Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The final final final

Last Friday afternoon, I presented my final studio presentation for my comprehensive project. My family and friends attended my presentation to the panel of reviewers. It went surprisingly well and except for the fact that I was so nervous and anxious that my mouth dried out and I could barely form words, I'd call it a success. So, let me tell you about the project that has totally consumed my life for the last year.

"The talk"
I started off my talk by discussing the history of the site. Ecologically, the site is a second growth redwood forest with steep topography and suffers from seasonal flooding in the winter and dryness in the summer. Historically, it was an old growth forest that was harvested for timber, burned over for conversion to farm land and then identified as sub-marginal farm land prior to its development as a Recreation Demonstration Area (RDA). Built by the WPA and CCC as part of the new deal, it provided a low cost way for families and groups to experience nature. This is a picture of one of the community buildings during construction:

Next, I talked about how the site has fared since its construction. Largely unchanged since construction, it is a unique example of CCC/WPA construction. As one of only two RDAs constructed west of the Rockies it is historically signficance. Due to its high level of historic integrity it was recommended and approved for designation as a National Historical Landmark.

What you really need to know is that today, the park is owned by California State Parks and managed by a non-profit organization founded by campers. The park contains three distinct camps within it. 

Ok, here's where I got all "mission statement and goals" blah blah blah...
My project sought to provide a plan for the park to be able to successfully navigate the next 100 years. I even had a mission statement. Yes, a mission statement, supporting goals, objective and strategies. Basically my overarching idea was to plan for the current and future needs of the park created by changing populations, values and landscapes while still respecting its historic and ecological characteristics.

Basically, I created a set of interventions that were applied at a specified scale over the 720 acre park. Some of these scales, were applied at the Park-wide scale, some at all of the camps and then others were only applied in specific camps.  My goals included the following areas: Forest Management, Circulation, Accessibility, Wayfinding and Interpretive Design. 

I know, I know, you're sitting there thinking, "why are you still talking instead of showing me pretty pictures?" I think it's because I've spent so much of the last several months trying to organize my project into a 20 minute spoken explanation and it feels like all I can do now... so instead of my talking more and more, here are some cool perspectives, plans and sections for you to make your eyes and mind happy with. All of them were digitally produced and rendered using a combination of AutoCAD, Illustrator, Photoshop and SketchUp.

The plans: 

 Camp 1

Camp 2:

Camp 3: 

Section perspective of Camp 3 (sorry that the plan view above doesn't have a section cut line... I did that after producing the drawings):

Dining hall                            New pedestrian bridge over directed stream                  New nature center

Perspective view of proposed Nature Center in Camp 3:

I've been a busy girl. Here's what the final poster ended up looking like. It was so, so, so pretty. I'm rather proud of it actually (it's 11' long, so I had to shrink it dramatically to be able to post it here):


  1. I can't say I understand it all, but I'm super proud of you!!!!

  2. Aw, thanks. If you'd been there for the presentation it would all make sense.

    Basically I made a national historic landmark accessible to those with limited mobility, developed a forest management plan to encourage late seral development of a second growth redwood forest (into a more mature forest that mimics an old growth forest habitat), created a wayfinding/signage plan to improve visitor's ability to navigate the park and finally, designed interpretive program spaces (nature centers/trail head info centers).

    The most complicated part was being able to fit the whole thing into 20 minutes without speed talking. :-)