Student(s): Amanda Knight
Instructor(s): Jake Boswell Justin Parscher
Course: LARCH 2930: Design Studio III: Social Dynamics
Term: Spring 2016

My two ecologies were the Rocky Mountain White Spruce Forest and the Great Plains Oak Savanna. The white spruce forest grows on the lower slopes of the Rocky Mountains in cool, moist, acidic loamy soil. Vegetation consists of white spruce trees and other ever greens, as well as ferns, lichens, mosses, and shrubs. The oak savanna is a fire ecology that grows in the Great Plains between prairies and woodlands in well-drained sandy loam soil and consists of mixed grasses and bur oak trees.

                My site is just west of COSI, bordered by three roads and an elevated railroad. I chose the site so that the concrete retaining wall of the elevated railroad could provide some shade for the white spruce ecology as well as provide wall space for soils to be mounded up against to create slopes. The site is also open, so when the savanna grasses have to be control burned, the smoke is not in the middle of downtown. The problem with the site is that it is divided into two parts by a road that runs through the middle. I address this problem by creating a vegetated pedestrian bridge. I also take the opportunity to make the two halves distinct by making the northern lot dense with vegetation and program and the southern lot more open.

                I chose my program based on my ecologies; in the spruce ecology there are sunken rock and moss gardens for meditating and in the savanna there are tanning and yoga decks. These programmatic elements also vary in size to allow different levels of privacy.


                The main concept of my project is referencing the neighborhood that used to be on the site. I got this idea from the repurposed factories, and old brick walls and floors nearby the site. According to Sanborn fire insurance maps, there used to be a row of brick houses and a row of wooden houses. I reference the first by building varying sized brick walls where they used to be to create rooms for program or to walk through. I reference wooden buildings by planting lines of shrubs where the wooden walls used to be.