Ecological Urban Design
with Sarah Sugar, Amy Weinfurter
Our design focuses on improvements to Reach One of the American River Parkway, a stretch of greenbelt along the American River, just north of Sacramento, California. Despite its close proximity to downtown, this reach is less widely used than upstream sections, and suffers some of the most severe ecological threats. Its restoration could result in enormous potential benefits, both for the flora and fauna that rely on the river, and the park users who frequent the parkway. To physically and interpretively reconnect the river to its floodplain and the floodplain to the city, our project establishes points of explicit visual continuity across the river system, making use of the elevation differential between the levees and the parkway; the design also formalizes physical links between the river and the parkway, enhanced with functional infrastructure that serves to conceptually blur the hard line between the river channel and its floodplain.
Chapel St. Fire Stair
This project heightens one's experience of the Paul Rudolph stairwell by both contrasting and emphasizing the existing characteristics of the space. The step runs are irregular and the stair defies gravity through the brute force of monolithic concrete walls. This installation creates an ephemeral continuous shaft which contrasts with the materiality of the structure and the uneven cadence of the steps. Its light and airy structure is constructed out of layers of trace paper which demonstrate the effects of gravity as they stretch towards the ground. The installation reacts to these gravitational forces by displaying more structure at the top, where the tensile forces are the greatest. It was produced through a rapid digital fabrication technique in which stacks of trace paper were glued together and cut on the laser cutter. These parts were glued together and then unfurled to fill the open core of the stairwell.