0.006 Site_Observation_{choose your own adventure}

For this site observation we are required to come out with our own strategy to gather data for our project. In the next month I will be working on the design of a recreational park at the Desoto park site. I am currently interested in the idea of how the future park users will get to it; the pedestrian circulation ways that they might take and the experiences that they will get along these routes before reaching the project. When analyzing the urban location of  Baton Rouge’s Downtown, it is clear that there are several circulation arteries/systems that converge on River Street, adjacent to the project.

I am particularly interested in six of them:

  • The northern connection to the casino site
  • Capitol Lake Dr.
  • State Capitol Dr.
  • Spanish Town Road (crossing the Visitor Center)
  • North Street
  • The south connection to the pedestrian levee system that connects to LSU

I believe that the conversion points of the these circulation axes can create design opportunities for  “entrances” or nodes for the project. With a good design approach these “nodes” can be articulated properly to create an internal circulation system in the park.

Technique:

-Sections / Elevations showing the spatial sequences and the most characteristic elements of each of the vectors.  Vectors could be 500 ‘-700′ long, scale TBD.

– Plan showing the vectors’ trajectory and identifying public or private facilities that offer services that can supplement the project’s program.

See diagram below for reference:


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2.001 System_Illustrate

For this project we were assigned to research and illustrate a system that affects Desoto Park directly or indirectly. I chose to represent the Human Disturbance System and was interested in the way this disturbances changed the morphology and ecosystem of the site from it’s normal condition to what it is now. My intention was to illustrate the development, intensity, frequency and synergy of such disturbances throughout  the years. I used a timeline to show the progression of the human interventions on the site from when the place was in it’s “natural state” to the present. At the same time, this interactions were linked with natural disturbances that could have exacerbated them.

It was very important to recognize that the site is constantly changing, not only by human influences but also by natural systems. Being located next to the Mississippi River, the site is temporarily flooded and receives a flow of sands and silt periodically. This has a direct effect on the flora and fauna that develops in the batture.

1.002 Connect

Below is part of the final project that Prentiss Darden and I presented for studio. The diagrams, site plan, sections and perspective try to represent the concept we used to connect the urban area of downtown Baton Rouge with Desoto Park and the Mississippi River. The final concept that we developed for this project was the ecological and human connection through a hybrid expression based on the typologies found in urban and ecological systems.

The most interesting and repetitive typology that we could find in nature was the branching. This allows the derivation of secondary connections from a single one to  create more opportunities for connectability.

At the same time, we use the idea of how plants grow on the ground and how they connect and traverse the subsurface. This helped us to structure our connection taking into account the similarity of the site, where the project is developed, with this idea. There is the upper urban area (above) and the lower batture (below) and both are divided by a narrow strip of infrastructure (River Road and the railroad). In the same way as a plant does, our connection takes place above the infrastructure strip (datum) and after traversing  it, it disperses below the datum creating new sub-connections on the lower Mississippi batture.

Sections

0.003 Site_Inventory

As part of the new project, we were ask to work in collaboration with a classmate and I am currently working with Prentiss Darden. The objective of this project is to design a plaza at the Baton Rouge’s Visitor Center. At the same time, this plaza should connect the political/cultural side of Baton Rouge’s downtown with the ecological edge of the Mississippi River.

We are still developing our concept based on the idea of “connection”. This idea does not only refers to a direct physical connection but to exploring ways in which this connection could be achieved culturally, historically, and ecologically. We are still exploring the idea of connecting “Humans with Nature” (nature referred as to the ecology found in the Mississippi River batture)  and examining the data  found in this two parallel worlds that are quite different but yet similar in some ways. Our plan attempts to define the typologies found in both places and integrate their similarities into a new hybrid expression that would be used as the main language for the whole design composition.

Find our preliminary inventory in the next posts.