Project TWO, graduation wall
A graduation wall is a long tower that is designed to evaporate a dilute salt solution into a more concentrated one. They were built in landlocked areas of Europe, common in Germany, around salt springs. The dilute solution was pumped to the top of the tower and dripped along the brushwood walls, maximizing the surface area. Water evaporated as the solution was collected below, eventually to be boiled and made into usable salt. Today they are recognized for their health benefits, and people go simply to breathe the air. Our project was to design a modern version of a one of these graduation walls.
The important thing for me was to produce a path that would be compelling to walk along even without the salt-wall superstructure. I used a combination of obscured and revealed views to provoke curiosity, and a three-turned path to exaggerate the experience of distance traveled while at the same time leaving you closer to your point of departure than expected, to facilitate the return trip. The wall is the continuous section along the bottom of the plan. The two other paths do not have a super structure. The bridge above has a deck which is visible in plan.
Project three, wellness retreat in lampasas, tx
For the third part of this studio we were given a site an hour away from Austin on a large public park / nature reserve upon which to situatate our graduation wall and add a wellness retreat / spa.
I decided to sink my path into the ground 18"-36" inches to provide a sense of containment and security, while purposefully connecting the opposite corners of the park with pedestrian thoroughfares. In plan the covered part of the path comprises the two prominent sections set at a right angle. The other paths are uncovered, but similarly recessed into the ground, providing a continuous bench for resting. I imagine the paths would be gravel.
I situated the overnight spa (12 overnight rooms) in a quiet, secluded, densly wooded area of the park bounded on three sides by a creek. I wanted to continue the feeling of containment and sunk the complex into the ground about the same amount, using the walls of the buildings to creat courtyards broken by sight-lines over lower retaining walls. A secondary entrance is accessed by a separte parking lot on the far side of the sight. Both paths continue with the three-turn theme to create a sense of distance, disorientation, and remove.
Lastly, on the non-overnight side of the complex there is a spa burried under the plaza which is accessed by a descending circular ramp. The spa and pool is entirely dark, clad in dark stone, lit only by glass rods embedded in the ceiling which capture sunlight and bring it down in little specks. As people pass above the shadows will turn off the flecks and they will twinkle like stars. I built a model of this effect which convinced me it would work and be quite fun. The lamp in the first image was used for this effect.