Figure 5.1 Courtyard perspective


Landscape architects have the opportunity to preserve the cultural history of place and to promote the appreciation of the natural environment.

Manhattan, Kansas is an emerging city with a rich farming and agricultural history. The city is also situated in the midst of tall grass prairie lands unique to eastern Kansas. Rich soils and climatic conditions provide ideal conditions for both for the prairie system and farm crops to flourish. Our design stitches together the prairie, farming culture, and urban development.


Currently, the site is an asphalt parking lot with one retail mixed-use (retail and residence) building. The site is a square block between N 3rd Street and N 4th Street (running north south) and Leavenworth Street and Humboldt Street (running east west). The amount of vehicular traffic allows good visibly of the site. Strasser Village Apartments and the Senior Center are located to the northwest of the site and provide lines of pedestrian flow. The site also lies along an axis that connects retail development to the north to the downtown district along Poyntz Ave. The only event on site is the Manhattan farmers market which occurs each weekend April-October.

During the process we compiled a list of interests from several Manhattan residents. Their vision for Manhattan included expanding downtown development and keeping, or possibly expanding the farmers market. We combined these interests with our own interest of creating experiences not found anywhere else in Manhattan.


Our inspiration for the formal design came from aerial photos of Manhattan and the land surrounding it. In the aerial photos we saw different “patches” of land use. There was the prairie, farmland, and urban development. Our final formal design emerged from the idea of stitching together land uses. On our site stitches are created with paving change which link the spaces together.


Figure 5.2 Diagrams and site plan


Program Elements
Lawn Area: 4,800 square feet
Plaza (Multi-purpose): 12,000 square feet
Native/Prairie Area: 5,400 square feet
Courtyard: 3,200 square feet
Vertical Garden with Sliding Ladders

Building Program
First Floor- Retail and Dining
Second Floor and above- Residential and Parking Structure

Our goal was to create experiences that engage the all the senses, promote interaction, and provide a visualization of processes that shape the landscape. Space between the buildings are places to explore diverse experiences that bring awareness to natural processes that happen on site and in the surrounding environment.

When entering the site from the west, visitors will walk along a wind walkway. Along this walkway visitors will be able to view a wind art installation that covers the sides of the parking garage. Along this same wall is a planted Green Wall. Sliding ladders will allow people to climb up and pick produce off the wall. This vertical garden will demonstrate innovative gardening practices and will provide produce to be used by the on-site café and the public. The site includes a prairie area that contains lines of interactive fiber optic lights that pulse red orange and yellow to simulate the process of prairie burning during the night. The lawn will provide an open softscape for relaxation and play. Along the south side of the lawn are water conveyance sculptures. These sculptures allow people to see the flow of water from the building into the stream water feature. Other areas include a multi-use plaza for events such as the farmers market and courtyard to provide a relaxing shaded area with movable seating. This design provides activities and experiences for all times of day, year, and types of weather.

Our goal for the site was to allow people to become familiar with the processes that shape the land. Through fun interactive experiences they can come to know and understand the importance of these processes. Understanding these processes will help foster respect and caring towards landscape.



Figure 5.3 Visitors can walk through and sit and relax and in the prairie area. This area offers a place to observe and study the growth of native vegetation. The Green Wall provides an example of innovative vertical gardening techniques. The wind art installation (above the green wall) consists of metal panels that flutter in the wind. It allows people to visualize the wind, an important process in shaping the land.



Figure 5.4 At night the prairie area provides a unique visual experience. Thin flexible tubes of light are arranged in rows throughout out the prairie area. These tubes flash different colors and could be used to represent flames calling attention to the burning process the prairie undergoes each year.


Figure 5.1

Herb Wall. Digital Image.

Wind Art. Digital Image. 25 January 2012. Web. (Accessed 27 April 2015).

Figures 5.3 and Figure 5.4

Bruns, Conner and Betsey Haddox. n.d. brick_texture3329.psd. From a file library of collected digital images. Photoshop File.

Bruns, Conner and Betsey Haddox. n.d. Gerth_People03.png. From a file library of collected digital images. PNG Image.

Bruns, Conner and Betsey Haddox. n.d. Gray-Black1_Modular.psd. From a file library of collected digital images. Photoshop File.

Bruns, Conner and Betsey Haddox. n.d. Mom_&_Child.tif. From a file library of collected digital images. TIF Image.


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