Today was a very big day for Studio V. We presented this morning to the Design Review Committee (great job representing us Barrett and Joseph!) and we are hoping to hear back and get approval for our project soon. Our presentation is now posted on our documents page, and you can see what we have been up to for the past 9 weeks. I know all of our avid readers have been curious and waiting to see our design and what we’ve been working on, and now you will finally know what shape our design is taking.
Our design starts with a concrete (or rammed earth, which we are going to test further before deciding whether or not it is doable in our climate, time frame, and budget) wall that is built in 4 foot sections. Each section is angled to a certain degree, and that angle slowly changes in intervals to give the wall a more dynamic look as it curves. The segments also change in height, ranging from 6″ to 48″ tall, gradually moving up and then back down at 4″ intervals. The seating follows the curve of the wall, gradually stepping out from it. Some of the blocks are low enough that they can be used for additional seating in either direction. Our main structure comes from between the blocks and comes up to support the benches and the shading structure. The shading structure will be made out of a tropical hardwood (which will increase the strength and lifespan of the project) that we are going to mill down and shape into trusses that also step back in length by 4″ at each interval. Aluminum louvers will tie the trusses together and provide the shade. Behind the wall, next to the tennis courts, is a small berm that will be planted with help from the Charleston Parks Conservancy. We are also altering the ground plane with stepping stones of concrete that follow the lines between our wall segments and sit in a bed of gravel.
Part of the beauty of our project (and a part that I am personally really excited about) is that we have created a series of very elegant curves using only straight lines. The curves of the wall, seating, and truss system are all orthogonal members that work together to create a very organic and inviting curve. The members are angled so that they create a curve in multiple planes that smoothly flow from one to the other.
The wall is placed on the site so it emphasizes the secondary entrance path along the tennis court fence that most people use when entering the park. We are going to place signage along the northern curve of the wall to welcome people in to the playground. We have met with Officer Sheiler, a police officer who patrols the parks in Charleston, to go over any safety measures necessary for our structure. Our design includes a plan for some low, ambient lighting and some up-lighting of the structure.
We have also been in contact with John Moore, an engineer, to work out the structural details, and have also been figuring out material suppliers, cost estimates, etc. This will, of course, be adjusted during our mock up process, which we are hoping to start this weekend, after we help put together the new playground equipment on Saturday. The park renovation is underway, and the new sidewalks have been poured. The base rock and mulch are also on site, and will be spread over the next couple days.
Our segmented wall continues on to phase 2 of the overall park project-the current half basketball court on the site. It will have 2 segmented walls and shading system that structurally match phase 1. The 2 walls will curve in opposite directions, creating a meeting place in the middle, a picnic area on the west side next to the 2-5 year old’s playground, and seating that faces the tennis courts as well as the field. Both of these walls also have berms within the arcs that they create. This space creates a transitional buffer space between the full basketball court and the younger children’s playground area.
It is a really exciting time for Studio V, and we are all anxious to get this project underway. We have about 1 month until our project will be complete, and a whole lot of testing, fabrication, and installation ahead of us. We are all excited to start building full-scale mock ups to test out our wall and shading structure. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but I am confident in our team that we can accomplish everything that we want to and more in the relatively short time that we have.