issue 11

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday

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MIRROR PARK – Design for Change

MIRROR PARK – Design for Change

Challenge: the re-design of an existing/neglected/underused neighborhood park, in Eugene OR.

This proposal is for a phased assessment/design/build process, to address landscape flexibility. Panarchy describes change as a feedback loop – a cycle of exploitation, conservation, release and reorganization, within a field of potential/connectedness. How to avoid landscape rigidity and its consequent catastrophic collapse? How to serve present needs and preserve futures? How to design for change?

  • MirrorPark-plan-1
  • MirrorPark-plan-2
  • MirrorPark-plan-3
  • MirrorPark-section
  • MirrorPark-view

Phase I Destruction

The park is erased to its foundational layers. Existing demarcations are used to construct two adjacent regions that represent end member possibilities for the park: pastoral, here rendered as an oak savannah remnant, and an urban civic stage.

Phase II Dialogue

2-sided rotating mirrors are installed at the juncture of the regions, offering alternately the exclusive experience of each space (mirrors positioned parallel to the plane of the dividing line) OR the experience of both spaces simultaneously (mirrors positioned perpendicularly).
Multiple possible experiences reflect spatial flexibility.

Phase III Renewal

Hardscaping, planters, chairs, tables, sit walls are introduced, constructed from an easily reconfigured and transported modular kit of parts (see “Kit of Parks”) that allows present needs to give way to those of the future with minimal disruption – elements that reflect temporal flexibility. It also allows the making of many more spatial experiences in any one construction, for example, permitting the layering of “urban” spaces within the “oak savannah”.


The proposed spatial/temporal impermanences are reinforced by the presentation. Collaged acetate layers accrete to the base board, keyed to the clearing, art installation, and various iterations constructed from the kit of parts.

Isla Vista Revitalization

Isla Vista Revitalization

The competition brief requested urban design and planning proposals for the Isla Vista neighborhood of Santa Barbara. Although adjacent to the University of Santa Barbara, the area is not well connected to the campus even though businesses and rental properties there primarily serve a student population. Coherent urban fabric, supportive infrastructure, and planning tools are needed to better serve an increasingly economically and sociologically diverse community. Environmental concerns include protection of a vernal pool in the northwest part of Isla Vista, as well as eroding oceanfront land to the south.

The competition team consisted of an architect, a planner, and landscape/urban designer, with corresponding purviews. The urban design work is discussed and presented here.

The proposed design features an environmentally themed magnet middle school near the vernal wetlands, a strengthened commercial axis that more formally defines campus connection and entrance, USB library branch open to the general public, civic and city service buildings along a central green area, a protected park along the ocean edge, community gardens, and an arts district organized around an amphitheater park.Improved sidewalks connect residents to all parts of town as well as to housing and microparks throughout.




Springfield Visioning

Springfield Visioning

Springfield, Massachusetts

The city of Springfield requested urban re-design proposals for the Hollywood district of the South End. The neighborhood is home to established businesses and families of Italian descent and new immigrants from Puerto Rico. The urban fabric – comprising commercial, business, mixed use, single and multi-family residence typologies – has been weakened by blight, crime, poverty, and lax zoning enforcement. These visioning vignettes explore temporary uses of vacant lots as a mediating force, to strengthen community and foster permanent future solutions. Urban agriculture, public art, and marketplace ideas/schemes/scenarios are presented.

The vignettes were designed as public participation tools, to start conversations about immediate and future community needs. As such, it is important that they present/offer an open-ended, ideas-in-progress process, rather than expertly determined solutions. Collage was chosen to represent this approach due to its inherently unfinished nature, which requires active viewer participation in creating meaning.


Flea Market

Public Art


Community Garden

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