Daniel Ewald, landscape architect MNLA

LAA224 – Shaping with vegetation, part 1

Isoporlaboratoriet
Photoshop of the group members in ancient architect mode.

The course ‘Shaping with vegetation’ is split into four group tasks: The first part is a literature seminar, covering various uses of vegetation (practical/functional and aesthetical uses, examples, inspirational landscape designers etc.), the second, gone through in this post, is centered around superficial planning of vegetation in a relatively large area (a concept for plant selection and landscape design based on site analysis and rough volume estimations of the vegetation selected, presented in model works and concept illustrations and texts). The third and fourth task concerns detailed plans, vegetation use and care.

In this project we have used vegetation to make a residential development area understandable and readable design-wise, where private gardens, public green spaces and pathways towards the town centre are connected together in a modern interpretation of the historical landscape character. At the same time we have attempted to solve future challenges with surface water and erosion by use of sustainable urban drainage systems.


Aerial photo of the project site: Southern Moer farm, Ås.

Historical archives and interviews confirmed that there had been a stream running through the area, which was sealed off for agricultural reasons in the 1940’s. Modernisation of agricultural technology and consequently less use of farm animals led to a decreasing need for local streams and ponds, which were filled to increase the effective area for crop planting. We found that some of the many effects of re-opening old streams and ponds includes documented increases in local biodiversity, increased aesthetical and recreational value, as well as serving as a sustainable solution for drainage of surface water, which is a hot topic in the urbanisation processes on every scale of planning today.

We needed to address issues such as apparent erosion in the soil, which consisted by and large of clay, and the sporadic placement of vegetation in between the buildings. According to a resident, there had been so much trouble with securing the site for residential development that the original entrepreneurs had withdrawn from the project – the original plans of three story apartment buildings had been scrapped, and the plan in effect today is chained small scale houses placed on even terraces. Interestingly, the previous entrepreneurs had suggested a system for collecting surface water from the area into a pond.

Visualisation of stormwater pond
Visualisation of a pond collecting surface water from the area

With the initial concept in place, the process then required us to work in a 3D-model to establish an image of vegetation use. Given a selected set of materials, we explored different solutions individually and in collaboration, and ended up with a plan consisting of a green belt surrounding the reopened stream, a canal-based system for leading surface water from the surroundings to it, with groups of trees, bushes and tall grasses placed for different purposes. We selected species of plants based on their resistance to moist environments and soil requirements, as well as aesthetic impression (leaf structure and texture, color, winter interest etc.). Groups of trees were placed evenly to secure residents a view of the stream, while at the same time closing the view to the neighbours across from it for the sake of privacy.

Model work
Model work. Pictured are the stream and surrounding groups of vegetation.

Model work
Model work. The trees pictured are Pinus sylvestris. The textures in between are patches of Calamagrostis.

Concept sketch
Concept sketch of local surface water solutions.

Grasses resembling crop vegetation were selected to create imaginary lines along pedestrian paths and bike lanes, connecting the area to the town, while maintaining the agricultural theme. Placement of buildings as well as lower vegetation and perennials were suggested to emphasise the existing lines in the landscape, as opposed to the extensive terrain intervention currently in effect.

In the next task we are divided into smaller groups, focusing on detailing on specific parts of the project area and technical solutions.

The project presentation can be downloaded in its entirety here: Gruppe 2 – Oppgave 2 – Overordnet

Filed under: Illustrations, Presentations, , , ,

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