Values and Form

Lynn described in the previous post about breaking down after individual designs into teams of three students into a group, and today I was reminded of the struggle of sharing and blending both values/goals and individual forms.  I’m working along with Juhee and Yage , and we’ve been coined as the “BIG small,” team.  ‘BIG small,’ refers that each of the three of us had large ideas that were manifested in the site plan as part of the big picture, but we needed to zoom in to focus on some of the smaller details in this next stage to make it work in the next stage of the process.

We were given a few values to our team to focus upon, and I think we’ve made some significant progress over the weekend:

“Shallow Storage;
Storage Comes Second;
Pavilion as Art;
The Play of Light and Shadow;
Night Lighting / Illumination.”

Over the weekend, I was trying to decide how we can simplify and keep the storage from as deep as what I presented in my original proposal, and looking at materials and options of how we can construct it.  Here was a parti-section of a long thin bar of storage that I presented as part of my proposal:


In the above image, I had imagined the storage being on the far right hand with some narrow shelving with a ~5′-0″ walking space, an exterior wall, and a storage bench on the exterior.

We regrouped on Sunday as a team, and here is a similar concept that I drew and sketched, but was using shallow storage millwork and had removed the circulation space out to save money.  I kept the tiered seating, but saw that below the third, fourth, and fifth tiers there was opportunity to store bigger items to be used by the client – perhaps equipment such as tillers, gasoline tanks, or other items that are used on a more periodic frequency, but still could have a storage place on the site; I imagined this storage as separate from the locker / wooden cabinet storage used by the community gardeners.


As we regrouped today in class, the schemes that Juhee and Yage had presented had evolved and we sought to blend the values – especially the light and shadow play – into a new form.

We keep returning to the Spice Exchange at the Royal Botanical Gardens in London, and it continues to be a precedent to inspire us for a community vegetable garden pavilion.  Here are a few of my favorite images of the project, and I’ll try to illustrate what we find so successful in them:

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The Spice Exchange is a relatively simple form but it has a concave sloping roof with a drain in the center, which provides lots of shade around the perimeter with tiered seating; the most dynamic part of the pavilion are the glass jars for the spice exchange.  As they have filled the exterior wall, look at the play of shadows onto the floor and walls – beautiful.

We’re hoping to achieve something of that effect with hydroponic planting – that is, gardening with little or no soil –  and a garden seed exchange.  We’re trying to keep the storage simple and secondary to the artful pavilion.

Sometimes it’s hard to blend the values and goals of different designers together, and even though we are all working in a team – both as a big class of a dozen – and a small team of three – there was a little pride in each of us thinking our individual ideas were successful.  I think it was good to flex and blend to try to add more pavilion as art for me, because that was something that my project was lacking from the individual scheme last Wednesday.

Yage built a model for studio today, and we used it to blend some of the forms each of us were exploring into one idea.  We had some scale to adjust, but I’m looking forward to seeing how it comes together in the next few days.

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Recommended Reading : Detail in Contemporary Landscape Architecture by Virginia McLeod – a fascinating book for seeing the big picture and small details that make them work.  (Check out the ‘Atelier Kempe Trail’ project on pages 68-71.)

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