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Prospect and Refuge

Posted by liz on January 16, 2007, 4:14 pm
about: Stephen Epler Hall

When it comes to encouraging people to view a landscape feature, there’s nothing as effective as a place to sit. Whether wall, bench, or table and chairs, sitting simply invites people to view their surroundings.  In artful rainwater design, one intention is to encourage people to view some feature of the stormwater; and the best example we found was a pair of covered benches strategically located to view some true stormwater fun outside Stephen Epler Hall, a dormitory on the urban campus of Portland State University.  In this design the stormwater action is particularly dramatic in rain events: water shoots down a 5-story downspout and out into a rock-filled basin, gushes out a small scupper into a runnel that directs water across the space, then falls into a “biopaddy” (a sunken plant-filled basin). To ensure that people stop and enjoy the stormwater show, two benches are strategically placed to face the stormwater action.  To make the experience even more inviting, the benches sit under a freestanding roof (great for use during the rain), and are backed by a wall to create an effective sense of “prospect and refuge”.This design clearly encourages people to experience the artful rainwater story at Epler Hall.


Posted by liz on January 16, 2007, 4:14 pm
about: 10th @ Hoyt

While awareness of utility and amenity goals, objectives, and means is useful in itself, it is also worth noting that some treatment methods seem to more effectively combine utility and amenity than others. Conveyance, for example, is easily used to create amenity by exposing stormwater in troughs, runnels, flumes, and waterfalls.  However, while conveyance is an important facet of all treatment systems (because we need to move water from one point to another), it is not actually a BMP as it does not address rate, volume, frequency, duration, or quality. Conveyance can certainly create awareness of stormwater; but it does not directly educate about environmental issues or treatment potential.

Concealed Underground

Posted by admin on January 16, 2007, 2:01 am
about: Stata Center Outwash Basin

New management strategies intended to address non-point source pollution are designed to address small flows close to the runoff source, and distributed throughout the landscape. This new stormwater management paradigm is what creates the new design opportunity: small flows are safe, manageable, and easily integrated. The traditional end-of-pipe, out-of-sight solutions will not work. As these new treatment facilities are integrated into projects, they can either be concealed underground in pipes and vaults, or celebrated on the surface as site amenities that can enhance user satisfaction and perceived value—a.k.a. artful rainwater design.This design needs signage so that people can know how great it truly is!

Expressive Design

Posted by liz on January 16, 2007, 2:01 am
about: 10th @ Hoyt

Rain falls on the impervious surfaces of developed land, and can be conveyed away from those surfaces in various ways.It is one thing to divert the stormwater to underground pipes and concrete vaults, disposing of the water as an unwanted waste product—out of sight, out of mind, it is eventually discharged into a water body with high probability of degrading the quality of that new water host.It is another thing to address stormwater in environmentally responsible ways, through best management practices that pay cautious attention to rate, volume, frequency, duration, and quality of discharge so as to ensure the ecological health of the stormwater destination.And it is another thing again to employ environmental treatments in expressive designs that call attention to the use and management of stormwater in ways that educate and delight those who visit. 

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