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Site + Application + Synthesis in Yorktown

Frederick Law Olmsted, considered the founder of American landscape architecture, made radical arguments for public parks at a time when urban life often experienced great stress on family life and public health. Still today, there is an emphasis on green spaces and other green public infrastructure. The therapeutic benefits of nature on the human experience is well-researched and documented. The increased popularity of urban trails, greenways, public parks, and open spaces is influencing many municipalities to make the creation of public green spaces a required component in community growth. Communities value these types of spaces and use them for recreation, fitness, and rest.  Green, open spaces can help link communities and have the potential to be emblematic of the surrounding community. Green spaces add to the character of a community, allow opportunities for children to play, and people to gather, and provide individuals with a place to find solace.

The first phase of this project challenged students to select a site where a specific design intervention could help achieve the ambitions of the overall project. They selected three areas (specific sites) to serve as a potential location for an outdoor design intervention. They studied the site both in person and virtually using basic public geospatial mapping tools (Google Earth, Beacon, Esri, and local government GIS viewers). They took or found photographs and printed a scaled base map of each site. A SWOT analysis and inventory were created for each site. The potential of each site was evaluated and a final site was chosen.

A site analysis was conducted using completed site inventory maps, images, photos, and diagrams from the first phase. The students looked at Land, Water, Climate, Biological, and Cultural factors.

In the third phase, students created three master plans for their site using different design drivers, including a tiled shape and a shield shape. The plans included a main construct, spaces to rest, a base plane, an overhead plane, and vertical elements. 

Finally, in the last phase, students designed a construct from the previous phase - such as a folly or pavilion.