Well… Since I didn’t have any classes today, I thought I might go ahead and get a head start on this post… But where to start?! So much has happened in the past week, it’s hard to keep track. I’m sure as a reader outside of the studio, it’s probably pretty hard to keep up with all of the presentations and decisions and back and forth that we post about as well, so I thought I might just break it down for you – give you a little timeline, if you will…
- We began the semester by doing some site studies, watching people and how they use the site (STRICTLY for design purposes), looking at circulation and context, researching the history, and examining other successful playgrounds in the city.
- From that, we broke into groups and presented possible locations for the structure, based on different solutions to the park’s needs.
- Next was a charette, where we brainstormed ideas of shade structures, unique forms, seating possibilities, materials, and sculptures/iconic forms.
- Immediately following the charette, we broke into individual designs, where we each took a stance on solving the issues that needed to be addressed. We presented twice in this phase – the first to put our concepts on the table and ensure we were headed in a viable direction, and the second to present refined designs that included a more defined design, materials, and specific placement.
- From those ten ideas, we combined into 3 broader, stronger ideas (either all of our ideas were bad, or there were actually prevailing concepts that connected them – the verdict is still out). Each group of three explored different options within their main idea, and at the end, each “supergroup” presented their big idea.
- FINALLY, one concept was chosen where we could all hone our wandering minds down to one specific concept. There were still plenty of design problems with the winning scheme, however, and from there we had to dive further in.
- At this point there were some issues with the placement of the structure, and how it aligned with the city’s plans for the future of the park. Our next step was to address some of the issues with the Nexus (the winning scheme), and present this final concept to the Charleston Design Review Committee (a week ahead of schedule, because they only meet twice a month and we needed to nip any problems in the bud before we went too far). Upon approval, we were able to move forward with the idea, planning for two phases of construction in conjunction with the construction of the playground and expansion of the tennis courts.
- Our next step was to again refine the materials to be used in our structure that was slowly becoming clearer and clearer. This is where we are now – getting to the point where all of the details are set, and we can actually understand enough about what we’re doing to build it. The overall design includes a low wall that grows from the ground to incorporate seating and ultimately a shade structure that flies overhead. Implemented with planting, we believe that this creative, yet functional solution will be a beautiful and useful addition to complete the park. Currently we are all hard at work on our own, refining individual pieces of the design to work out all of the details.
Next week the plan is to begin construction drawings, and hopefully start the construction. Now is when we REALLY hammer down. It seems like this semester has flown by, but as I look back on all I’ve just written, it’s evident we’ve got a lot to show for it…
Until we meet again…