santa elena reserve
Santa Elena, Costa Rica
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odenton town center
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Santa Elena, Puntarenas, Costa Rica
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The Santa Elena Reserve was established in the early 1990’s, and with the exception of the new reception, their buildings are from the same era. In the cloud forests of Costa Rica, humidity levels sit around 100% and torrential rain occurs daily. After nearly 25 years of exposure to these elements, the structures are all but collapsing, foundations are rotting, and metal roofing is beginning to degrade, leading to excessive amounts of moisture in and around the buildings. A combined team of architects and landscape architects, we were tasked with redesigning the main “campus” of the Reserve. This included attention to the site’s congested circulation, degraded buildings, stormwater systems, and available buildable space
In addition to the extreme degradation of the original administrative buildings, accessibility was a major concern of the Reserve. In the final iteration of design, elevated walkways were proposed throughout the site to ensure accessible routes for individuals of all ages and abilities, while having as little impact as possible on the existing topography and natural systems. These bridges allow for a unique perspective of the cloud forest vegetation, while inspiring a new way of thinking before entering the exhibition halls in the new building.
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Between an extensive rain catchment system, tiered treatment wetland, and multiple cisterns, the new design aims to capture, store, and reuse up to 55,000 liters of water annually. Stormwater is cycled through the wetlands over multiple days, allowing vegetation and sediment filters to remove harmful pollutants before being pumped back up into the building. This system significantly reduces, and may even eliminate, the need to use potable water for things such as flushing toilets or washing field materials.
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a sense of place. The Odenton Town Center project plans to develop a 3.5 acre site in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. The new Odenton Town Center is the result of collaboration between the Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce and a team of undergraduate Landscape Architecture students at the University of Maryland, made possible by the Partnership for Action Learning in Sustainability (PALS). The design team prepared a detailed analysis of the site as well as two proposed alternatives for the future of Odenton Town Center. Each plan includes detailed connections to the surrounding community, diverse and engaging recreational and educational spaces for all ages, and recommendations to make the site safer and more accessible.
Through extensive analysis of the neighborhood and needs of the community and the site itself, we came to the following proposals. Enhancing and maintaining the function of Nevada Avenue, which currently runs through the center of the proposed site, while also allowing it to be occassionally closed off and used for various events such as a farmerâ€™s market or food truck festival. Slowing traffic on Maryland Route 175 by introducing vegetated medians and a turning lane into the site, as well as a sunken median so as not to block access to and from the Fire Station. Implementing both programmed and nonprogrammed recreational spaces, historic educational opportunities, an amphitheater, an interactive water feature, a rain garden, a restaurant and outdoor cafe, ample seating and gathering spaces, and on-site parking.
To create a space where community members are able to come together and socialize by: adding green open space. providing a site which allows for a range of activities, bringing the community closer together. planning safe circulation for pedestrians and cyclists.
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creating community. The Odenton water fountain area is one of the main design features. It proudly displays large, colorful, sculptured letters which identify ODENTON to those passing through the community as well as pedestrians entering the site. The fountain is interactive and provides play and fun for all community members. Various types of seating are available in and around this area and holds a capacity of about 100 people. An overhead pergola provides shade and comfort in a portion of the seating area. Unprogrammed, open green space allows the community members to use the area for a range of activities. The goal for this section of the design is to give the community a flexible space that allows them to plan a variety of activities. An amphitheater is located in the northwest corner of the site. Here concerts, plays, and other performances may take place. Topographic relief adjusts slightly downhill for better visual access of the stage, which may be turned into an ice rink in the winter months. Seating is provided on the grass terraces which are separated by retaining walls. The grass terraces are highlighted by lights in the evening, providing visual effects and safety. On the east side of the site, pedestrians and cyclists find themselves on a path that leads them to a nature play area consisting of grass, mounds, and wooden logs. The deck outside the cafe provides seating for up to 50 people under a tree canopy, making it a perfect place to host a wedding or other occasion. South of the cafe, a path surrounded by vegetation takes pedestrians on an interpretive journey of the history of Odenton. The path itself is intended to mimic train tracks. At the southeast corner of the site, a rain garden and memorial are located. This area provides a space for public art, or may be used as a gathering space. The paths on each side of the mall are highlighted by pergolas, which imitate the ceiling of a train station. Nevada Avenue bisects the site, making it possible for cars to drive through the park. The textured paved surface and the street trees are intended to slow traffic on the roadway. Ten parallel parking spaces are provided along Nevada Avenue.
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reguivenate. enchance. integrate. Arlington Echo is an outdoor education facility serving all primary and secondary public schools in Anne Arundel County. The facility is aging with one key building in need of replacement due to earthquake damage. Itâ€™s location along the Severn River makes it a popular place for county agencies to book meetings and retreats leading to a major parking deficit on site. In addition, the campus was not originally designed to accommodate wheel chair accessibility and needs to be fitted with trails and accommodations that enable physically challenged children to participate in the environmental learning activities offered at Arlington Echo.
Following a three month process of research, design, interim reviews, and final design proposals, the design team recommends the following: Improve campus infrastructure to current design standards. Arlington Echo has been serving Anne Arundel County Public Schools as the site for outdoor education for the past 40 years. Some of the buildings are in need of remodeling to maintain functionality and the level service needed to support the educational mission. Expand the available parking spaces. There are currently 64 parking spaces spread ad hoc throughout the campus. Frequently there are more vehicles than parking spaces available, cars are being directed to double stack parking spaces and to park on the only on-site recreational field
(damaging the field). Expanding the number of parking spaces, removing the ad hoc parking spaces and designing a standard parking lot will help reduce damage to the campus and preserve the teaching spaces. Implement ADA accessible Trails. Students in wheelchairs are currently limited to the upper area of the campus, and a small stretch of dock at the waterâ€™s edge. They are excluded from the forest trail educational system and the majority of the opportunities along the wetland edges. Arlington Echoâ€™s mission is to provide outdoor educational experiences to all students in Anne Arundel County. Implementing ADA accessible trails along the entirety of the site will enable Arlington Echo to fully achieve its mission.
ADA Trail Parking Lot Cafeteria Amphitheater View Open Play Garden Swimming Pool Wetland Fire Pit
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mission Encouraging development and imagination. The main focus of this design was to rejuvenate Arlington Echo, while maintaining the identity of the site as a whole The extensive history and continual use lead us to preserve this character, while also giving all users the opportunity to experience everything Arlington Echo has to offer, regardless of age or ability. In order to maintain these values, we devised a set of goals.
design goals Integrate seamless design to connect all elements of the site. Provide spaces that bridge the gap between the classroom and the outdoors. Transform the entire site to be completely accessible to individuals of all ages and abilities. Implement a comprehensive and sustainable solution to vehicular and pedestrian circulation. The existing site, was intended for use by everyone, regardless of disability. We were informed however, of many accessibility issues throughout Arlington Echo’s 24 acres, including the extensive trail system and piers along the Severn River. Through site inventory and analysis, as well as multiple visits to the site and conversations with staff, we formed an idea of the “vision” those who used the site most had for its design. In addition to preserving as many defining elements as possible, we regraded trails, added educational opportunities wherever possible, and created new and exciting spaces for all of Arlington Echo’s visitors, including a proposal for a research building and more efficient gathering space along side the diner.
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1. major entrances 2. secondary entrance 3. semi-private space 4. playful mounds 5. gathering space 6. storybook pathway 7. shelter benches
design goals In the neighborhood of Druid Heights, almost 30% of lots stand vacant. Within walking distance of the community, there is only one playground, and three vacant lots previously converted into green space. Beyond these, individuals may have to walk up to a mile for access to usable park space. Through collaboration with the Community Development Center, this design aim to transform these vacant lots into a landscape that encourages community interaction, as well as caters to the needs of the families living in the immediate area by creating a safe place to learn, play, and relax.
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