Stormwater is a major infrastructural challenge for cities across the globe. While our cities continue to sprawl creating more and more impervious surfaces, climate change also intensifies storms, leading to more frequent and more intense rain events in many regions, including Ohio.
Audubon Park is located in the North Linden neighborhood of Columbus. Like much of North Linden, the park is built over the culverted remains of what was once known as Cider Press Run, now called Glen Echo Run in the spaces where it still reaches daylight. Since the 1940s, the watershed/sewershed, feeding the culverted section of Cider Press Run has expanded while simultaneously becoming increasingly urbanized and impervious. In the 1970s a large section of I-71 was also added to the watershed area of this small stream. The results of this expansion and urbanization are visible today in nearby Glen Echo Ravine which— due to its expanded watershed— now suffers from extraordinary flooding and concomitant erosion.
This studio used the Audubon park’s surface relationship to the culverted stream below as the basis for creating a new stormwater park or sponge park—a water garden that could help divert and retain excess stormwater while also enhancing the recreational and biodiversity value of the park itself.
Drifting Land is a project for G1 studio by Yuming Hsu. The project imagines how the park could engage the community in the life of water across seasons. Swales and filter ponds serve as a way to introduce water to the site while treating it and mediating between the park’s infrastructural and human functions. A screw pump system and water playground help to introduce the water into the park in playful ways. Filtration ponds act as play features and small urban microclimates in the summer while doubling as skating rinks in the winter. The magnificent and mature existing cottonwood allée on the site is underplanted with young trees to ensure its long-term continuation. The younger trees both reinforce the allée’s prominent position and impact while broadening its footprint and use as an area for community gathering and art.