Southside Precast Products fabricates landscape architecture firm West 8’s designs for an organic system of concrete benches and curbs.When Dutch landscape architecture firm West 8 envisioned a new terrain for Governors Island in New York’s East River, part of the plan included a section dubbed The Hills. The recently completed curving expanse of green space is defined by nearly one dozen curved sections, or “petals,” of seamless, white concrete bench and curb edges fabricated by Buffalo, New York-based Southside Precast Products. Ellen Cavanagh, Director of Park Design and Construction for the Governors Island Trust, said that the concrete pathways along the petals help define areas where the ground was formed to rise and recede. “They call it eyeliner,” she told AN in a recent interview. “Thick and bold white stripes give your eye an anchor so you have a better sense of depth as opposed to one solid color.” At approximately 24 inches in width, the curbs along Governor’s Island are decidedly more massive than standard street curbs. From Southside’s 37,000-square-foot facility, 4,250 curb and bench units were fabricated using a combination of custom molds. To expedite production and cut costs, a standard set of shapes was defined in AutoCAD and formed from rubber molds, but none were of standard, square dimensions. “Everything has a radius edge, from seats to curbs to the grass level,” explained Southside President Paul Rossi. The team worked with rubber and foam molds to achieve the desired, smooth texture on 3.2 miles of concrete at an affordable price. In addition to unique profiles and varying heights, West 8 designed an organic, circular low bas-relief “fish eye” pattern for every section of the curb. “The architects were very particular about the density of the pattern,” said Rossi. To ensure the patterning met the designers’ expectations, each coating was hand applied by Southside’s team of fabricators, but was modularized for 12-foot repetitions along 140 flexible, rubber molds. For corner sections and curb pieces with receding angles, hundreds of custom molds were cast to ensure the surface of each piece remained perfectly smooth and the patterning unblemished. To withstand weathering, Southside follows production guidelines established by the Architectural Precast Association (APA) for air entrainment, consolidation, and consistency of binder to aggregate. Beyond APA standards, the fabricators took advantage of the Buffalo climate and put each piece through freeze-thaw testing. Southside also applied a proprietary coating—a secret blend of epoxy and a marine-grade coating for fiberglass—to withstand salt from de-icing treatments and the river’s brackish water. The treatment, however, will not discourage development of a patina that will enhance the fish eye pattern. Once site installation was completed, designers from West 8 were able to observe the execution and American craftsmanship of their design. “Their principal was impressed with the quality of Southside’s work,” said Cavanagh. “Their principal felt it was the best product he’d seen in his career working with precast concrete.”
Posts tagged with "Landscape Architecture":
Unprecedented levels of nutrients currently trigger toxic algae blooms and elicit Lake Erie as a restoration success story. The remediation and re-use of nutrient-laden dredge material are essential strategies within future restoration efforts. Dredge City: sediment catalysis proposes the use of Edison Park in Toledo, Ohio as the site for both the processing of and exposure to sediment gouged from the Toledo Shipping Channel, the greatest producer of material within the Great Lakes system.Residential Design Category Paths of Life - Rethink the Relationship Between Different Agriculture Landscapes and Community Life Yitian Zhao and Siyu Tian, Graduate Students at University of Pennsylvania ASLA Project Statement:
Because of the very unique climate and landform in New Mexico, the traditional pueblo life style is deeply relying on the understanding and exploiting of local landscape. However, contemporary residential development in this area is somehow ignored such kind of relationship. This project rethought and applied the traditional understanding of agriculture landscape into the contemporary residential development design.Analysis and Planning Category Natural Water as Cultural Water / A 30 Year Plan for Wabash River Corridor in Lafayette Daniel (Zhicheng) Xu, Undergraduate Student at Perdue Univeristy ASLA Project Statement:
The project seeks to find the balancing point between culture and nature along the Wabash River in Lafayette, Indiana, which is currently underappreciated because of flooding, vacancy and disconnection. The design solution is an embodiment of cultural representation and technology of stormwater management in order to achieve ecological and social resilience. With potential for spontaneous use and dynamic programing, the site can transform into a sustainable infrastructure with a cultural identity that provides active waterfront experience.Communications Category Above Below Beyond Diana Fernandez, Susan Kolber, and Amy Syverson, Undergraduate Students at Temple University and University of Pennsylvania ASLA Project Statement:
Through a six-week open exhibit and the distribution of an “Exhibit Catalog,” Above Below Beyond has helped to spread the word about the potential of Philadelphia’s Reading Railroad as a public, regenerative space. Landscape architecture and architecture student work provided site context, graphic imaging, and programmatic scenarios. By sharing the often-untapped resource of student work with the public, we helped to start conversations about the future of this amazing railroad.Student Collaboration Category Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum Brad Allison, Jennifer Coogler, Kyle Cooper, Kaitlyn Hackney, Owen Harris, Jerry Hill, David Loyd, Simon Adam Martin, Austin Moore, Jacqueline Pionan, and Oliver Preus, Undergraduate Students at Mississippi State University ASLA Project Statement:
The submitted project is a 4-year, collaborative, design-build effort focused on the Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum. The site was re-envisioned as an enhancement to the museum to expand its programs and redefine its mission, which has allowed it to solidify itself as a cultural amenity within the community. With the concept of “Celebrating the Past while Embracing the Future” the site now displays the most diverse collection of integrated green infrastructure technologies within the region.All images courtesy ASLA.
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Amuneal Manufacturing fabricates a “breathing” sculpture for a North Carolina plaza.For a public plaza in downtown Chapel Hill, North Carolina, landscape architecture firm Mikyoung Kim Design designed a unique sculptural installation that doubles as a stormwater management system. The 70-foot linear form is centrally located to engage the town’s residents with a looped, 10-minute light show. A misting sequence, drawn from a subgrade cistern, emanates through the perforated metal skin of the sculpture, giving the impression that “Exhale” is actually a living, breathing object. The original concept for the piece incorporated hydrological elements of the site in an engaging and transparent way, but the form was less defined. Over the course of nine months, designer Mikyoung Kim said her team designed countless rock-like shapes from clay, carving each from the inside out to achieve a thin, amorphous shape that consistently collapsed in on itself. Then, one night at home, Kim had a breakthrough when her idling hands picked up a few sheets of trace paper in the early morning hours. “I started folding a piece of trace paper and kept folding, and folding,” she recalled. “It was yellow and easy and beautiful; I fell in love with that.” The sheets also helped Kim balance her aim for delicacy with function and helped define Exhale’s fan-like corrugation. Through a series of quarter-scale mockups and Rhino drawings, the team worked to refine the size of the sculpture’s perforations, a process Kim likened to “squinting to make it clearer.” There are more perforations on the top than on the bottom, giving the impression of a sturdy base with a lighter feeling above. Another challenge came in integrating the corrugated, perforated surface with a support structure. Parametric scripting helped Kim dictate where the perforations would fall in relation to the framing elements. Kim turned to long-time collaborator Amuneal Manufacturing to fabricate the design. Amuneal converted the drawing from Kim’s Rhino files to Solid Edge. Those files were used to laser cut the sheet’s trapezoidal geometry and perforations from marine-grade stainless steel sheets. Amuneal’s CEO, Adam Kamens, estimated that almost 50 sheets where welded together to create the final form. Radial corrugations were folded on a CNC press brake. Because Exhale was designed for a plaza that wasn’t perfectly flat, Amuneal executed as much pre-assembly in its Philadelphia facility as possible. Sheets as large as the bed of a truck were craned into place and welded together on site. Abrasive finishing smoothed over seams and connections. The curved, stainless steel sheets conceal an internal misting tube that releases vapor through a high-pressure spray, as well as color-changing LEDs. Kim’s favorite part of the design experience was watching public reception of her work, which was unveiled on a warm day in late spring. “The combination of all the elements created a reaction from Chapel Hill that was a pleasure to watch,” she told AN. “I watched kids engaging it immediately and it made all of the hard work worthwhile.”
Lake Shore Drive was originally designed as “a boulevard. It was a pleasure drive early on,’’ said Lee Crandell of the Active Transportation Alliance, among the 15 groups that helped to write the “Our Lakefront” plan.
“It’s slowly turned into a freeway,’’ Crandell said. “We want it to feel like a boulevard.’’Read the full conceptual plan here. Three public hearings are scheduled this week:
- Aug. 6, 6 - 8 p.m., Gill Park, 825 W. Sheridan Road, 3rd Floor
- Aug. 7, 6 - 8 p.m., Truman College, 1145 W. Wilson Avenue, Atrium
- Aug. 8, 6 - 8 p.m., Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 N. Cannon Drive, South Gallery
The platform calls for separating transit from car traffic with bus-only lanes and other public transit enhancements, such as Bus Rapid Transit. BRT vehicles are often designed to look similar to light rail vehicles (this is why BRT is sometimes referred to as light rail with rubber wheels), and the drawing does intentionally leave it open to interpretation whether LSD could include something like BRT or light rail.
Seven design variations are applied across 17 custom wooden benches, fabricated by Mark Richey Woodworking.Sited above a vehicular tunnel and therefore bereft of old growth trees, the Plaza at Harvard University, with its aggregate porcelain paving and curvaceous, sculptural benches, stands in stark visual contrast to the school’s notably shady yard and north campus. Designed by Stoss Landscape Urbanism, the plaza serves as a multi-functional space for staff, students, and the local community. A large part of accomplishing this goal fell to the unique seating solution, a collection of custom-designed, wooden slat benches that aim to increase the function and user comfort of the public space. Some of the benches are meant for lounging with no back and a low seat height, while others are higher with full seat backs. Some twist in the manner of a Victorian tete-a-tete settee, while still others support a touchdown working posture. Stoss's design for the benches, sliced like a loaf of bread, was achieved in Rhino with a Grasshopper plugin. The parametric modeling tool was instrumental in defining the benches' complex geometries. "At every change, the curves meet two general sections so there's a morphology of that form work," said Erik Prince, an associate at Stoss who worked on the plaza. "The wooden slats are an incremental radial splay of the overall geometry so every rib has a unique angle to it." The design team produced a 3D model for each of the 17 benches. Since the benches were manufactured based on information contained in the digital files, a substantial portion of time was spent developing accurate models that could be extrapolated for the fabrication process. "It was a deep model, so even the smallest changes would cascade throughout the design," said Greg Porfido, chief operating officer at Mark Richey Woodworking, which fabricated the benches. Further intricacies of the manufacturing process came from the slight change in the angle of each rib to accomplish the complex twists and turns of unique forms. The centermost rib stands vertically erect, while those radiating out to either side increasingly angle outward along the length of each bench, culminating in as much as a 30 degree lean at each end. Mark Richey Woodworking fabricated the ribs on a 5-axis CNC mill. The sharp angles of the intersecting slats, which have parallel reveals, were achieved with mitered connections fixed with epoxy and mortise and tenon joints. Once fastened together as a "bread slice," they were laid over a metal substructure and screwed from beneath. Removable metal caps on both ends conceal drivers for LED base lighting, power and data hookups, and deliver a smooth, clean edge. Reflecting on the process of parametric design and fabrication, both Stoss Landscape Urbanism and Mark Richey Woodworking were in agreement about the success of the process and the outcome of the project. "It's a great way to communicate, but it requires a very collaborative approach," Porfido said. "The stakeholders have to have trust in the process; otherwise it doesn't work."