DESIGN FRAMEWORK 1. Replacing current pavement with new technology The focus area frequently floods and creates puddles that are obstacles to pedestrians. In order to remedy the flooding and the degraded concrete issue, we propose using a layered pavement technique where individual concrete bricks are installed on top of two layers of sorted sediment. Runoff would seep through to collection drains; additionally, bricks could be repaired individually when broken. This is an efficient alternative to patching concrete, which is the main cause of the uneven ground that currently exists.
2. Rethinking the design of the planters The existing planters located in the focus area have been identified by participants as obstacles. We propose to remove the current planters and install newer, innovative ones in alternative locations. These would provide seating options to pedestrians while helping to create a cooler microclimate and reducing the wind tunnel effect. As seen in the image, this type of planter would protect seated individuals from bicycles and skateboards; and if placed properly, will no longer pose a hazard to cyclists. It is aesthetic, provides an opportunity to enjoy good weather and is handicap accessible. Urban infrastructure such as this celebrate sustainability rather than ignoring this critical aspect of campus life.
3. Removing obstacles and streamlining pathways We propose removing the trees and grassy areas identified in the following image. This conclusion was reached through the results of the Human Activity study. By removing these trees, we can allow for bicyclists and pedestrians to travel from place to place in a safer and quicker manner. These places would be flattened and paved with the proposed pavement technique as demonstrated in Framework 1. We believe this improvement would increase the accessibility of the area for handicapped and disabled visitors and students. The inclusion of green spaces is centralized as described in Framework 7.
4. Adding outdoor cafĂŠ seating to the Starbucks nook The entrance to Starbucks is located in a corner without seating or protection from the elements. We propose adding movable tables, chairs, and umbrellas. If successful, the space would provide many seating options to students and patrons of Starbucks. Additionally, we propose to install a canopy cover to protect students from sun and rain. We have determined that movable tables and chairs are the best bet for this location. The immovable metal tables currently present are rarely used and should be disposed of.
5. Integrating student artwork into the landscape While conducting research on this region, we noticed that students rarely look up from their cell phones or tablets while walking through this intersection. The brick facades of the buildings leave more to be desired for campus with a thriving arts community. We suggest allowing students to paint murals on the walls and ground, create sculptures, and otherwise use creative flair to liven up the space. Blackboard walls or colorful lighting are also examples of artistic improvements to the space. Perhaps a splash of color or a fresh new art installation could help to boost the aesthetic quality of the space and encourage visitors to stay.
6. Adding sustainable lighting to improve safety Many participants noted that there is a lack of adequate lighting in the focus area, making it unsafe and undesirable to visit at night. To fix this issue while maintaining a focus on sustainability, we recommend using solar powered lighting. The majority of this area gets plenty of sun during the day and this can be capitalized by using photovoltaic cells instead of traditional lighting options. These cells would charge up during the day and slowly emit energy throughout the night. Only on cloudy days would electricity need to be drawn from the energy grid. New, innovative lighting solutions demonstrate the University's dedication to safety and sustainability.
7. Removing the outdoor classrooms and replacing them with a smarter green space Many participants observed that the outdoor classrooms are rarely used or in disrepair. We propose an alternative use of this space which requires their demolition. More trees, grass, and hammocks were requested frequently by students and as a result we've designed a smarter green space that integrates a connection with nature while still maintaining a close proximal location with the rest of the campus. By including a pocket of trees, a cooler microclimate is created and will be useful for the warmer months. Hardwood trees and/or apple trees would be preferred so that permanent burlap hammocks could be installed for 24/7 use. This gazebo would provide a place for students to recreate between classes and provide as an alternative overflow seating area for Starbucks.
Images created with SketchUp Make 2017
8. Exploring the use of interactive games It became clear that students would enjoy and use this space more frequently if there were interactive elements. An outdoor chess set or ping-pong table would encourage students to spend their time between classes interacting with their friends and peers in a healthy way. Using the Quicker, Lighter, and Cheaper method, these sorts of ideas could be explored with inexpensive materials before investing in more resistant sets. This proposal would provide an opportunity to play, qualifies as a "thing to see," and as a place to stop and stand. These installations would promote a healthy image of the campus as one that fosters human interaction and encourages individuals to spend time outdoors.