ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY SITE DESIGN
Figure 1.1 Site plan with major design elements. The green roofs allow for stormwater to be slowed down, as well as filter out pollution and sediments. Additionally, the building’s energy usage will benefit from the insulating effects that the green roofs create.
Landscape architects contribute to public welfare by incorporating environmental sustainability into the built environment at a variety of scales, from designing individual sites to regional planning. They employ this environmental ethic by protecting, enhancing, and restoring natural systems. With a background in both science and design, landscape architects have the capacity to create landscapes that perform ecologically and aesthetically.
Often human activity severely degrades the ecological functions of a site. A grayfield is an example of a landscape that has already undergone significant alteration, like the site that our team focused on for this project. Grayfields are sites that have previously been developed, often with large retail and commercial uses and heavy amounts of parking. The majority of the selected site is an asphalt parking lot with over 270 stalls. The current treatment of the site in terms of land use and aesthetics does not foster a sense of environmental sustainability. The aim of the design is to restore a healthy connection between people and nature. There were four primary goals that drove the design for The Ribbon, they were: maximize the amount of stormwater infiltration that occurs on site, utilize renewable energy sources where possible, create an exciting mixed-use urban development, and incorporate green infrastructure solutions in a way people can interact with.
The site is located in Manhattan, Kansas, a bustling college town home to Kansas State University with a growing population of approximately 52,281 (City of Manhattan, 2015). The central business district, particularly Poyntz Avenue, is home to one of the premier destinations for Manhattanites. Businesses, restaurants, bars, and venues line the street, creating a very pleasant, walkable environment full of options for people. However, over the last several decades, development has shifted from a model of density and walkability in favor of the sprawling model of driving and parking. The mall and subsequent roadways separated Poyntz Avenue and surrounded it with a sea of paved asphalt parking, typical of suburban mall developments. The large scale automobile-oriented design of the mall precipitated similar developments in downtown, steering development patterns away from an active and vibrant streetscape that can be a walkable destination. To the north of Poyntz Avenue and to the west of the mall lies the selected site for the CLARB’s Wayne Grace Memorial Competition. Our team is focusing on the impact factor of environmental sustainability as it pertains to public welfare, and our aim is to create a design for the site that optimizes its environmental performance while helping steer downtown Manhattan towards a more resilient, higher density, and walkable model that weaves natural elements into the urban fabric.
Downtown Manhattan is rapidly changing, with new developments and private investments flowing into the city. As the city continues to grow in population, potential residents will be examining what the city has to offer them in terms of options for dining, entertainment, recreation, and relaxation. After consulting with a representative from the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, it became clear that the city is expressing a desire to have more mixed use urban living options. The design program on the ground floor activates the streetscape and inner courtyard by accommodating various types of businesses, including bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues. Upper levels include more privatized uses such as 150 residences and office spaces. The building footprint envelops an exterior courtyard that is comprised of a plaza space for patrons of the businesses to flow out onto, as well as a circulation path that bridges between the corners of the site.
The proposed design becomes a vital place of mixed use urban living, is environmentally sustainable, and incorporates green infrastructure solutions. An active and permeable ground level with a mix of business uses creates a vibrant streetscape. Parking no longer comprises the majority of the site, it is allocated to the perimeter, with angled parking to the east and west of the site along 3rd and 4th Streets. Additionally, in order to accommodate parking spaces for the residents in both the existing apartment complex on site, as well as the proposed building, we are proposing a 5 story parking garage structure. A permeable paving plaza allows for stormwater infiltration into the subsoil, recharging the water table as well as supplying it to the rain gardens. Two green roofs are located atop the proposed building, which mitigates the urban heat island effect, collects stormwater, as well as provides for various gathering spaces. Fixed solar arrays are mounted on the existing apartment building, as well as the areas of the proposed structure that are not green roofs. These solar arrays provide electricity that will power the buildings as well as supply all of the electricity demands for lighting the site at night. A rainwater harvesting cistern called the “Glorb”, or glowing orb, will collect and store stormwater runoff from a portion of the proposed building rooftop. The Ribbon is a place where the people of Manhattan will live, work, and play that will foster an appreciation of complex natural systems at play in the urban environment.
Figure 1.2 This image depicts site surface ratio of impervious versus pervious surfaces after the design has been applied. Now over 60 percent of the site’s area consists of pervious surfaces in which stormwater can infiltrate and replenish the soils and vegetation.
Figure 1.3 (Adpated from the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Stormwater Calculator) As it exists today, 73 percent of stormwater runs directly off of the site and is conveyed elsewhere. Based upon the proposed site design, each of the green infrastructure solutions contributed to this new chart of stormwater metrics of the site. The proposed design allows over 53 percent of stormwater to infiltrate. This is the basic scheme of how stormwater is intended to move across the site with the proposed design.
Figure 1.4 The total energy consumption for the 49 street light columns and 206 illuminating bollards came out to be 5,492 Watts. The energy generated by the solar panels is almost 15 times what is necessary to power the landscape lights. The remainder of the solar energy would be allotted to the power-hungry building functions light heating and cooling.
Figure 1.5 Bird’s eye perspective of the site and building massing. Over 49 illuminated street columns and 206 lighted bollards are placed on the site in order to provide a vibrant and safe nighttime experience for the residents and visitors alike.
Figure 1.6 Aerial perspective from the west green roof located atop the parking garage structure. A rooftop fire pit serves as a social space for people to gather and look out over the beautiful rain gardens and courtyard.
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