work in the Surface FX seminar was roughly

habitation. In this position they have the unique

divided into four phases of work: first, an

capacity to simultaneously influence biologic

investigation into potential materials and

process and sensory experience. This report

manufacturing methods suitable to construction

documents a series of prototypical Landscape

of Landscape Surfaces, second, the conscious

Surfaces that embrace this dual capacity toward

production of hybrids, third, a testing of the

the making of unique places through greater

potentials of a design system through the act of

legibility of landscape process and the coupling

tooling, and forth, a consideration of Surface FX

of social and biological agendas. Surface FX

at both the micro and macro scales.

are the combined performative effect and In his essay “Manufacturing/Material/Effects”1,

experiential affect of these assemblies.

Branko Kolarevic describes a shift in architectural Choosing to consider built form relative to

production enabled by advances in digital

unstable conditions requires a recalibration

technology. He argues that CNC manufacturing

of the metrics used to evaluate material

technology has created a “continuum” of

performance in terms of resolution, durability,

information from design through production

and longevity. The work included here rejects

and has afforded designers greater access

the Vitruvian virtue of firmitas, which has guided

to manufacturing processes. As a result,

material practices toward firmness, durability

manufacturing methods, as well as material

and strength for centuries. Instead it embraces

properties, have been promoted to primary

more emergent processes such as degradation,

design parameters in what are described as

re-composition, accumulation, and growth. This

material-first design processes. Aligned with

shift from making site assemblies to resist natural

these strategies, the seminar began with the


production of a quick sketch describing a

these models to their project through section

project to be taken on through the course, and

(Layerings) or plan (Gradients) diagrams. In many

an investigation into a set of materials and

cases the production of a hybrid involved both

manufacturing methods appropriate to the

strategies in sequence.

sketch. Students were encouraged to engage in a project that supported their thesis or studio

The first two phases fell under a larger umbrella

work; providing motivations and testing grounds

of idea-making while the second two became

beyond the seminar. Students were encouraged

more about design development. Assuming that

to look at a range of materials and methods from

a design system had been established, a third

vernacular, to common, to contemporary, and

phase of work asked students to test the limits

to consider their performance relative to site

of that system through “Tooling”3 as described

conditions that change over time.

by Benjamin Aranda and Chris Lasch in their Pamphlet of the same name. Tooling includes

A second phase of work followed a call

experimenting with the design system in order

for Landscape Surfaces to address both

to explore and test its potentials and breaking

performative effect and experiential affect

points. It was intended that these potentials be

and a reading of Elizabeth Meyer’s manifesto,

tested through digital (parametric) models.

“Sustaining Beauty”2. The seminar sought techniques for the cultivation of hybrids and

Finally, a fourth phase involved the development

developed two models for working: Layerings

of Landscape Surfaces at two scales: micro and

and Gradients. It was determined that Layerings

macro. The micro-scale includes the detailed

include the superimposition of diverse

design of distinct moments on the surface. At the

modes of organization (i.e. programmatic

micro-scale, subtle characteristics of the surface

and biologic), where hybrids are found at the

become the focus of attention. Students were

abrupt intersection of two or more systems.

encouraged to carefully re-consider materials

Alternatively, Gradients include the incremental

and methods of construction. The micro-scale

interpolation, or shift, between two conditions

was approached through iterative physical

(i.e. wet and dry) across a field, where hybridity

prototyping and testing at (close to) full-scale.

is found in the slow transition between the two.

The macro-scale describes the aggregation

Students were asked to apply at least one of

of multiple moments over a larger surface, or 5

field. Following a reading of Stan Allen’s essay

collaboration with the co-editors of this report;

“Field Conditions”4, the macro-scale includes

Katie Jenkins and Gwen McGinn. Together

the design of systems and assemblages of

we have designed and produced the first two

interacting parts, and pays close attention to

prototypes of TECMat; a Temporary Erosion

intervals and the spaces between things. The

Control Mat, which is documented here in

macro-scale was explored digitally through

the following first chapter. In addition to their

parametric modeling.

research assistance, Katie and Gwen have also been teaching assistants for the Surface

A Note on the Productivity of Failure

FX seminar. Their steady contribution and

Despite its hip phonetic title and slick production

thoughtful reflection have helped to shape what

techniques, this report is full of failure…in

is seen here as well as what I hope will become

so many productive ways. In some cases, as

of the work in the future.

prototypes, the projects here include only partially functioning products. In other cases,

Katie and Gwen and my collaboration has been

projects slip outside the self-defined objectives

made possible through a Supplemental Research

of Landscape Surfaces, and have come into

Assistant Grant awarded by Kim Tanzer, Dean

more close alignment with traditional landscape

of the School of Architecture at UVA. Additional

construction methods. For its contributors,

funding for teaching assistance has also

I hope the projects provide a first round of

been provided by Nancy Takahashi, Chair

prototypes—articulating ideas that will continue

and Distinguished Lecturer in the Landscape

to develop. For me, and my co-editors, the

Architecture Department. Nancy has also been

explorations in this book are an electric fence—

gracious enough to provide a testing ground for

signaling the previously unfound boundaries

TECMat at Hereford Residential College, where

of a research area still in formation. This report

she is the Principal.

is self-made, self-published, and not for wide distribution. It’s a productive draft.

Several guest critics have significantly strengthened the work of the Surface FX


seminar, especially Lucia Phinney and Jeana

Throughout both the fall and spring semester

Ripple from the Architecture Department, Jorg

of the 2012/13 academic year, I worked in

Sieweke from the Landscape Architecture 6

Department, and Stanislav Roudavski, from the University of Melbourne.

Endnotes 1. Kolarevic, Branko, and Kevin R. Klinger. “Manufacturing/Material/Effects.” Manufacturing Material Effects: Rethinking Design and Making in Architecture. New York: Routledge, 2008. 1-24. 2. Meyer, Elizabeth K. “Sustaining Beauty. The Performance of Appearance: A Manifesto in Three Parts.” Journal of Landscape Architecture. Spring (2008): 6-23. 3. Aranda, Benjamin, and Chris Lasch. Tooling. New York: Princeton Architectural, 2006. 4. Allen, Stan. “Field Conditions.” Points + Lines: Diagrams and Projects for the City. New York: Princeton Architectural, 1999. 92-102.

Additional Course Readings

M’Closkey, Karen, and Keith VanDerSys. “Not Garden.” Dirt. Ed. Megan Born, Helene Mary Furján, Lily Jencks, and Phillip M. Crosby. Philadelphia: PennDesign, 2012. 284-89. Reed, Chris. “Performance Practices.” Ed. Uje Lee, JaeWon Lee, and Jun Choi. StossLU. Seoul, Korea: C3 Pub., 2007. 13-17. Reed, Chris. “Thickening the Surface.” StossLU. Ed. Uje Lee, JaeWon Lee, and Jun Choi. Seoul, Korea: C3 Pub., 2007. 86-87. Reeser, Amanda, and Ashley Schafer, eds. “Landscapes.” Praxis: Journal of Writing & Building 4 (2002). Schafer, Ashley. “Expanding Surface.” Ed. Amanda Reeser. Praxis: Journal of Writing & Building 9 (2007). VanDerSys, Keith. “PEG Office of Landscape + Architecture.” Architectural League Prize 2010. 594 Broadway Suite 607, New York. 29 June 2010.

Amidon, Jane. “Hypernature.” Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates: Allegheny Riverfront Park. New York: Princeton Architectural, 2005. 56-71. Amidon, Jane. “Surface.” Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates: Allegheny Riverfront Park. New York: Princeton Architectural, 2005. 72-89. Braham, William, James Corner, Anita Berrizbeitia, Phu Hoang, Keith Kaseman, Cathrine Veikos, and Marion Weiss. “Surface In-Depth: Between Landscape and Architecture.” Dirt. Ed. Megan Born, Helene Mary Furján, Lily Jencks, and Phillip M. Crosby. Philadelphia: PennDesign, 2012. 262-71. 7



TECMAT TEMPORARY EROSION CONTROL MAT Katherine Jenkins, Gwendolyn McGinn, Brian Osborn


TECmat, or Temporary Erosion Control Mat, is a

soil additives, and topographic manipulations.

single, highly articulated surface, that embodies

Alternatively, hard solutions are those that

multiple soft solutions to soil stabilization

include masonry and concrete retaining walls,

including plant material, biodegradable matting,

steel reinforcement grids and other permanent

mineral soil additives, and micro-topographic

structural systems. With TECmat we propose

adjustment. Through this integrated approach

an integrated approach to slope stabilization

to slope stabilization, TECmat is capable of

utilizing multiple soft solutions. TECmat is a

stabilizing slopes, restoring natural resources,

single, highly articulated surface, capable of

and managing storm water while simultaneously

modulating a range of environmental effects

creating aesthetically satisfying forms and

over time, while also creating aesthetically

memorable places for human habitation. The

satisfying forms and memorable places for

following narrative outlines the design and

human habitation.

development of TECmat including the fabrication and assembly of an installed prototype.

Within her recommendations, Zimmerman advocates the use of topography. She notes

1.0 Slope Stabilization

that, “steep slopes can be given greater stability

In Constructing Landscape: Materials,

[through the introduction of] terraces [compared

Techniques, Building Elements, Astrid

to] a single continuous slope without terraces”.

Zimmerman provides a broad overview of

Greater detail on the use of topography in slope

possible solutions to soil erosion on slopes.

stabilization is provided in section 2 of this

The TECmat design team has categorized

narrative. Additionally, Zimmerman discusses

Zimmerman’s recommendations into those

soil improvement, or “adding (missing) mineral

that are soft and those that are hard. Soft

grains, which are worked into the existing soil as

solutions are those that include biodegradable

a way of stabilizing the loose material”.

(temporary) materials, plant material, mineral 9

275% 2.75 :1

Stabilize slopes with concrete and/or steel reinforcement

100% maximum value for slopes secured with plant material


.25 80% maximum natural slope angle (may be shallower according to soil type)

slope reinforcement required


.5 66% maximum value for unsecured slopes, regular slope for road and canal building


slope secured with geogrids 90°

n re


inc r typ ease dc es ,a dd a it

erosion control mats recommended

1:2 50% recommended maximum value for meadow 45% slopes in parks

lawn nce ena aint eded h m o be ne hig ls or ya df ma de ing ee ter wa

al ion




1:3 33% recommended maximum value for sloping lawns in parks

no slope reinforcement required

15% unrestricted use of mowing machines permissible

18.3° 8.5°

Figure 1.1 Recommendations for slope protection dependent on incline.


Illustrated in the chart to the left, Zimmerman goes on to discuss a range of solutions to slope stabilization based on slope. She recommends that slopes from 0% and up to 33% (1:3) require no slope reinforcement. Slopes of 33% and up to 50% (1:2) can be maintained using plant material. She notes that, “ the most natural protection against erosion for slopes is planting, i.e. using roots to secure the soil. A combination of extensive and intensive roots has a positive effect, as for example when using herbaceous plants and grasses, or the combination of shallow and deep roots when using woody plants, as this makes it possible to achieve even rooting throughout the soil”. In addition to these below surface advantages, plant material provides an uneven texture at grade, reducing the velocity of water and sediment flowing over the surface. For slopes of 45% and up to 66% (1:1.5) Zimmerman recommends the use of Erosion Control Mats. She notes that, “the effectiveness of simple planting can be optimized by erosion protection mats. Geotextiles are used, usually made of coconut, jute, straw or a combination of these materials. They provide temporary protection for the soil covering until the vegetation has developed, and rot down over the early years (jute 1-2 years, coconut 3-4 years)”. 10


Complex (convex-concave)

< Deposition


Erosion >


Distance >

Uniform Concave Convex Complex (convex-concave)

Complex (concave-convex) While all of the strategies noted above are used regularly in practice today, they each take a utilitarian approach to slope stabilization and do not treat it as a place-making endeavor. With TECmat we promote an integrated approach to slope stabilization, utilizing plant material, biodegradable matting, mineral soil additives, and micro-topographic adjustment. In doing so we produce a single surface, capable of stabilizing slopes, restoring natural resources, and managing storm waters, while also creating aesthetically satisfying forms that create memorable places for human habitation.

2.0 Micro-topography In Soil Erosion: Processes, Prediction, Measurement, and Control, Terrance Toy, et al, discuss the primary factors influencing soil erosion. Among these they include topography. Topography, they explain, “refers to the geometry of the land surface. The important geometric variables are slope length and steepness, shape in the profile view, and shape in the plan view.” Illustrated in figure 2.1 are common slope shapes in the profile view. Figure 2.2 plots anticipated erosion and deposition relative to profile shape. To highlight two distinct examples, Uniform slopes begin to erode material away from the surface. This erosion continues to increase indefinitely as slope length increases. A Complex (convexconcave) slope shape, alternatively, will erode material over the convex portion of the shape, then deposit that material over the concave portion. Within the complex shape, erosion and deposition are nearly equal. This Complex slope shape is comparable to what Zimmerman refers to as a “terrace”. 11

Figure 2.1 Hillside shapes for different topographic scenarios. Figure 2.2 Erosion and deposition for hillside shapes.



















Figure 2.3 Plan, TECMAT is installed on 80% (1:1.25) slope.

Figure 2.4 Plan, 3 months, soil and sediment begin to shift in response to TECMAT.



















Figure 2.5 Plan, 6 months, shifting of soil and sediment continues.


Figure 2.6 Plan, 9 months, predicted micro-topographic change due to TECMAT.










Figure 2.7 Plan, 12 months, anticipated micro-topographic changes due to TECMAT.






Figure 2.8 Section A, TECmat is installed on 80% (1:1.25) slope.

Figure 2.9 Section A, 3 months, soil and sediment begin to shift in response to TECmat.




Figure 2.10 Section A, 6 months, soil and sediment begin to shift in response to TECmat.


Figure 2.11 Section A, 9 months, shifting of soil and sediment continues.

The TECmat is shaped to produce a terracing effect on the existing grade at a micro-scale. That is, instead of producing a single terrace on the hillside, TECmat produces a series of periodic terraces, each equalizing erosion and deposition within itself. This micro-topographic change is illustrated through a series of iterative sectional views (figures 2.8-2.12) and in plan (2.3-2.7). Our team conducted preliminary field-testing to see if a biodegradable material could influence slope shape if secured to the slope for a period of time. The results of this test are visible in figures 2.12 and 2.13. A paper egg carton was secured to a slope and was monitored for 75 days. The photograph taken on day 1 shows the egg carton sitting above the surface of the existing grade. The photograph taken on day 75 shows a significant portion of the egg carton covered in sediment and the grade beginning to contour around the carton material.


Figure 2.12 Section A, 12 months, anticipated micro-topographic changes due to TECmat.


Figure 2.13 Micro-topography field test, day 1. Paper egg carton secured to 80% (1:1.25) slope.

Figure 2.14 Micro-topography field test, day 75. Paper egg carton significantly engulfed by shifting soil. 15

3.0 Material Paper as a Substrate When thickened, paper can act as a substrate to mediate between the ground and the forces that might degrade it. In time, paper will decompose and become a part of the ground, but during this process it can perform a variety of functions.

Figure 3.1 Plant material positioned on plane of slope where it is least affected by topographic changes.

The rigidity of the paper can physically hold and shape the ground as microtopographic conditions are formed. Paper can also perform as a substrate that assists in the establishment of plants. In time the plants that the paper initially supported will provide the primary support in stabilizing the groundplane. By that point, the paper itself will have degraded and become a part of the soil. As a substrate, thick paper is quite absorbent. The paper that we created for our prototype absorbs about 200mL of water per square foot. This will immediately improve the ability of a highly compacted site to absorb water. Tests of egg cartons demonstrated that the paper substrate maintains moisture longer then the soil.

Figure 3.2 Base of plant is buried by deposition.

Stratification Many woodland plants can be difficult to start from seed. A stratification process is required to break the seeds from dormancy. Often moist and cold temperatures are required for 30 to 60 days. In commercial horticultural settings, paper is often the substrate used during seed stratification because paper maintains an even moisture level which assists in the stratification. For our prototype, we chose to embed Schizachyrium scoparium and Oxydendrum arboreum seeds into the paper. According to Lee Eddleman, Schizachyrium scoparium has a germination rate of 85-98% at optimum temperature, but 30 to 60 days of stratification are required to break the seeds dormancy before it can germinate (214). When installed in the fall, the TECmat will provide structural support to the soil as the

Figure 3.3 Base of plant is exposed by erosion.

embedded seeds achieve their stratification requirements. By spring, the TECmat will have degraded slightly to allow the roots to penetrate.



Material Exploration Figure 3.4 Paper 2A

40% Recycled paper (computer and plotter paper) soaked for 48 hours, 30% dry leaves + pine needles (boiled for 25 minutes), 30% prepared cotton. Medium blended in a blender followed by 1.5 hours in the beater. Pulled with a screen. Delicate, transluscent, falls apart when wet.

Figure 3.5 Paper 2B

Composition of PAPER 2A, pulled with a screen and then placed over folded blotter paper to create ridges, valleys, and creases. When made wet, the paper retained some, but not all of its folds.

Figure 3.6 Paper 3

55% Recycled paper (computer paper only) soaked for 48 hours, 40% prepared cotton, and 5% kaolin (powdered clay). Finely blended in a blender (clay added after blending). Pulled with a screen as pulp began to thin. Delicate, thin, transluscent, smooth with a few scraps of paper visible, flexible.


Figure 3.7 Paper 4

55% Recycled paper (computer paper only) soaked for 48 hours, 40% prepared cotton, and 5% kaolin (powdered clay). Finely blended in a blender (clay added after blending). Pulled with a screen and sprikled with crimson clover and hairy vetch seeds. Photo shows paper two days after production, seeds germinated.

Figure 3.8 Paper 4

Crimson clover and hairy vetch sprouts adapt to the paper as a moist substrate for growth.

Figure 3.9 Paper 5

Composition of Paper 3 molded thickly over a sheet of prefolded metal mesh to create ridges and valleys. Very strong and holds it shape even when wet.


4.0 Form Finding

we could produce was three feet. To produce a

While exploring materials, we began to develop a

prototype at full scale, a stitch was implemented

form that would alter the surface of the ground.

to substitute for the fold.

We were interested in creating something that could be crafted off-site and installed without

Since a fold can be adjusted to a variety of angles,

much disruption to the site. To achieve this, ease

the TECmat can conform to almost any surface.

of transport and assembly would be integral. We

It can adjust to the topography of the site, as well

had considered molding a surface from folded

as to specific requirements for erosion protection.

wire mesh (Fig 6.4). This produced a sturdy form

The tighter the fold, the greater the surface area

(Fig 5.5), but it lacked the flexibility to adapt to a

that touches the ground.

range of surfaces. Seeking a range from the simple to the complex, Inspired by the folded mesh, we decided to

we created a series of variations (Fig 6.1 to Fig

experiment with variations of a folded surface.

6.3). We eventually settled on a fold that was

A folded creates a structural rigidity, but is also

relatively simple to fold, and easily extends and

flexible and adaptable. It introduces a module

retracts. It is based on a pattern composed of

to a surface without breaking the continuity of

symmetric trapezoids.

an unbroken plane. Due to the limits of available fabrication space the largest sheet of paper Figure 4.1 Shifted fold


Figure 4.2 Trapezoidal fold

Figure 4.3 Folded mesh mold

Figure 4.4 Square fold with spaces removed.


Figure 5.1 The university and surrounding conditions. Scale 1:20,000.

Figure 5.2 Hereford Residential College on Observatory Hill. Scale 1:2400.


2 1


5.0 Determining a Site

Large areas of impervious surfaces of

The university is located on the edge of the

roads, parking lots, and buildings inhibit

central Piedmont, at the base of the Blue Ridge

rainwater from returning to the soil and

mountains. The Piedmont is composed of a

replenishing groundwater and stream flows.

system of hills that are dissected by creeks

Significant areas of woodlands have been

and streams. Geologically, it is a peneplain,

cleared and the forest edge pushed pack,

an area that consistently erodes; this eroded

promoting erosion during storm events

soil eventually forms the eastern coastline of

allowing sediments and pollutants to be

the state. The structure of the ground consists

carried down stream impacting adjacent

primarily of weathered and eroded crystalline

communities. (Office of the Architect 11)

rock. This rock, mostly granite, explains the presence of monadnocks, which are isolated hills

During the development of the TECmat, we

of resistant rock that rise above the peneplain

considered Observatory Hill to be the site of

(Office of the Architect 9).

our eventual installation. There are many areas on Observatory Hill that would be appropriate

The university is located in a cluster of these

protect through aesthetic engagement and

monadnocks. The intricate ridges of these local

the structural support of the TECmat. In Figure

granite landforms in combination with the

4.2, three sites are demarcated at Hereford

visibility of the distant Blue Ridge Mountains

Residential College on Observatory Hill. Site 1 is a

creates a sense of identity for the university.

lightly wooded area adjacent to dormitories and

In addition to this embedded sense of place,

north of a community garden. It could be a site

the university was carefully situated within two

of woodland restoration and would engage the

watersheds. The headwaters of Mooreâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Creek

garden. Site 2 is the site of the prototype. It is a

and Meadow Creek are located at Observatory

steep embankment located beside a parking lot.

Hill. Although Observatory Hill had not been

To the north is a forest dominated by chestnut

developed until recently, it has been a part of the

oaks; the site marks a line between the remaining

campus since itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s inception. The ownership of

forest and the developing campus. Site 3 is

Observatory Hill would secure a source of water

beside the Vaughn House. It is located between

for the university during its consistent expansion.

the disturbed site of the dormitories and Lodge Creek, which feeds Mooreâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Creek.

As the university expanded, these tributaries and streams were encroached upon and degraded. Large portions are now buried underground in culverts and popes. 23


6.0 Plant Communities The site chosen for our installation is on a southern facing slope of Observatory Hill. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s soil is thin and acidic and supports an

Figure 6.1 Schizachyrium scoparium

oak-heath forest dominated by Quercus montana. The canopy also includes Liriodendron tulipifera, Pinus virginiana, and Nyssa sylvatica. Ericaceous plants, including Kalmia latifolia and Gaylussacia baccata form a light understory. Although not present on Observatory Hill, Oxydendrum arboreum is often an overstory associate in developed oak-heath forests (USDA, NRCS). Seeds for Oxydendrum arboreum were embedded in the TECmat as a way to introduce this associate into the edge of the forest on Observatory Hill. Sourwood can be difficult to establish in a nursery setting. By planting seeds during a restoration process,

Figure 6.2 Oxydendrum arboreum

the establishment of Oxydendrum arboreum is not required for successful erosion control, but any successful germination would add an additional aesthetic richness to the forest edge. Amerlanchier arborea is also often embedded in the understory of an oak-heath forest. It is currently planted at the edge, and we propose that there could be places within the TECmat for transplanting established trees and shrubs. This would increase the transition from the meadow condition (introduced by Schizachyrium scoparium) to an enclosed forest. The Schizachyrium scoparium would quickly stabilize the soil with their deep root system, but by introducing a shrub layer, shade will eventually make it difficult for the grass to grow, and more forest plants can begin to emerge from the shifting meadow condition. By introducing associate species and considering the effects through a sequence of plants, the slope can be stabilized by a diversity of plant root typologies.


Figure 6.3 Amerlanchier arborea

7.0 Restoration of Natural Features Figure 7.1 Initial Installation

The TECmat, embedded with Schizachyrium scoparium and Oxydendrum arboreum seeds is installed on site in late fall with one to two inch caliper amelanchier arborea planted at the crowns of the paper mat.


Figure 7.2 3 Months

The Schizachyrium scoparium seeds have germinated and begin to break through the TecMat creating a sparsely grassy slope. The TECmat catches runoff and eroded soil from the slope above.

Figure 7.3 15 Months

The Schizachyrium scoparium reaches 3 feet in its second season of growth stablilizing the slope with its 3 to 6 foot roots. The TECmat begins to degrade but continues to shape the soil beneath it creating small terraces.


Figure 7.4 3 Years

Oxydendrum arboreum emerge but remain almost unnoticible amongst the grass. The Schizachyrium scoparium continues to densify creating a beautiful and stable slope. The TECmat degrades revealing terraces beneath.

Figure 7.5 5 Years

The Amelanchier arborea reach a height of 12 feet and, together with the growing Oxydendrum arboreum, shade out the grasses on the slope. The TECmat has fully degraded and becomes incorporated into the soil on site.


Figure 7.6 15 years

The Amelanchier arborea reach maturation. The Oxydendrum arboreum grow to 20 feet extending the canopy of the existing adjascent forest over the sloped site. Some subtle terracing remains and erosion is significantly reduced by the density of tree roots. The once barren and eroded slope has been twransformed into an extension of native forest and a thriving ecosystem.


Figure 8.1 Molds for the paper form are milled from Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) plastic using a CNC router.

Figure 8.2 The molds consist of one layer of woven steel mesh between two layers of LDPE. Figure 8.3 The molds are secured with nylon leveling mounts which also allow excess water to drain from the paper pulp. Figure 8.4 The four completed molds used in the first prototype.


8.0 Prototyping & Implementation The first TECmat prototype was fabricated and installed at Site 2 at Hereford Residential College (see section 3). The intention of the prototype was to verify the anticipated micro-topographic change to the existing grade as a result of the TECmat, as well as to test the ability of the Little Blue Stem seed to germinate and establish itself on the hillside. The prototype was installed on Thursday, November 29, 2012. At the time that this document was produced, no significant results were available to report. Our team continues to observe and record changes to the prototype. Our team also continues to refine the design and form of TECmat, as well as investigate additional appropriate materials for use in future installations. Specifically, we have been experimenting with wool felt, and are interested in its ability to hold water and plant nutruents while also being fastened to maintain shapes ideal for micro-topographic manipulation. The prototype covers approximately 12 square feet of hillside. The total cost to produce the prototype was approximately $300. This amount includes the materials used to produce the molds, which can be resused, reducing the cost of future prototypes and installations.

Figure 8.5 A custom paper pulp is made using recylced paper from the Architecture Schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s waste bins. Figure 8.6 The paper pulp is poured over the mold. Little blue stem seeds are hand set into the pulp. Figure 8.7 When dry, the paper panels are removed from the molds.


Figure 8.8 The completed TECmat is secured to the existing grade with 5/8â&#x20AC;?x12â&#x20AC;? steel landscape spikes.

Figure 8.9 Mounting holes are designed into the TECmat paper molds to recieve the landscape spikes.


Figure 8.10 The first TECmat prototype consists of 12 panels, each approximately 9â&#x20AC;?x36â&#x20AC;? across the diagonals.

Figure 8.11 TECmat prototype is installed at Hereford Residential College, on an 80% (1:1.25) slope.


Figure 8.12 Planting Plan, Annuals and Perennials 107" 10 -3/4" typ.

20 -1/2" typ. 57 -1/2"

2" typ.

2" lap typ.

Rudbeckia hirta Black-Eyed Susan

Gaillardia pulchella Indian Blanket

Habit: Annual & Perennial Bloom: May-Nov Height: 1-3’ Seed 0.1oz per ft

Habit: Annual Bloom: May-July Height: 1-2’ Seed 0.1oz per ft2


Figure 8.13 Planting Plan,Trees and Shrubs

Oxydendrum arboreum Sourwood

Amelanchier arborea Common Serviceberry

Habit: Tree Bloom: July Height: 36-72 ftâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Locate in field

Habit: Shrub Bloom Time: Apr , May Size Class: 12-36 ft Locate in field


Figure 8.14 CNC router with an oscillating blade cut edges and dashed lines for folds.

Figure 8.15 Prototype folded from a 60â&#x20AC;? x 110â&#x20AC;? aggregate sheet of paper.

Figure 8.16 The second TECmat is installed with biodegradable stakes. Figure 8.17 Tabs allow units to attach at stakes.



References Eddleman, Lee E.; Meinhardt, Patricia L. “Seed viability and seedling vigor in selected prairie plants.” The prairie peninsula--in the “shadow” of Transeau : proceedings of the Sixth North American Prairie Conference, the Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, 1981.  213-217. Print. Harris, Charles W., Nicholas T. Dines, and Kyle D. Brown. Time-saver Standards for Landscape Architecture: Design and Construction Data. 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1998. Print. “Image Gallery.” NPIN: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2012. Strom, Steven, Kurt Nathan, and Jake Woland. “Soil Erosion and Sediment Control.” Site Engineering for Landscape Architects. 5th ed. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2009. 195-209. Print. Toy, Terrence J., George R. Foster, and Kenneth G. Renard. Soil Erosion: Processes, Prediction, Measurement, and Control. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2002. Print. USDA, NRCS. 2012. The PLANTS Database (, 17 December 2012). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA. Web. Zimmermann, Astrid. Constructing Landscape: Materials, Techniques, Building Elements. 2nd ed. Basel: Birkhäuser, 2011. Print.

Figures Figure 1.1

Recommendations for slope protection dependent on incline. Redrawn from Zimmermann, Astrid. Constructing Landscape: Materials, Techniques, Structural Components. 2nd ed. Basel: Birkhäuser, 2011. Fig. 3.1.4, p. 201.

Figure 2.1

Hillside shapes for different topographic scenarios. Redrawn from Toy, Terrence J., George R. Foster, and Kenneth G. Renard. Soil Erosion: Processes, Prediction, Measurement, and Control. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2002. Print. Figure 2.4a, p. 35.

Figure 2.2

Erosion and deposition for hillside shapes. Redrawn from Toy, Terrence J., George R. Foster, and Kenneth G. Renard. Soil Erosion: Processes, Prediction, Measurement, and Control. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2002. Print. Figure 2.4b, p. 35.

Figure 2.3

Plan, TECMAT is installed on 80% (1:1.25) slope. Drawing by authors. 38

Figure 2.4

Plan, 3 months, soil and sediment begin to shift in response to TECmat. Drawing by authors.

Figure 2.5

Plan, 6 months, shifting of soil and sediment continues. Drawing by authors.

Figure 2.6

Plan, 9 months, predicted micro-topographic change due to TECmat. Drawing by authors.

Figure 2.7

Plan, 12 months, anticipated micro-topographic changes due to TECmat. Drawing by authors.

Figure 2.8

Section A, TECmat is installed on 80% (1:1.25) slope. Drawing by authors.

Figure 2.9

Section A, 3 months, soil and sediment begin to shift in response to TECmat. Stage 1 not shown. Drawing by authors.

Figure 2.10

Section A, 6 months, soil and sediment begin to shift in response to TECmat. Stage 1 not shown. Drawing by authors.

Figure 2.11

Section A, 9 months, shifting of soil and sediment continues. Drawing by authors.

Figure 2.12

Section A, 12 months, anticipated micro-topographic changes due to TECmat. Drawing by authors.

Figure 2.13

Micro-topography field test, day 1. Paper egg carton secured to 80% (1:1.25) slope. Photo by authors,

Figure 2.14

Micro-topography field test, day 75. Paper egg carton significantly engulfed by shifting soil. Photo by authors.

Figure 3.1

Plant material positioned on plane of slope where it is least affected by topographic changes. Redrawn from Harris, Charles W., Nicholas T. Dines, and Kyle D. Brown. Time-saver Standards for Landscape Architecture: Design and Construction Data. 2nd ed. New York: McGrawHill, 1998. Print. Fig. 640-17.

Figure 3.2

Base of plant is buried by deposition. Redrawn from Harris, Charles W., Nicholas T. Dines, and Kyle D. Brown. Time-saver Standards for Landscape Architecture: Design and Construction Data. 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1998. Print. Fig. 640-17.

Figure 3.3

Base of plant is exposed by erosion. Redrawn from Harris, Charles W., Nicholas T. Dines, and Kyle D. Brown. Time-saver Standards for


Landscape Architecture: Design and Construction Data. 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1998. Print. Fig. 640-17. Figure 3.4

Paper 2A. Photo by authors.

Figure 3.5

Paper 2B. Photo by authors.

Figure 3.6

Paper 3. Photo by authors.

Figure 3.7

Paper 4. Photo by authors.

Figure 3.8

Paper 4. Photo by authors.

Figure 3.9

Paper 5. Photo by authors.

Figure 4.1

Shifted fold. Photo by authors.

Figure 4.2

Trapezoidal fold Photo by authors.

Figure 4.3

Folded mesh mold. Photo by authors.

Figure 4.4

Square fold. Photo by authors.

Figure 5.1

Plan, The university and surrounding conditions. GIS Data UVA and Albemarle County. Drawing by authors. Scale 1:20,000.

Figure 5.2

Plan, Hereford Residential College on Observatory Hill. GIS Data UVA and Albemarle County. Drawing by authors. Scale 1:2,400.

Figure 6.1

Schizachyrium scoparium. “Image Gallery.” NPIN: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2012.

Figure 6.2

Oxydendrum arboreum. “Image Gallery.” NPIN: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2012.

Figure 6.3

Amerlanchier arborea. “Image Gallery.” NPIN: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Nov. 2012.

Figure 7.1

Initial Installation

Figure 7.2

3 Months. Drawing by authors.

Figure 7.3

15 Months. Drawing by authors.

Figure 7.4

3 Years. Drawing by authors.

Figure 7.5

5 Years .Drawing by authors.

Figure 7.6

15 years. Drawing by authors.

Figure 8.1

Molds for the paper form are milled from Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) plastic using a CNC router. Photo by authors.

Figure 8.2

The molds consist of one layer of woven steel mesh between two layers of LDPE. Photo by authors.

Figure 8.3

The molds are secured with nylon leveling mounts which also allow excess water to drain from the paper pulp. Photo by authors. 40

Figure 8.4

The four completed molds used in the first prototype. Photo by authors.

Figure 8.5

A custom paper pulp is made using recylced paper from the Architecture School’s waste bins. Photo by authors.

Figure 8.6

The paper pulp is poured over the mold. Little blue stem seeds are hand set into the pulp. Photo by authors.

Figure 8.7

When dry, the paper panels are removed from the molds. Photo by authors.

Figure 8.8

The completed TECmat is secured to the existing grade with 5/8”x12” steel landscape spikes. Photo by authors.

Figure 8.9

The first TECmat prototype consists of 12 panels, each approximately 9”x36” across the diagonals. Photo by authors.

Figure 8.10

Mounting holes are designed into the TECmat paper molds to recieve the landscape spikes. Photo by authors.

Figure 8.11

Figure 7.11: TECmat prototype is installed at Hereford Residential College, on an 80% (1:1.25) slope. Photo by authors.

Figure 8.12

Planting Plan, Annuals and Perennials. Photo by authors.

Figure 8.13

Planting Plan,Trees and Shrubs. Photo by authors.

Figure 8.14

CNC router with an oscillating blade cut edges and dashed lines for folds. Photo by authors.

Figure 8.15

Prototype folded from a 60” x 110” aggregate sheet of paper. Photo by authors.

Figure 8.16

The second TECmat is installed with biodegradable stakes. Photo by authors.

Figure 8.17

Tabs allow units to attach at stakes. Photo by authors.


MICRO-DAMS, LOCAL RESERVOIRS, MADE BY HAND, human-scale fresh water storm water

RE|CALIBRATING THE RIVER Re|balancing Social and Political Dynamics through Water Infrastructure Erin Root

microtopography agriculture Infrastructure

The site is in the rural town of Mulenzhe in the

tissue grows, it acts as a virtual territory that joins

arid region of Limpopo, South Africa. The town

otherwise isolated communities, allowing them

has 440 households and 170 acres committed

to strengthen socially, and therefore politically

to agriculture. The proposed surface is meant

empowering them.

to direct and filter water as it moves through the watershed, to ultimately collect and store it

“At what point does surface begin to challenge

for human consumption and agricultural use.

tectonics and received notions of space?”

As opposed to large-scale, fixed infrastructure,

(Surface In-Depth, Between Landscape and

this flexible strategy will be implemented and

Architecture, Mcloskey)

maintained by individual communities, giving them independent and autonomous control of

Depending on directing, collecting or storing, the

their water source.

angle of the ground changes, and the layers of clay, soil and gravel reorganize. In the household

“Surfaces are made through the layering of both

area, the material collects , directs and stores

natural and artificial processes over time”

roof runoff. In the agricultural zone it increases porosity of the soil, collects organic matter and

Figure 1 Faceted Field Model, mylar on reclaimed wood

I see this as both as an artificial constructed sur-

directs and collects terrain runoff in the rainy sea-

face and a naturally occurring ground. Inherent

son (October-March). Pocket reservoirs, ajoining

in the operability of the imposed material is the

the river are made of supported and occupiable

inability to find where the constructed supports

ground. From river to household, the gradient

the ground or where the ground enables the

and angle of the constructed ground changes

constructed. The aggregated elements are a

based on the current soil and water deficiency

field that acts as a literal connective tissue be-

and need.

tween rural towns in Limpopo, South Africa and the river they sit adjacent to. As the connective 43

POPULATION - 49,991,300



POPULATION - 5,439,600



Figure 2 Site: Limpopo, South Africa, the northern-most region of South Africa 44

Figure 3 The town of Mulenzhe currently adjacent to the Nandoni Dam, impounding the Luvuvhu River. Map shows the current river levels with the Nandoni Dam in place

Figure 4 Proposed river level without the Nandoni Dam in place

MULENZHE_seasonal river levels wthout dam 400ft = 1in 5 ft Contours sections every 400 feet

15 20

25 20





10 15

15 25



35 40



Mean River Level

15 20


50 30




60 65 70 80 75 90 85



Flooding Level


110 115 120


Dry Season




15 20

Base Level




150 155

15 30



25 30

35 45

40 50 55


155 65

70 75 80 155


90 95 100

160 165

105 110 120



175 180


125 140







200 220






215 155 160 165

210 205

170 175 180 185

190 210 195 175 160 170 155 165


180 220

185 190

215 195


200 205

210 215

220 225



240 245 250

200 255






265 250






230 285 240

235 290










260 255





wire mesh for reinforcing

trowel for finishing

Sandy Soil

bucket for mixing


pick ax

Figure 5 Tools and materials to be used in the construction of the modules MODULES hosehold/agriculture filter/increase aquifer recharge FILTRATION APPLICATION


MODULES 1’ hosehold/agriculture




6” filter/increase aquifer recharge





Figure 6 collect/direct Preliminary Modules sections for varying conditions

1’ 7’

floodplain 25’

6” 4’




Clay Soil



23.00 46




wheel barrow

Local Water Infrastructure Built and Managed by Communities The people living within the rural communities in the Limpopo Region construct and manage (with their hands and human scale tools) much of their own infrastructure. This design proposal utilizes skills that the people of this region already have, enabling them to construct and manage their own water resources. Instead of relying on the municipal government to supply these rural towns with water, this infrastructure becomes the responsibility of the town. This not only removes water as a tool for political control, but also creates and even more symbiotic relationship between citizens and the ecological processes that surround them, therefore making citizens inherently aware of seasonal ecological processes. The proposed local infrastructure is produced through a series of faceted surface changes that dependent on operation and program. The facets change in slope, material and relationship to ground depending of the operation of collection, horizontal or vertical movement.

Figure 7 Preliminary perspectives of applied Filtration and Floodplain modules


Figure 8 Sequential sections showing operations of faceted forms and ground infiltration 48

Figure 9 Diagrammatic model showing ground infiltration in plan. The field of constructed facets prevents erosion in the rainy season, and slows water enough to allow ground infiltration. This increases ground water supply, therefore supplying water for the local reservoirs down slope. In addition, the soil acts as a filter for the reservoir supply. 49



MULENZHE_seasonal river levels wthout dam 100ft = 1in 5 ft Contours sections every 400 feet



Site chosen based on sub-basin









each zone considers existing slope and susceptibilty to erosion

Figure 10 Plan of Household, Agricultural, Filtration, Long term storage zones




Figure 11 Preliminary sketch of household application

Figure 12 Faceted Field Model, mylar on reclaimed wood 51

Figure 13 Perspective of Household zone

Figure 14 Final plan of filtration, collection and agricultural modules in the household zone


180 %




HOUSEHOLD_short term storage

5.55 Cast in Place Concrete or Slurry Mixture (clay+cement)

Sand Small Aggregate Large Aggregate







ISSB = clay + cement


Sand Small Aggregate Large Aggregate

Figure 15 Details and dimensions of Household & Agricultural modules 53


7% %% 373% 6622 % 37% 2 6

4.00 4.00

1.00 1.00




Sandy Soil

4.00 Sandy Soil

Sand Small Aggregate


Large Aggregate

Small Aggregate


Large Aggregate

Small Aggregate Large Aggregate

Figure 16 Details and dimensions of Filtration module



Figure 17 Details and dimensions of Floodplain module 54

Sandy Sandy Soil Soil





wire mesh for reinforcing

trowel for finishing


bucket for mixing


wheel barrow

pick ax


Figure 18 Perspective view at the filtration module

Clay Soil




23.00 55

195 %

1.00 3.03



Figure 19 Details of long term storage module 56





DRAINAGE, CIRCULATION, SUBDIVISION saturation fractal patterns


wetlands interstitial space informal path

Introduction This project seeks to generate a new typology of

An 11-acre site in Charlottesville, Virginia pro-

constructed wetland through defining areas of

vided a test location for the deployment of a

saturation which have a depth relative to their

pinched grid strategy to create wetland cells. This

size, and size relative to circulation paths. Para-

site currently is the location of a public housing

metric modelling has been used in many ways to

project built on land where a culvert is sited. This

analyze and illustrate water flow and wetland cell

culvert drains a large portion of Charlottesvilleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

generation. Often, voronoi area calculations are

downtown. If the culvert were to be daylit, wet-

performed to generate basins that collect water.

land cells would help take on the new volume

This project uses grids and grid manipulation to

of water the site would be introduced to on the

introduce a new way of creating the basins for

surface. These hydrological cells that publicly

wetland cells.

display the retention and infiltration of site runoff structure a new typology of land formation that

Project Background

allows for moist centers, filtration buffers, dry

Grids are a universally employed spatial arrange-

circulation paths, and water features that are

ment and organizational tool. The manipulation

engaging and linked.

of a grid provides contrasts between one set of organizing principles and another. It produces exciting shapes and spaces. In this project, grids are pinched in strategic areas to achieve greater porosity of the grid. When used to create a surface, letting a draped surface sag over these larger pores in the grid achieves having areas that are deeper and therefore can hold mroe water or fill in times of flood. 59

Early studies simply questioned how a grid could be manipulated. Using grasshopper, a simple grid geometry was arranged and then pinched around particular points in the plane. The tension of these grids and their attraction to those points was varied to produce different effects.


A rope grid was constructed to conceive of the grid as a manipulated landscape. This allowed for the testing of surface tension and configuration. Where the grid remains stable and even, the surface is taught and stable. Where it pinches, stable taught circulation paths are formed with open sagging areas around them, providing a potential wetland configuration.


Before applying the grids on a site-scale, the grids were first imagine as tiles that could link up along a path. To achieve this, agrid was created with a cross through the center, which achieves endpoints at the edges which can be connected no matter how the grid is manipulated or rotated. The cross was bent to create different circulation paths, then divided in to a varied number of points with various tolerances for attracting the grid. 62


Unique tiles can be rotated and linked up to create different strategies for areas with varying levels of saturation. The coloration of the tiles on the following page highlights their arrangement. 64


The grid pinching scheme, once applied to a tiling strategy, was then applied at a different scale to a site strategy. Desired circulation defined the location for the pinch points, and the tension was varied across the site to allow for larger wetland cells in the south where the land is low lying and a culvert would be daylit. On the next page, a series of flooding shows that the deeper pools hold water longer. 66





Once the surface was generated, contour lines were cut to demonstrate the complexity and relative depths of the wetland.


PAVING, URBAN HYDROLOGY, SOCIOECOLOGY multimodal circulation interstitial


space pedestrian everyday experience cultural practice alternative hedonism living machine greywater gradient microwatershed distribution collection microclimate seasonal change

scales, ranging from the individual experience of


site amenities to collective policies that define

My project for surface FX is part of a larger body

L.A. County water networks. Interventions are

of research for my landscape architecture Thesis

designed to impact regional scales, including

WASH: Urban Hydrological Networks for Resilient

the CO River watershed. This project utilizes the

Cultural Ecologies

potential of greywater to not only reduce unsus-

Advisors: Brian Osborn, Bill Sherman & Jorg

tainable dependence on water importation and


the consequential environmental impacts but also to transform monofunctional infrastructure

Project Background

into multifunctional community watersheds. In-

Arid cities in the western United States are facing

tegrating ecological performance into the fabric

an imminent cultural, political, and ecological

of a neighborhood is critical to redefining urban

challenge: dwindling sources of freshwater and a

water infrastructure in relationship to everyday

warming climate coupled with rapid population

experience, and questioning the divide between

growth. How can we re-imagine and redesign

nature and culture.

water infrastructure so that monofunctional

The surface I am proposing supports this larger

systems are transformed into resilient socio-eco-

body of work in that I am exploring ways of

logical cycles that engage and expand everyday

constructing the ground that provide for the

experience, promote alternative cultural prac-

programmatic and performative requirements of

tices, and reveal latent ecological processes?

a prototypical site: a residential street. Perfor-

This project proposes prototypical interventions

mative requirements include distributing and

that reconfigure stormwater and greywater infra-

cleaning stormwater and greywater, as well as

structure to initiate layered social and ecological

storing the cleaned water for re-use or allowing it

structures in a typical Los Angeles neighbor-

to infiltrate the local aquifer.

hood. Prototypes are proposed at multiple


Figure 1 Artificial watershed of Los Angeles 74

Figure 2 Los Angeles water cycle 75

Figure 3 Los Angeles Aquifers Section

Figure 4 Proposed Street Section


Figure 5 CA Habitats

Figure 6 Layered Social and Ecological Performance


Subvert linearity | facets

Embrace linearity Shift program


Subvert linearity | meander

Subvert linearity | cross direction

Embrace linearity| subvert public private | shift program

Subvert linearity | patchwork

Subvert linearity | continuous surface with perforations



Figure 7 Exploring block typologies


Figure 8 Patchwork Plan

I considered various methods of changing the spatial organization of a residential street to alter the typical linear monofunctional divisions that separate vehicles, pedestrians, water and vegetation into road, sidewalk, gutter and front lawn.

After exploring many ways of transforming the organization and correlated performance of a street I settled on the patchwork diagram as a prototype to explore in more depth. Intermixing surfaces for greywater treatment, stormwater collection, gathering and circulation provides a high degree of complexity and diversity within a relatively simple framework. 79

Figure 9 Patchwork Performance 80

Figure 10 Grasshopper study: Patchwork to gradient 81

Width to accommodate fire truck access

car path

Figure 11 Plan Study 82

Figure 12 Paver Precedents source: 83

The surface will be made up of three types of

is produced in intervals over the course of a day

pavers, one that can handle regular low speed car

these small microbasins will dry out for short pe-

traffic, a second more permeable type that can

riods of time leaving the moist aggregate exposed

support less frequent traffic, parking, cycling and

to oxygen, acceleratingly the bacteria cleaning

pedestrian use. The third type is very permeable,

process. Additionally the surface will help create

providing for vegetation growth, water infiltration

micro-climates or micro habitats on a small site.

and cleaning as well as occasional emergency

These microclimates will be defined by surface

vehicle access.

gradients from wet to dry and warm to cool as well as material choices, constructed and planted

Paver type 3 also can be filled with sand & gravel to form microbasins across a slope for cleaning greywater. Greywater expelled from residences or businesses will fill initial larger basins that can handle surges of water and then flow slowly from one microbasin to the next. Because greywater

Figure 13 Proposed paver types 84

form, and orientation.

Figure 14 Finish texture studies 85

Figure 15 Finish texture studies


Figure 16 Material studies


Figure 17 Detail of paver prototype 88

Figure 18-19 Concrete Paver Prototypes


Figure 20 Street section Constructed ground 90

Figure 21 Street section performance study Rain event 91

Figure 22 Street section performance study Infiltration 92

Figure 23 Street section performance study Aquifer replenishment 93

Figure 24 Street section performance study Water Play

Figure 25 Greywater Temporal performance study 94


PAVING, RETENTION, CONVEYANCE, INFILTRATION green infrastructure public space urban hydrology


threshold gradient

Site Context

Surface Design

How can the design of a surface create places

We propose a system of pavers that, when com-

for people that engage natural processes? How

bined on a site, create a gradient that retains,

might a surface bring attention to neglected

conveys and infiltrates water into the ground

“in between” spaces within the city? The city

while providing places for human movement,

of Charlottesville is built upon a landscape of

pause, and play. Inspired by traces of rain caught

valleys and ridges. The valleys are often ignored,

in grooves and depressions in concrete as well

left to convey water out of the city and often

as emergent vegetation growing in place, we

populated by lower income residents. Pollocks

explored iterations of paver design that would

Branch watershed is no exception. Extending

create a surface that would be activated by the

from downtown south to Moore’s creek, this

presence of water.

urbanized area contains a socio-ecological cross section of the city, including a large number of

One System, Two Sites

public housing projects. Often the thresholds

Within the watershed, we each selected a thresh-

between the structure and the street or between

old condition to deploy our designs. Chelsea

the street and the stream valley are leftover,

selected a transition between the urbanized, in-

forgotten areas that do not improve the lives

dustrial area of the IX Building and the forested,

of those who live nearby, nor the performance

eroded channel of lower Pollocks Branch. James

of the impacted watershed. These sites are

cited the system on Garrett Street, at a transition

places of potential, where a new surface might

between the existing street and his proposal

create a staging ground for improved hydrologic

for new mixed-income housing. Currently, the

performance and public appropriation.

existing Friendship Court affordable housing project lacks a relationship to Garrett street and, consequently, with the greater urban fabric.


Pollockâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Branch watershed has becomed a hybridized infrastructure composed of pipes and creeks which drains much of south downtown. Because of urbanization, the watershed cannot return to its predevelopment state. We must rethink our approach and employ a full range of strategies from infiltration ponds high in the watershed to stabilization and filtration lower.


Friendship Court turns its back on Garrett Street, leaving a nomanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s land in between the two.

Impervious surfaces direct stormwater into storm drains that empty directly into Pollockâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Branch. This results in a polluted and eroded stream channel. Adding more pervious surfaces and areas that slow, hold, and infiltrate water will help alleviate these issues.


There exists a vast range of paving experiments which provide precedent for creating a gradient of infiltration, retention and conveyance.

Figure 1

Figure 4

Figure 2

Figure 3 100

Figure 5

Figure 6

Figure 7

Figure 8 101

Right: Small paver models were quickly cut in the wood shop with basic tools. Different arrangements of these pieces create different networks of water movement, retention, or infiltration. Opposite: Half scale wood models were made to get a sense of scale for the rills and cuts.


Altering mesh surfaces in Rhino, we were able to subtly manipulate the surfaces and use the router to produce more subtle surfaces for conveying, storing and infiltrating water than the woodshopâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s tools were suited for. Center: Rhinocerous screen captures of paver models. Bottom: Routing a positive, full scale, mock-up of a retention paving tile. 103



12” 36” INFILTRATE 2”






2” 2”




This proposal for the threshold between Garrett Street and a new mixed income housing neighborhood uses grading to provide extra infiltration capacity in a highly urbanized part of the watershed. “Infiltration bosques” use planted form to help define infiltration areas along with the differentiation of pavers at the edge.


Above: Section showing the interaction between street swale and infiltration bosques. Below: Plan showing heaviest zones of human movement (red) and water movement (blue).


Above: Perspective showing graded earth with pavers overlaid. Below: A concept for a cistern bench which integrates a hand pump to activate water rills in tiles with rainwater from the buried cistern.


This proposal for the threshold between the IX Complex and the Pollockâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Branch riparian corridor uses a variety of techniques to hold, filter, and store water while also providing new public spaces for people to inhabit.


Plans for three scenarios that convey, hold, and infiltrate water. Top: Infiltration pavers allow water to seep into ground. Grass is able to grow through the pavers, providing a soft place to sit. Middle: The active alcove is made up of smooth pavers that shed water to the edges where water is hed and filtered by plants.


Bottom: In the habitat haven, puddle pavers hold water and provide bathing and drinking water for birds and other urban critters.



Endnotes and List of Figures Figure 1:

Figure 2: uploads/image/hl1.jpg

Figure 3: uploads/2012/05/07_townhall-square_%C2%B8-atelier2730x547.jpg

Figure 4: http://www.mimoa. eu/projects/United%20States/ Cincinnati/University%20of%20 Cincinnati%20Campus%20Green

Figure 5: uploads/2013/01/Campus-Venloby-Carve-Landscape-Architecture-13.jpg

Figure 6: post/38406045222/enochliewkeio-university-roof-garden-bymichel#

Figure 7: projects/616/simon-and-helendirector-park-4_rpg.jpg

Figure 8: http://www.asla. org/2011awards/images/smallscale/088_16.jpg








TILT + DIMPLE (wider)



CARVE + DIMPLE (widest)





PAVING, SPEED, MICRO-TOPOGRAPHY circulation infiltration pedestrian


flows porosity accessibility

This exploration builds on my studio work from

spaces must now take on the added charge of

Studio 7010, “Green Infrastructure as Public

improving the ecological functioning of cities.

Space,” undertaken in the Fall of 2012 with Leena

The red paver cladding the ramp that forms the

Cho and Beth Meyer. My design, “Red Ramp to

spine of Charlottesville’s City Market district is

a New Normal”, decenters the paradigm of full

more than a wayfinding devise situating the mar-

ambulatory functioning with a multi-block urban

ket district as a public space with connections to

ramp, positioning the spatial experience of the

Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall. Layered onto

elderly and wheelchair bound as the central

the social agenda of both associating and dif-


ferentiating the Market and the Mall, the ramp’s paving treatment contains the ecological pro-

The proposal also recognizes that there is no

gram of addressing Charlottesville’s stormwater

one size fits all solution to creating vibrant public

management needs. A porosity gradient within

space that suits the needs of a diverse urban

the language of the Market District’s paving

population. Picking up on dramatic topographic

distributes urban stormwater away from certain

fluctuations on site, an emphasis is placed on

areas and collects it in others. At the same time,

the groundplane as a vehicle for introducing a

these differences in paving reinforce the social

multiplicity of spatial conditions. This variety is

goals of the project, creating areas of optimal

achieved through the use a single “brick-like”

circulation for users of varying physical abilities,

paving unit with differntiated sides that morph

and encouraging gathering and moments of

planemetrically and sectionally, creating a

pause in areas where the rapid movement of

thickened surface onto which increased socio-

people is less ideal.

ecological functioning is projected.

Background In addition to the ever-elusive task of placemaking, newly designed and redesigned urban public 111

Process The paving system in this project relies on two gradients - one of storage and infiltration of water, and one of speed of pedestrian movement. There is an inverse relationship between the the two. Where the paving allows for the most water storage and infiltration, pedestrian movement slows to a stop; where the pavers are the least permeable, and incapable of water detention, people can circulated with the greatest ease and speed.

The Unit These distinctions are achieved through four methods of differentiation: The presence/absence of micro-basins on the face of the paver, and the size of the micro-basins when they are present; the overall verticle profile of the paver side; the overall horizontal profile of the paver side; and the arrange of the pavers as a group.

Figure 1 Diagram exploring the speed and direction of human movement, the direction of water sheeting, and the rate of water absorbtion where infiltration occurs.

Figure 2 Concept diagram illustrating inverse relationship between the flow of water and the flow of people through different paving conditions on the site. 112

Figure 3 Four speeds of human circulation - rapid directed movement, strolling, pausing, and stopping - correlate with four types of paving conditions, each of which forms a portion of the site. These paving conditions each have different water detention capacities, some facilitating significant storage, while others are completely unabsorbant. In addition to the four paving options, a fifth groundplane condition exists, where urban water infilitration is prioritized over the movement of people. In these areas there is no paving, and human occupation is not permitted. In relation to the projectâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s farmerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s market program, strolling is connected to browsing and pausing to buying. 113


Figure 4 Analytics of paver typologies: plan view, section view, perspective, and flow notation.

TILT + DIMPLE TILT + TILT + DIMPLE DIMPLE (wider) TILT + DIMPLE (wider) TILT + DIMPLE CARVE TILT ++ (wider) DIMPLE (widest) (wider) CARVE + DIMPLE (widest) CARVE + 114










Figure 5 Field showing each of the paving conditions. 116

Figure 6 Portion of plan illustrating paving directionality by zone 117

Figure 7 Groundplane plan locating each type of paving condition on the site.

0 GO











DRAINAGE, PAVING, PROGRAMMED VOIDS modular constructed landscape


pathways framework

The intention of this project is to construct a

Project Background

framework that assists in the programmatic

The overall scheme of the project is first pro-

layout of nature, as well as create an engaging

duced in plan. The initial form is a simple circle. A

surface that offers multiple per formative

field condition is formed through the mutual use

effects. By utilizing parametric software for spa-

of Rhino and Grasshopper. The user can create

tial construction, we can define pathways and

a gradient of programmatic needs in the field

planting programs within a system. Modulation

by adjusting the relative diameter of the circles,

of a series of voids dictates the spatial reasoning

producing voids that have potential to be large

of the system and informs the user how to con-

planter wells or modules that can be extruded

struct an optimal outdoor dwelling. Starting with

and sat on, among other things.

a simple urban site condition the project shifts toward a more dynamic landscape, resembling

Moving into Mastercam (a CAD/CAM program) the

forms seen at Belle Isle, revealing additional per

mold for the modules can be produced by a CNC

formative effects.

Router. Mastercam turns the surface into a series of pathways that the Router can follow, carving


out the mold for us. Foam gives us the oppor-

This project embraces the idea of a constructed

tunity to rapidly produce these molds. Prepped

landscape and programmed nature.

with a layer of Vaseline, the mold transfers a

Aesthetically it resembles the forms seen at Belle

smoother surface to the module. Concrete is

Isle in Richmond, Virginia. This project will be

then poured into the mold and left to dry. The

produced through concrete by casting in to a

final form is on a scale slightly larger than a paver

mold that is fabricated through CNC tools. The

block, and is laid out in the same manner.

resulting “concrete lattice” functions as a permanent template for nature’s growth.


Figure 1 Aerial view of Route 1 passing over Belle Isle

Figure 2 Aerial focus on overhead void conditions

Belle Isle This landscape, located just south of the VCU campus, provides the inspiration for this project. It is incredibly lively and full of people on a spring day during a site visit. It exists as a successful landscape program, which is why I intend to re-construct it. This project will first adapt the language of this site into a gridded and highly controlled system before exploring more â&#x20AC;&#x153;naturalâ&#x20AC;? forms.


Figure 3 Children playing on the rocky landscape

Figure 4 VCU students and Richmond locals enjoying their day off

Figure 5 Void conditions


Figure 6 Working in Grasshopper

Figure 7 Developing pathways

Figure 8 Planting

Figure 9


Prototype renderings


Figure 10 CNC Onsrud here at University of Virginia School of Architecture

Figure 11-13 Protoypes in full scale, half scale, and quarter scale


Figure 14

Pathway module

Field conditions

Foothold module Planting program

Extrude/seated form

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Webâ&#x20AC;? series

Figure 15 Field gradient of water, pathways, and nature in reference to the Rivanna River bank *see next page


Figure 16 Surface FX project appied to ARCH 2020 housing studio as a programmed landscape

Figure 17 Concept applied to Rivanna River in Charlottesville. Virginia


Figure 18 Belle Isle inspired form, referred to as a “web”

Figure 19 Mastercam tool paths

Figure 20 Foam mold produced by CNC Router (4’ x 8’)


Figure 21 Concrete casted in to mold

Figure 22 Concrete pavers removed from mold after curing over night

Figure 23 Initial configuration


Figure 24 Site installation (Fine Arts Grounds)

Figure 25 Detail of inner â&#x20AC;&#x153;webâ&#x20AC;?


Figure 26-27 Bounding the “web” in to 5’ x 5’ box creates a tile-like system that will allow these installations to sit more seamlessly next to one another. This will allow the framework to expand more easily over time because its edge conditions are not as particular as the original “web” form. 131



circulation fractal islands channels filtration

An urban river garden creates a space of gather-

filters toxins, nutrients, and sediments out of the

ing, exploration, movement, pause, and vegeta-

water, and creates habitat for riparian species.

tion along an urban river. No longer considered scrap land for being undevelopable and a hassle

Project Background

to cross, the urban river garden gives the water a

Inspired by the form of Islamic water gardens of

place in the city and makes it more accessible for

four water channels leading to a central pool,


and the accessibility of the water to those in the garden, I created a sloped, gridded surface with


orthogonal channels. The slope of those chan-

In examining the spatial relationship between

nels direct water throughout the garden allowing

people in Baltimore and Jones Falls, it becomes

water flows to join and separate. This indirect

clear that there are two drivers of separation

path of the water slows the velocity allowing

between them. The first driver is contamina-

sediments to drop out, creates extensive surface

tion. For aesthetic and health reasons, people

area for filtration, expands the space available

do not want to be near water that has toxins or

for periodic high volumes of water. Furthermore,

pathogens in it, and this impulse has reduced

the grid pattern mirrors that of the gridded city,

the interaction between people and the river

connecting the flow of traffic to the flow of water

over time. The second driver, partially stem-

and the islands in between to city blocks.

ming from the first issue of contamination, is constructed barriers. Retaining walls, flood walls, high bridges, and an expressway converting the channelized Jones Falls into a culvert all make it difficult for people to access or even view the river. This project proposes a strategy of creating an occupiable surface that alleviates flooding, 133

Figure 1 Manipulations of surface planes and protrusions (both pages). 134





Figure 2 A. Existing channelized river. B. Expand river to accommodate flooding and slow water flow. C. Insert elements to enable occupation, increase turbulence, and increase surface area touching water.

Figure 3 CNC milled test surface 136



3. 4. Figure 4 Test of water flow and sediment accumulation. 1. Primary water flows. 2. Backflows. 3. Diagram of sediment accumulation. 4. Image of sediment accumulation after test. 137

Figure 5 Model iterations. Variables include height of exit lip, percent slope from center to wings, and height of protrusions. 138


Figure 6 Examination of scale possibilities.

Figure 7 Exploration of the quality of the mounds. 140

Figure 8 Gridded steps allow vegetation to grow beneath steps. Figure 9 Form as channels, vegetated islands, and floating docks.


Figure 10 Detail drawing of the proposed surface

Grated surface allows vegetation to emerge through steps.

Foam blocks on ends of steps provide buoyancy when water rises.

Boulder-lined channels create microhabitats, allowing for seed settlement and sheltered conditiosn for aquatic animals. 142

Figure 11 Walkable surface responds to live flows 143

Figure 12 Boardwalk steps and paths rise with rising water levels up to a limit. While river garden is designed to be occupiable, it can accommodate flooding. 144


Channels distribute water flow, introducing turbulence, increasing sedimentation

Vegetation filters water Increases drag, absorbs nutrients

Figure 13 Diagram identifying surface characteristics 146

Floatable dock structure creates habitable space within the river under a range of flow conditions


Figure 14 Grid aggregation and juxtaposition as applied to the city of Baltimore. 148




path legibility

The shifting sandy ground of barrier islands, des-

ing roads in sand come from the military, which

erts, sand spits presents significant challenges

has pioneered a suite of strategies for building

for developing paths and roads. This project

temporary roads for tanks and equipment on

explores a methodology for constructing and

shifting desert and beach sands.

marking temporary roads on barrier island that

These strategies fall into three main categories:

facilitates cross-path sand flux while continu-

movable metal and plastic mats placed on top

ing to provide path legibility and stormwater

of sand; geosynthetic webs and fibers woven


through sand; and geosynthetic polymers that bind sand together. Polymer and biological sand


binders are particularly intriguing because they

Barrier islands are always on the move, respond-

apply fewer outside materials and provide the

ing to changes in nearshore sediment fluxes and

possibility of reapplication of a road surface on

changes in sea level. On the east coast of the

top of overwash sand.

United States, many developed barrier islands were actively moving shoreward prior to being

Polymer Binders

pinned in place by development. Sand-covered

This project began with an exploration of

asphalt roads and paths are a perennial problem

biodegradable polymers or biological binding

on these islands, typically managed (with varying

agents to bind existing sand into a migratory

degrees of success) with street sweeping. This

road surface (essentially an â&#x20AC;&#x153;unpavedâ&#x20AC;? sand

project asks--how can road and path construc-

road). This surface could be reapplied on top

tion respond directly with this precondition of

of a geofiber bound sand base in response to

the site?

the gradual accumulation of sand layers. This surface could be patterned and compacted using


a custom-tooled compacting cylinder, and the

Many of the most ingenious approaches to build-

pattern pressed into the sand will ideally provide


some self-cleaning ability that responds to shifting coastal winds, allows access by bikes and light vehicles, and accomodates the infiltration of rainwater into underlying sand substrates (a pervious paving strategy). In order to meets these objectives, several pattern types were explored, beginning with the language and processes of ripple formation in beach sands. Ripples form from interaction of winds with sand surfaces. Basic ripple formation starts with a discontinuity in the sand surface. On the downwind side of a concave depression in the sand, the combination of saltation by sand grains and more exposure to oncoming winds tend to move sand quickly upslope, forming a small berm at the top of the concave depression. On the upwind side of the depression, sand slips down the face of the concave depression at a slower rate. The imbalance in this sediment budget favors ripples growing taller and depressions growing deeper, up to a typical maximum height for ripples, at which the ripples tend migrate laterally but no longer gain in elevation.

Irrigation and geogrid Despite the benefits of sand binders as a temporary road-buildling surface, this project ultimately pursued another, less invasive technique for establishing overwash roads--using a geogrid base and simple wetting of the surface sand to immobilize and compact the top layers of sand. In this system, a stabilized surface is marked with sprinkler buoys that can wet the sand on dry days, creating visual contrast and keeping sand from blowing off of the road. Over time, the action of this applied water along with rainstorms and the wear of drivers on roads will slowly compact the road into a hard, smooth surface for driving. The irrigation buoys will provide side benefits for cooling down sand and beachgoers between the beach and cottages in the backshore. In a system of engineered retreat, the overwash road could migrate landward, replacing infrastructure as it moves. 152


1. accumulate

2. bind+ compact

3. accumulate

4. repeat




Heavy Minerals + Binder


Compacted Sand

Pattern 1

1 cm 10 cm

Heavy Minerals + Binder

Heavy Minerals + Binder



Compacted Sand

Compacted Sand

Pattern 2

Pattern 3 156




blending interstitial space responsive desire lines

Reconsidering Maintenance By supplementing traditional path typologies with informal, temporary walking surfaces, this project proposes an adaptive path network with a tighter fit between traffic and structure. Based on observations of path use on the University of Virginia central grounds, the new system defines a path as a concentration of pedestrian flows within a gradient field of occupation rather than as a rigid vector with discrete edges. Thus paths become mobile and responsive to changing patterns of use. Existing maintenance problems caused by the movement of people outside path boundaries are used as inspiration for the proper form and character of paths.


Adaptive Networks The context for this project is a subject that is often mundane, but undeniably influential. In all developed areas from cities to suburbs there are networks of paths for pedestrian circulation. While existing networks include paths of various sizes and materials, almost all are designed to be permanent, low-maintenance surfaces. Building codes, the generative script for these paths, dictate minimum dimensions and accessibility standards. These codes and economic pressure yield uniform paths that require significant work to install and are typically impervious. Conventional paths are designed according to general standards and once built are not easily adapted to local needs. In this context there are many opportunities for paths with a short lifespan that can be easily installed. Formal diversity also provides social benefits, creating informal, dynamic alternatives to traditional paths with integrated spaces for lingering, socializing, and other activities. Focusing on small scale variations in paths contrasts with the macro-scale concerns of infrastructural urbanism, yet the investigation is inspired by the call of Stan Allen and others for highly responsive networks that can serve many needs simultaneously.



0” 6’6”






7’2’-0” 1’-0”



’ 7’

2’ 3


4-5 12” 6” 7’-6” 6” 12”

6” 12” 4’2”


Unintended Successes Worn dirt tracks and eroded path edges already

carrâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hill

show the adaptation of existing pathways as foot

fraternity row

traffic blends what was designed as a hard line into a diffuse gradient zone. The site chosen for the development of this project is a lawn to the north of the Rotunda at the University of Virginia. the corner

The area is crossed by two major brick pathways with the areas between planted in grass with a

alderman library

mix of mature tree species. These paths are the primary connections between the residential and


academic buildings on Rugby Road, the central Grounds, Alderman Library, and restaurants on the Corner.




Dynamic Potential Due to the high volume of traffic along them they are three feet wider than typical sidewalks, but are still unable to accommodate all the demand. Pedestrians account for most of the traffic, but cyclists and maintenance vehicles also use them and are often forced off the path to pass. The overflow has trampled the grass and compacted the turf at the edges of the paths into a muddy border, far from the immaculate edge between grass and brick desired by the University groundskeepers. At the intersection of paths, the problem is exacerbated by individuals cutting across the corner. The tendency of people approaching an intersection or sharp turn is to create a more direct route, inscribing a curved desire line inside the corner. The existing paths acknowledge this pattern with radiused corners and widened intersections, but these subtle modifications are more aesthetic than functional. There are also active strategies in use to prevent wear at corners. A preventative approach is to line the edges of paths with a temporary rope border, usually done when new sod is laid. In cases of heavy traffic from maintenance vehicles, protective turf mats are used to stabilize the ground, with mixed results.




The High Line New York James Corner Field Operations

Eerie Street Plaza Milwaukee Stoss LU

NEO Bankside London Gillespie 168


Responsive Gradients Desire lines are a challenge to landscape maintenance across the University campus. Though groundskeepers and administrators see them as a nuisance and a blemish to be covered over and prevented, desire lines testify to the range of movement and activity that path networks


should accommodate. Implementing a more diverse range of paths with varying dimensions, materials, porosity, and permanence is a solution to the perceived problem that can improve the


overall quality of landscapes. Gradients between paved surfaces and planted areas have been


used successfully in recent projects. In the High BORDER ON FORMAL PATHWAY

Line, James Corner Field Operations designed a


small set of paver variations that create a gradient from fully paved to full vegetation. Stoss LandC.L. EXTG PATH

scape Urbanism used a single rectangular paver


for the Erie Street Plaza, but allowed the pattern to spread and dissolve where less paving was needed. These precedents are visually compelling and successfully create informal hybridized spaces without traditional separations between programmatic functions. However, they are also permanent and difficult to adapt to changing




patterns of use. Though their diffuse form seems to accommodate variable, shifting use, they are in reality static. 3”









Site Manipulations The challenge of a site with an established network of paths and a tightly controlled material palette is distinct from the largely blank slate presented to the designers of most projects that have implemented gradient paving. By removing the option to clear the site and instead making small study interventions it is possible to observe how a surface effects changes in pedestrian movement and is in turn affected by it. As a model for experimentation, each successive intervention is an opportunity to respond to actual use. To create a dynamic surface that registers the movement of traffic across it, layers of crushed stone are arranged alongside the existing brick paths following the arcs already worn into the turf. The loose aggregate is colored to make its movement easily visible. To create a positive relationship between traffic moving across the surface and vegetation, the gravel bed is seeded with plant species that can grow under different levels of foot traffic. Instead of the single grass type found across the lawns, the new species and pedestrians will create a fluctuating pattern of grasses.

Site Studies Grid, Offset, Fillet 170


Desire Line Arcs Added Program

Tree Canopy

Path Demand

8â&#x20AC;&#x2122; Base Grid


Programmatic Diversity To encourage a wider range of activity on the site the new surface includes subtle lines of brick and gravel leading to spaces in the lawns defined by plantings of another grass species. These small trails signal that the lawns are intended to be used not just passed by. The border added to the existing path swells to create small pockets where passing friends can stop to catch up and visiting families can stop to decide where to go next. In the triangular island between three paths the surface creates a new zone for lingering, talking, and watching at this busy intersection.

4-Inch Grid

4-Foot Grid

Existing Paving



Seasonal Change In addition to the functional benefit of turf stabilization and the circulation benefit of greater path options, this surface can be a means of registering seasonal changes and marking major events in the university community. The colored layers of crushed stone in the surface complement the seasonal patterns of vegetation through the year. Additional applications of crushed stone in the Universityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s colors (Blue Pantone 294 and Orange

Marking major public events.

Pantone 145) would be made for specific important events such as the start of classes, Final Exercises, football games, and Alumni Weekends. The changing colors would be a visible reminder of the range of activities going on throughout the academic year.


Calendar Year

UVA Academic Year


24-26 Orientation


27 Fall Courses Begin


27-29 Family Weekend


27-1 Thanksgiving Recess


6 Fall Courses End

Other Events

Football Season

Winter Storms January

2-10 January Term


13 Spring Courses Begin


20 MLK Day


8-16 Spring Recess


29 Spring Courses End


18 Final Exercises


Summer Courses

Jeffersonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Birthday

Foxfield Races

Independence Day


MAINTENANCE, MOWING, TOOLPATH patterning succession (re)vegetation


weeds moiré suburb yard vague terrain field

Especially following the economic decline of

topography of the lawn or field is also perhaps

the post-war suburb, vast areas of the U.S. are

the clearest expression of the thickness of land-

now shaped primarily through their landscape

scape surfaces. Vegetation is not only closely

maintenance. Understanding (re)vegetation

associated with the geological layers below, but

as an inevitable component of the forgotten

also provides a thickness of its own. Mowing, in

landscape surface, Editing Emergence utilizes

short, can be understood as the operation which

various mowing operations to edit plant

maintains vegetation as a surface and not a wall

succession, balancing the tension between care

or other enclosure. As such, it functions as an

and neglect, cleanliness and biodiversity. Two

infrastructural service to prevent vacant lots and

main strategies are identified: the spatial volume

other vague terrain from getting “overgrown.”

and the field pattern. In the first, mowing only

This type of mowing is usually complaint driven

takes place in those areas most under threat

and occurs about twice a year (if at all), in the late

from woody invasion, with the added value of

spring and late summer. As post-industrial cities

creating a spatial volume in what would have

shrink and post-war suburbs reach their shelf life,

been “vacant space.” Patterns are developed by

the mowing burden reaches increases with every

overlaying conventional mow paths to create a

decrease in resources. The ecological benefits

cumulative moiré affect. Both are used to guide

gained from this spontaneous revegetation are

visual and physical access through a site, reduce

usually overlooked, and instead are perceived

overall mowing, and give an aesthetic signature

negatively as a sign of blight, of neglect. In this

to vague terrain.

proposal, coexistence hybridizes unplanned revegetation with the care of maintenance to

Introduction Mowing is perhaps the closest connection to the landscape surface that an American has, with the explicit goal of reducing the height of vegetation and recreating an occupiable space. The micro177

catalyze redevelopment and create a lasting ecological infrastructure.

Project Description Like all maintenance, economy of operations is paramount to mowing and if any alternative strategy is to be received favorably it must reduce overall mowing. One way to achieve this is by adhering to convention so that the design remains legible to operators and achievable in the field. By diagramming “the rules” of conventional mow paths, aesthetically and spatially desirable opportunities were identified for the shrinking city. Two main strategies are identified: the spatial volume, and the field pattern. In the first, mowing only takes place in those areas most under threat from woody invasion, with the added value of creating a spatial volume in what would have been “vacant space.” Patterns are developed by overlaying conventional mow paths to create a cumulative moiré affect. Both are used to guide visual and physical access through a site, reduce overall mowing, and give an aesthetic signature to vague terrain. Both are also intended to be performed at the beginning of the mowing season in late Spring. For the late Summer mowing, the previous paths can be repeated to create frames around successional vegetation or the entire site can be mowed for a blank slate the following year. In total, eight operations were designed, and range in complexity and time savings. Each were originally drawn in plan based on the formal logic of the mowing typology and then drawn in axon to better communicate their spatial affects. 178

Figures 1-4 (left) Gilles Clement is known as a pioneer of â&#x20AC;&#x153;design through gardening,â&#x20AC;? but the spatial potential of maintenance can also be found in the art world (Dennis Oppenheim) and throughout the vernacular landscape.

Figures 5,6 Convention and tool logic of mowing

Figures 7,8 Initial concept to pattern spontaneous vegetation by overlaying two mowing paths. 179


“Mow one-third of the lot along the street frontage.” 39% of conventional mow time

shadow mowing

“Mow two rows along shaded edge.” 37% of conventional mow time


“Mow around each tree making a continuous line.” 46% of conventional mow time

zamboni rotation

“Mow every other row, leaving a strip unmowed in between.” 50% of total mow time

Figure 9 Formal/spatial possibilities of conventional mow paths 180


“After Zamboni, alternate mowing the unmown strips, changing rows back and forth every X feet/ seconds.” 79% of conventional mow time

zamboni hedgerow

“Mow headrows along edge, then mow perpendicular to street every X feet to create unmowed boxes.” 78% of conventional mow time

big box

“Zamboni along irregular edge perpendicular to street, then Zamboni straight rows parallel to street.” 93% of conventional mow time

field moiré

Figure 10 As the operator becomes more familiar with these sequences, more complex patterns may be established.

“Start by mowing a spiral. After it becomes a zamboni, mow one headrow. Pick a direction and mow across the field, turning 90° towards the most open side every time you reach the edge until satisfied.” 61% of conventional mow time




Figure 12

Figure 11

Figure 13

Figure 14

Figure 15

Figure 17

Figure 16

Figure 18

Figure 19 184

Patterns were also explored parametrically to be able to quickly represent the scalar differences of various mowing instruments. All designs were modelled using CNC and then finally tested with a walk-behind, rotary lawn mower to understand feasibility and material response at the body scale.

Figures Figure 1: Gilles Clement “Le jardin en mouvement” Figure 2: Dennis Oppenheim, “Directed Seeding” Figure 3: Central Virginia wayside Figure 4: Central Virginia foreclosed subdivision Figure 5: Conventional Mow Paths Figure 6: Mowing Tool Logic Figure 7: Field moiré overlay concept (plan) Figure 8: Field moiré overlay concept (axon) Figure 9: Mowing strategies 1-4 (typology, axon, narrative, routed and mown models) Figure 10: Mowing strategies 5-8 (typology, axon, narrative, routed and mown models) Figures 11-19: Field moiré representations, modeling and experimentation


ROOF GARDEN, URBAN AGRICULTURE, SOLAR RADIATION conduction absorption reflection


roof tile

The current system of food supply in the United

Traditional farming techniques often achieve

States is incredibly carbon intensive, as it often

these goals through the use of designed struc-

requires produce to be transported across the

tures to create microclimates for plants. From

whole country, or even halfway around the

bell jars, to cold frames, to greenhouses, farmers

world. This food is then often stored and sold

have devised a number of different solutions to

in massive grocery stores full of artificial lighting

extend their growing and harvest seasons. Of

and extensive refrigeration to keep the harvested

particular interest to me is the French tech-

produce from spoiling. Still, a huge percentage

nique of south-facing, sloped beds, sometimes

of the produce ends up getting thrown out and

called “ados” or “côtières,” backed by a thick

wasted, and rarely are its nutrients returned to

masonry wall to act as additional protection and

the soil.

thermal mass for heat storage (Fig. 1)2. Because this technique employs geometry and surface

Increasing opportunities and solutions for

modulation rather than enclosure, it seemed like

urban farming is one way to help transform this

an interesting candidate for translation into a

system: if food is growing locally, it doesn’t need

mass-produceable unit.

to be harvested until it is needed, significantly reducing refrigeration loads. A challenge to

As a unit intended to be a tileable module,

widespread implementation of this model is the

the geometry of the units could be adjusted

popular belief in much of North America that

based on the specific climatic conditions of the

thriving vegetable gardens are a seasonal oc-

intended installation site. In addition, the mate-

currance. While there is a seasonal cycle to the

rials would ideally be as light as possible to limit

growth of edible plants, by staggering planting

the addtional structure necessary to support

and protecting plants from wind and frost, fresh,

such a roof garden. Other functions that could

diverse foods can be harvested year-round.

be incorporated into the unit are water proofing,


and irrigation. 187

In practice, this unit would serve the role of the “eggcrate” layer in conventional green-roof assemblies (Fig. 5). Rigid, relatively light-weight plastic is the most common material for this layer, and is similarly a reasonable material for these units, satisfying the requirements for weigh,

Figure 1

waterproofing, and strength. In order to provide increased wind protection, the traditional straight wall of the sloped-bed system could be curved or angled (Fig. 2). To take advantage of the radiant energy of the low winter sun, the “wall” portion of the assembly could be backed on the south slope with a highthermal-mass material, such as masonry, or even water. The geometrical relationship between the height of the “wall” and the winter angle of the sun would govern the width of the walkway, with a minimum width of about 24” for ease of maintenance and harvest (Fig. 3). An alternative parameter for controlling the height of the hillocks is to base their heights on their distance from a specific point, with more tender crops planted in the more protected pockets.

Figure 2

Like traditional terra-cotta roof tiles, these units would overlap and interlock to cover the roof area. Channels within each unit would store gray water that fell on the garden, but could also be used for irrigation. Gutters at the sides of the units would act as an overflow failsafe for the irrigation channels, and could channel surplus water to a graywater storage system to feed the occasional irrigation needs. Figure 3 188

Figure 4

Figure 6

Figure 5

Figure 7

Figure 8 189

Figure 9 Relationship of sun angles to tile geometry

Winter Solstice Sun Altitude


θ d If h is fixed, then:

Fig. 3

d = h/sin(θ)

Boston, Latitude 42.2 °N

Charlottesville, Latitude 38 °N

Charleston, Latitude 32.8 °N

Winter Solstice Angle: 24.1 °

Winter Solstice Angle: 28.5 °

Winter Solstice Angle: 33.7 °

Figure 10 Tile Model, First Iteration with gutters




Figure 11 Tile Plan, showing gutters

Figure 12 Parametrically generated tile with improved overlapping for waterproofing


Figure 13 Field of tiles representing potential installation

Figure 14 Deployment of Roof Tile , with planting.


Figure 15 Schematic of height modulation based on distance from bottom corner


BENCH, THERMAL BOUNDARY, HUMAN COMFORT solar radiation conduction absorption

THERMAL BENCH... ...IT LAGS (some places more than others) Chris Woods

reflection mean solar gain tactile quality

The objective was to define space through the

thin edge. They were also imbedded into the

use of thermal gradients, creating conditions

bench surface as an external cue to the internal

which could be registered as desirable or unde-

composition. Additionally, they serve as a mech-


sirable, therefore giving the user a choice. This

anism to create a highly tactile object, drawing


was accomplished through the use of a tactile

the userâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hand in contact with the bench.


object which comes in contact with the body. To test my hypothesis, I constructed a one-third scale model to take temperature readings. The

Introduction The project was conceived as part of a study in

mold was constructed using CNC fabrication and

thermal dynamics in the landscape, and applied

poured with high-performance ductal concrete.

to public space within a farmers market. The

The bench began to preform immediately, as

bench uses the principle of thermal mass and

the endothermic reaction of the curing concrete

lagging temperatures to create varied conditions.

created perceptible thermal gradients. At the

It was created through the use of concrete and

completion of the curing process, the bench was

metal aggregates, which were then placed in a

placed outside and it continued to register gra-

dynamic environment.

dients upwards of ten degrees from end to end, responding to the diurnal fluctuations.

Project Background My hypothesis stated that by forming one end of the bench with a larger thermal mass than the other, that endâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s temperature would lag when shifting from cold to hot, staying colder longer or vice versa. The bench form was created beginning with a solid mass, then subtracting material away to create a gradient of voided space. Metal aggregates were added into the concrete mix in order to increase the thermal coefficient of the 195

The bench was conceived as an addition to a system created for a larger field of thermal gradients, including pavers, vegetated surfaces, and canopies as a means of organization. The surface and canopies create comfortable outdoor spaces; extending the seasons and stretching the comfort of one season into the next.


internal temp high mass

low mass



ambient temp


This intervention does not reinforce a homogenous condition or static character. It seeks to increase awareness and understanding of change and specific properties of material, light, and movement. Space is conceived through its properties and its seasonal and diurnal change; itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s perceived and experienced as relational, contingent and fluctuating.









Surface FX  

Landscape Surfaces; such as paving assemblies, drainage structures, retaining walls, and erosion control systems, occupy a potentially dynam...

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