Archive for January, 2012
Here are several diagrams that I’ve been working on to get a deeper understanding of the site, what it provides and what it can support.
Site: The Old Southern Railway Freight Depot, Augusta, GA
After visiting the site, I realized that the emphasis of the design must be on adding and enhancing the ecology of the site, since there is a lack of biological activity there. Examining possible approaches for bringing in ecological systems, along with reading Daniel Quinn’s “Ishmael,” has helped extend the view of the marketplace to include a strong care for the agricultural processes that supply the food sold at the market. Contemporary means of farming degrades the richness of the Earth. It fights against the natural ways that the environment progresses by ripping up the earth, destroying the pre-existing life systems on the site, dictating and limiting the vegetative growth, preventing biodiversity and depleting nutrients in the soil. And all of this takes massive amounts of fossil fuels to power the agricultural systems. Nevertheless, there are ways to avoid this destruction. Permaculture is “the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystem.” With this in mind, the newly redefined goal of the marketplace is to create a building system that ties into the ecology of a permaculture garden. This project seeks to do that by setting up self-sustaining systems, harnessing natural energy, produce a high yield with low maintenance, using local products and labor where possible and emphasizing community involvement.
The program of the marketplace will include a market house, permaculture system, small restaurant (that uses the produce from the site) and an educational facility. This design will be the Center of Urban Agriculture for the City of Augusta. It will be a place that attracts people with food and economic services, but ultimately it will teach the people of Augusta about how they can produce food within their urban communities to provide more nutritious, less expensive, and more ecologically friendly food sources.
Sources I’m currently using:
By Darrin Nordahl
Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual
By Bill Mollison
By Daniel Quinn
A Farm for the Future
BBC Documentary with Rebecca Hosking. Featuring Martin Crawford (Agroforestry Research Trust), Fordhall Farm, Richard Heinberg and others.
Documentary with Michael Reynolds
The Permaculture Research Institute of Australia
Original Thesis Approach:
In an age so focused on Green Design, it is remarkable how humans use their architecture to put a barrier between them and the outside world. Even the sustainable design movement has built a break in the human connection to the natural surroundings. Instead of adding value to natural habitats, we see far too many buildings that either destroy the ecosystem of the site or create an overbearingly segregated configuration of spaces between people and the natural world.
This thesis will explore ways in which we can engage methods that preserve the ecosystem of existing sites and enhance it by entangling it with human activities. The site, located along the Savannah River in Augusta, GA, will be transformed into a culturally relevant marketplace that encourages ecological interaction that shapes a relationship between nature and people.
Furthermore, the design extends to promote economic enhancement for the area and serve the people of Augusta. The citizens of the city will be the primary users, who purchase, trade and market organically grown produce and floral arrangements to each other. The role of the crops will also be important to preserving and encouraging the ecosystem. Strengthening the system of the market, visitors from neighboring towns and tourists serve to supplement the demand for local products.
Significance of Study:
Destruction of natural habitats is often overlooked by sustainable designers. The city of Augusta is not known for its green design. In fact, it is quite lacking in this area. To encourage the city’s development of more sustainable approaches to architecture, this project will bring biologically informed design to the riverside. The value that this design adds to the site, benefits humanity, wildlife and plantlife of the region through a shared respect for the proposed association. We cannot deny that all life on earth is a connected network of interdependence and our own survival depends on our ability to respond and coexist with other species.
Marketplaces have traditionally been strong points for city life. They promote human interaction and economic exchanges. Markets also support public health and local food systems. A marketplace design will suit the goals of this project, by providing an environment that does not demand strict isolation of human users from the interactions of wild species. This project has the opportunity to renew the downtown and riverside area of Augusta by creating an active public space and bringing diverse people, animals and plants together.
Ultimately research will lead to the development of a system of innovative responses for the design. These responses will produce construction techniques that reduce ecological harm, as well as building styles and forms that react to the site in ways that conserve energy and advance the essential features of the local habitat. Incorporation of marketplace elements that serve both humans, plants and animals will promote coexistence. These components will be implemented into the design strategies for the marketplace, which create an interdependent system between various forms of life. The resulting market place will encompass the 320,000 square foot site and include a system for local, public agriculture. The overall structure of market compendium will merge the local aquatic, terrestrial, subterranean and aerial ecological domains with the human condition.
For more information concerning the beginning stages of this project see: Thesis Book
Welcome to my simple SCAD blog, where I will be chronicling my adventures into thesishood. Feel free to offer me your thoughts and opinions on anything I post, but remember to stay appropriate and friendly. Thanks!