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MVVA works, styles and influences

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  2. 2. 1.INTRODUCTION1.1 Michael Van Valkenburgh 1.2 MVVA Michael Van Valkenburgh is a landscape Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates Inc, architect. He was born in 1951. (MVVA) was founded in 1982 by Michael Van Van Valkenburgh was raised in an agricultural Valkenburgh. MVVA’s projects focus on M environment. This helped instil within him a ecological restoration, infrastructure recy- V love for nature. These romantic cling, site remediation and sustainable design. V A notions of the environment where further Their projects range from campuses, public cemented after reading “Design With Nature”. parks, civic landscapes to corporate landscapes. J He Graduated from the University of MVVA is composed of multi-disciplinary teams O Cambridge with a BSc. in Agriculture in 1973 of engineers, architects and planners and have S E and a MA in Architecture in 1977. In 1982 he offices throughout the United States. P founded MVVA in New York City. Van HValkenburgh taught at GSD Harvard University 1.3 Awards C between 1982 and 1996. Municipal Art Society of New York Brendan L Gill Prize, Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn, NY A Today, Michael Van Valkenburgh is the Fig. 1.1.1 Michael Van Valkenburgh N Principal of his own practice, MVVA, and he ASLA Analysis and Planning Honor Award, C Y is the Charles Eliot Professor at GSD Harvard Brooklyn Bridge Park Master Plan, Brooklyn, University. NY LVan Valkenburgh and associates of his practice ASLA Design Honor Award, Teardrop Park, S D are winners of numerous awards, including New York, NY 2 ASLA’s Environmental award 2010. Mr. VanValkenburgh himself is the author of numerous ASLA Design Honor Award, Boston Children’s essays and publications. Museum Plaza, Boston, MA New York ASLA Design Honor Award, Brook- lyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn, NY ASLA Design Honor Award, Garden on Turtle Creek, Dallas, TX Fig. 1.1.2 Natural Playscape
  3. 3. 2. DESIGN APPROACH AND STYLE It is evident throughout of all of MVVA’s When redesigning abandoned or underusedprojects that an emphasis on ecological design land, MVVA aims to recycle existing on site is a priority. This includes ecological infrastructure as part of its sustainable design restoration, mostly on a historic basis in policy. Again, this is a repeated practice of M association with the concerned landscape (ie MVVA which aims to design and manipulate VAlumnae Valley Restoration Project, Fig. 2.1). landscapes with minimal intervention to VOther environmental approaches would be part prevent habitat destruction/disruption. The A of a water works (SuDS) and in aid of only time serious intervention in the landscape J increasing biodiversity. Examples include is undertaken is when it will be of benefit to the O Alumnae Valley Restoration, Jefferson landscape (wildlife crossing, biodiversity, soil S E Memorial and ASLA roof. remediation). Soil remediation is also another P aspect of MVVA’S ecological design policy, HAnother aspect present in MVVA’s design is the for example the Alumnae Valley Restoration contrast between natural and contemporary Project. These design approaches demonstrate C Lmaterials. Examples of this would include the MVVA’s utilisation of natural processes in the A contrast between concrete and natural Fig. 2.1 Alumnae Valley Retoration Project landscape to benefit society and the wider Nvegetation in the Gardens at Turtle Creek (Fig. environment of the planned landscape. These C Y 2.2). This contrast in styles and materials is practices have led to MVVA winner a number further of awards in regards to environmental design. L exploited in between natural formations and MVVA’s designs tend to adhere to the S tamed landscapes. Such examples include principles of Modernism and Minimalism. D 2 Teardrop Park, with the imitation glacial rock These principles revolve around the use of a formations in context with the surrounding limited diversity of materials, and the “less is apartment complexes. more” thinking. MVVA approaches derelict sites (Brooklyn,Alumnae) with the aim of revitalisation of the area through positive social interaction and economic growth. This is evident in the Jefferson Memorial Park Expansion. Fig. 2.2 The Graden at Turtle Creek
  4. 4. 3. PRINCIPLES AND POLICIES The main principles that recur in MVVA’s The expansion of Jefferson Memorial Park projects are: Contrast, Focalisation, Line, integrated the existing park into context with Shape, Form, Rhythm, Scale, Transition, the city, river and the land on the other side. Harmony and Repetition. The styles of This was done by the creation of a water works M Modernism and Minimalism are often scheme which integrated the park into the V combined with a natural herbaceous landscape. Also, several areas of the city were V A (restoration ecology) planting strategy. This redesigned to bring economic and often leads to emphasis on contrasts between neighbourhood revitalisation to areas J natural, lush vegetation and contemporary surrounding the park. O materials. The contrast of these materials is S E often focused on the differences in texture and P size. Examples of these styles in MVVA’s work H include the Garden at Turtle Creek and C Teardrop Park (Fig. 3.1, Fig. 3.4). L MVVA also has a practice of integrating Atheir designs into the greater landscape. This is Fig. 3.1 The Garden at Turtle Creek. Notice Contrast Between Materials Fig. 3.3 Impact of Scale of Landscape Elements N done for a number of reasons, including C Y accessibility, social integration, re-use of infrastructure, ecological benefits and L economic growth. This practice of integrating S D the design into surrounding context(s), often 2 involves working with the sites natural form, with minimum intervention. An example of this would be Teardrop Park, with its irregular shape and layout, due to it being completely surrounded by residential and office buildings (Fig. 3.4). Another example would be Brooklyn Bridge Park where existing pier infrastructure was recycled into the design. This gave a “natural” feel to the area, without disturbing the original “Genus loci” that surrounded the Hudson vicinity of the pier(s). Fig. 3.2. Notice Impact and Harmonious Tone of the Concrete “Logs” Fig. 3.4 Teardrop Park. Use of Natural Materials Creates a Sense of Place Within an Urban Setting
  5. 5. 4. Case Studies:4.1 Gardens at Turtle Creek, Texas, USA The site involves the visitor through theCompleted 1999 principles of texture, scale, transition, The site, pre-construction, at Turtle Creek was focalisation and contrast. This is evident in the rich in lush vegetation and sloping contours of choice of materials and how they are used in the Ma natural landscape. The first construction that project. For example, the smooth concrete logs V took place on site was the house designed by contrast the coarse leaves of the ferns and other V Antoine Predock in 1993, which consisted of A site vegetation (Fig. 4.1.2). Also, the scale of the large quantities of glass and concrete. The two concrete logs as single, stand alone elements, in J elements of a natural landscape and a tamed, comparison to the scale of the forest, which O minimalist style house provide strong contrast consists of many elements. Texture is also S E within each others context (Fig. 4.1.1). exploited on the smooth lawns, near the house, P The design of the site by MVVA with the use of patterned steel panels laid onto H compliments these two factors. MVVA aimed the lawn. These panels act as transitional to create a design that while aesthetically C elements as they cut into the forest from the L pleasing and unique, did not cause significant lawn. These textured panels also slow down A disruption/impact upon the ecological factors Fig. 4.1.1 Notice Contrasts in Colour, Shape, Form, Line and Texture foot traffic as the visitor enters the woodland N of the landscape. MVVA aimed to work with path. The spatial relationship throughout the C Ynature, rather than against it. This is evident in grounds varies from experiencing enclosedthe placing of contemporary elements and their woodland paths, to the open, floating concrete L installation. For example, all necessary earth bridge over the natural stream system. S works were hand dug, while the placing of the D 2 concrete “logs” was planned as not to disruptrun off patterns, because flooding in the area is 4.1.1 Materials problematic. There is a limited diversity of materials in the design for Turtle Creek. This creates a sense of unity, within the grounds of Turtle Creek. The use of grey in the concrete logs and steel panels/ steps act as universal harmonizers to the dominant green of the lush vegetation of the site. The contemporary materials also compliment the house and connect it to the woodland. Fig. 4.1.2 Use of Grey Concrete Acts as a Universal Harmonizer in the Colour Scheme
  6. 6. 4.2 Brooklyn Bridge, New York, USA (Pier 1 While still technically under construction, Piersand 6) 1 and 6 where opened in 2009. They consist ofCurrently Under Construction a number of areas, offering a variety of activities The Brooklyn Bridge Project aims to recycle and facilities to the surrounding existing and currently unused infrastructure neighbourhoods. These include a kayaking on the Brooklyn Waterfront. The project is area, natural play areas and a saltmarsh wetland M important as it will revitalise the abandoned to preserve and promote the local wildlife V docklands and surrounding neighbourhoods. (Fig. 4.2.1). V The new landscape is a priority as Brooklyn A The parks design brings the user into has the least amount of parkland per acre than context with the Brooklyn Expressway, the J any other metropolitan area in the USA. Once Brooklyn Bridge and the waterfront. This has O completed, it will consist of 85 acres of allowed for the Brooklyn Bridge Park to act as a S parkland along the Brooklyn waterfront (Fig. E catalyst for urban integration. P 4.2.2). H The park’s design revolves around the concept of “post-industrial nature” (Fig. 4.2.3). Fig. 4.2.1 Recreation of Natural Landscape. Variety of Activities C L MVVA again operates a policy of sustainability A through the recycling and re-use of existing N infrastructure on the docklands. This creates a C sense of place with the new design, while still Y preserving the existing atmosphere of the L former industrial docklands. MVVA also aims S to preserve existing habitats by recycling the D 2 existing infrastructure and also aims to introduce new ecologies into the area by the creation of a new urban park on the Brooklyn waterfront. Fig. 4.2.2 Park used in Larger Scale for Urban Integretion and Revitalisation Fig. 4.2.3 Post-Industrial Nature. Framing of Views Towards Harbour and Wider Landscape
  7. 7. 4.3 Teardrop Park, Lower Manhattan, As with the gardens at Turtle Creek, you haveNew York, USA contrast between natural and contemporaryCompleted 2006 materials. This is evident in the rock pool area Teardrop Park was constructed in unison with of the park. The large rock formations and four apartment buildings. The park has a random water spouts contrast the urbantotal area of 1.8 acres. Due to these constraints buildings adjoining the park. Rock formations M on size and the dominance of the surrounding are repeated throughout the park. These V buildings, the landscape designed is a formations provide interest through the use of V dynamic one (Fig. 4.3.1). This is achieved scale. They create an intimidating feeling with A through changes in their natural, untamed, rough appearance in J topography, focalisation and the use of comparison to the manicured apartment O plantings to frame pleasant views and obscure complexes (Fig. 4.3.3). As mentioned before, S others. This changing form of the landscape children’s needs are considered the epicentre of E P also helps to overcome the problems of shade the park’s experience. The focus of the park is H caused by the adjoining buildings and also the creation of a natural, wild environment for creates micro-climates for plants, animals and children to explore. This done because of the C L people alike. Scale is also used to counteract Fig. 4.3.1 Notice Dominace of Surrounding Buildings in Context with the Park dominance of tamed public landscapes, the lack A the negative effects of the surrounding of green spaces for local children and the need N buildings. for children to experience risk for their C Sustainability is again prominent in the cognitive development (Fig. 4.3.2). Y design. Specifically, the plant choices are so L that they do not require chemical treatments Sin the form of insecticides and herbicides. The D 2 plantings utilised are also non-toxic. This isdone not only to cut costs on maintenance, but also because the park’s primary users are children from the adjacent apartment buildings. The surrounding buildings are not only important for forming the park’scharacter, but they also contribute to the park’s sustainability. Graywater is recycled and channelled from storm drains of thesurrounding buildings, into irrigation channels Fig. 4.3.2 Introduction of a Natural Landscape Within an Urban Environment through planted areas in the park. Fig. 4.3.3 Notice Impact of Natural Elements Over Bland Background
  8. 8. 5. Conclusion MVVA holds a strong policy on Through my analysis and reviews of MVVA’s environmental design, ecological restoration work I believe they are deserving of theirand “post industrial nature”. These policies are numerous awards for their progressive work in used in conjunction with the principles of the field of landscape architecture. They create sustainable, modernist and minimalist design dynamic landscape in the context of social, M V (Fig. 5.1). When presented with a site, MVVA ecological and economic means. MVVA’s V looks not to change, or create a new character designs enhance the existing landscape, while A for the site, but to enhance the existing one. incorporating the sites original character to This is done by preserving and reusing generate a sense of place and connection to the J O infrastructure and materials present on site, wider landscape, whether it be urban or Spre-construction. This form of “infrastructure rural (Alumnae Valley/Brooklyn Bridge Park). E recycling” makes the designed landscape truly It is easy to see how Michael Van Valkenburgh’s P Hunique to that area. This practice is vital to the childhood affected his oulook on landscape protection and enhancement of an areas architecture. MVVA designs landscapes and C landscape character. public spaces that benefit and incorporate L On sites with natural landscape already Fig. 5.1 Transitional Elements. Contrast in Textures (Grass vs. Grid) economic, social, ecological and cultural A N existing, MVVA strive to strike a harmony elements from the surrounding environment C between contemporary and natural materials. and world beyond. Y This is done to generate/enhance a spatial L experience by manipulating scale, texture, S form, focalisation and transition. These Dmaterials are then further exploited by creating 2a dynamic landscape through the manipulationof contours and bending pathways. Combined with the use of texture, these pathways can influence walking speed and used to draw attention to specific points of focalisation/congregation upon arrival within a static space (ie Turtle Creek, Fig. 5.3). Fig. 5.2 Imapct of Steps Weaving Through the Natural Landscape Fig. 5.3 Contrast in Textures (Visual, Touch), with Minimum Intervention in the Landscape
  9. 9. ReferencesAll Images Used Sourced{Last Accessed:09-02-11}All Sketches Done By Joseph Clancy M V VInformation Sources: J O SCity and the Arch, and the River: http:// P Hcompetition/stage-archive/stage-ii-results/mvva-team/ C[Last Accessed: 09-02-11] L A NWorld Landscape Architect: http://www. Y[Last Accessed: 09-02-11] L SHines, Susan, Abstract Realism, ASLA DLandscape Architecture Magazine, 2February 2007, Available at: [Last Accessed: 09-02-11]Michael Van Valkenburgh, VanValkenburgh Projects, Havard Press,Available at:[Last Accessed: 09-02-11]