The Lab is a depository for our work that operates outside of traditional project frameworks. We test, research, experiment and engage on diverse sites and with diverse partners, agencies and organizations. We do not wait for opportunities. We create the change we want to see in our community through tactical interventions, academic investigations and pro-bono initiatives.
POWERED BY THE PEOPLE
Powered By the People
Concept sketches for semi-permanent light installation.
A fun and playful bike battle transforms the street during a weekend temporary installation. A set of cycling bikes face each other, connected to columnar LED light sculptures. The energy produced from the bikes, illuminates the LED light sculptures. The more energy produced, the illumination grows and intensifies.
UC Davis - Connecting Communities
UC Davis - Advanced Landscape Architecture Design Studio
Instructor: Kimberly Garza
Through lectures, studio problems, research projects, and discussion, students focused on developing urban form along a proposed passenger rail line in downtown Sacramento—driven by social, political ecological, and environmental dynamics. A landscape architecture design studio led by UC Davis Lecturer and Design Professional Kimberly Garza, students were asked to produce innovative urban frameworks that support richer urban experiences in the built environment. Throughout the intensive 10-weeks design studio, students assessed constraints and opportunities, analyze TOD and neighborhood revitalization benefits, and developed concepts for the Midtown Station and its associated bike and pedestrian connectivity. The studio built on current efforts by ACE and confronted the challenges posed by: (1) an auto-dominated landscape that makes it difficult for alternative forms of transportation to co-exist, (2) vacant and underutilized sites that weave along the corridor, and (3) a lack of pubic gathering spaces and other amenities to serve adjacent neighborhoods. Students were grouped to create innovative ideas that tackle some of the following issues:
- A Class I shared-use bike path along the Union Pacific right-of-way connecting the station to the American River Bike Trail;
- Active transportation improvements (including bike share) connecting the station to Regional Transit, housing and employment centers, the State Capitol, and other destinations;
- Beautification and safety improvements along the Union Pacific tracks in Midtown;
- Long-range concepts for train travel and rider access in Midtown/Downtown Sacramento, including connectivity to major destinations such as the Sacramento Valley Intermodal Station and the Railyards development.
Creative Economy Grant: TopoSHARE at Oak Park
TopoSHARE at Oak Park
Date: Friday, June 1, 2018
Location: 3400 Broadway, Sacramento Ca 95817
Time: 11am - 8pm
Re-Imagining the Sacramento Riverfront
Project Type: Design Research
Location: Sacramento, CA
University of California, Davis- Department of Human Ecology
Advanced Landscape Architecture Design Studio
The Sacramento and American Rivers are Sacramento’s biggest asset, yet there is little to no connection between the City and the River. Historically, Sacramento’s riverfront (pre 1850s) was once a freshwater wetland, experiencing tidal influxes. The Gold Rush (1850s) transformed the Sacramento riverfront into a bustling port and boat corridor that served the greater region. The introduction of levees, automobiles and highways, at the end of 19th and 20thcentury, transformed the once active riverfront into a neglected, narrow strip of land that lacks robust ecology, pedestrian safety and accessible public
amenities. In response to these conditions, UC Davis landscape architecture students critically examined Sacramento’s urban framework to re-conceive traditional urban planning models (often reliant on principles of stability and permanence) as a means to
increase engagement with the river while addressing ecological resiliency. Sacramento is experiencing an urban renaissance and is in a unique position to engage and celebrate the river as a public amenity and economic driver for the region.
The following student projects represent a range of design solutions for the Sacramento riverfront and Railyards area that pertain to: flood, drought, water quality, riparian habitat and tourism, in an effort to produce innovative and authentic urban frameworks that support richer urban experiences for the City of Sacramento.
Resilience in the Right of Way
Resilience in the Right of Way acknowledges the Ogallala as a threatened National natural resource and the paramount importance to the landscape and the culture that relies on it. Since the region is more then 90 percent privately owned with diverse ownership of the aquifer, a singular engineered or preservation based regional master plan to “save” the aquifer and sustain the region is wrought with problems. The project is not an attempt to save the aquifer but instead is a landscape strategy that seeds resilience for the aquifer dependant agriculture and couples these strategies with the dominant infrastructure investment of this region, the highway. This project builds upon a proposed highway trade corridor, the Ports to Plains Corridor, from Laredo, Texas to Denver, Colorado. Resilience in the Right of Way activates the Ports to Plains Corridor Right of Way, as an area of opportunity to mitigate the region’s potential crisis by initiating two principle strategies: 1) through storm-water capture and 2) the establishment of shelterbelts. In this scenario, the Right of Way is articulated to capture, treat and release water for the establishment and distribution of shelterbelts for the region. The proposed Port to Plains corridor intersects and transforms with the local conditions across the diverse longitudinal climate conditions to provide an infrastructural framework to crystallize resources and community, and provide the impetus for social, ecological and functional resiliency in the landscape. No longer linear, transportation networks become ecological frameworks —generating new urban ecologies, morphologies and multiple nodes of mobilities that support contemporary urban life.
Contributor: Erik Prince + Kimberly Garza
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta
Contributor: Andrew tenBrink
deDamming the Dutch Delta
Conceptual Master Plan
This project highlights how strategic adoption of hydrological dynamics can act as a major structuring foundation of urban form in the Dutch Delta region. The project proposes to open the Haringvliet Dam (a dam built as one of the Delta Works projects) in order to introduce the exchange of salt and freshwater for the reclamation of estuarine ecologies. Together with tidal dynamics, silt and sedimentation the ground is transformed with the accretion of the estuary’s most vital resource: mud. The mud flats host thousands of bivalve species, one of the basic building blocks of intertidal ecologies. The benthic and pelagic foodshed begin to thrive: plankton and bacteria, clams and crabs, smelt and salmon, beavers and seals, reeds and cattails, willows and poplars. It is a landscape where the dichotomies of wet and dry, sweet and salt dissolve, making room for an ecological gradient to emerge. Every living species co-exists, co-operates and co-develops across a range of hydrological zones, shoreline territories and intertidal time-scales. In the space of this geographic convergence and ecological systematization, a new aquatic habitat provides ground for proto-ecological processes to emerge and proto-urban conditions to spin-off. Closed, linear and engineered controls make way for the flexibility of soft systems. Ecology becomes infrastructural and the future of the city of Dordrecht becomes inseparable from the future of the estuary.
Contributor: Kimberly Garza + Sarah Thomas
New Jersey Turnpike
New Jersey’s rapid urban development has shifted land use patterns from forestlands and agriculture to suburbs, diminishing the State’s vast river network and compromising the quality of its primary residential water source. This project demonstrates the redistribution of land use patterns with respect to hydrological systems, and utilizes the New Jersey Turnpike ROW as an opportunity to reconceive and deploy binary relationships between built and hydrological systems as an urban and hydrological gradient.
Contributor: Kimberly Garza
Play for All
The importance of usable open space has been well documented at various times and at various places throughout the world. For centuries small parks and playgrounds have functioned as vital social networking tools and places of reprieve from the city and home. When networked, these parks have the capability to provide and enhance transferences of the social ethos, strengthening bonds and establishing new ones. These peer-to-peer relationships, while often ignored, are a necessity to communities of any scale and location. Research has shown small open spaces to not only provide the infrastructural benefits, but also health benefits of lowering blood pressure, decreasing fear and anger and contributing to the education of children.
Given these benefits, this project develops a proposal for the Baan Tha Aj in Mae Sot School that is highly adaptable in terms of play and use, while establishing a new productive piece of infrastructure. The focal point of the design hinges around a specific typology of the playground that builds off of Aldo Van Eyck’s work in postwar Amsterdam. Van Eyck used the playground as a community node, recognizing its value, particularly in times of stress. Facilitating cross-generational interactions through multilayered programs allows for a more comprehensive daily use, engendering a social investment and care for this space. In the case of the Baan Tha Aj School these programs focus on active play, formal educational activities, gardening and shaded passive spaces.
The application of surfaces and elements into site, give the program physical form should be inventive and in some ways repetitive. Repeated elements take the base form of a raised tire, built from a stilt-work of bamboo poles. This element is repeated throughout the design and is manifested in 5 forms, varying in size and use. The simple structure may be used as a node of gardening and landscape or as a simple play structure, easily constructed and durable.
The surface is developed to both add interest, permitting a higher degree of creative play, and to create a sense of enclosure from the exterior of the site. Constructed with rammed earth technology, tires are integral to creating a stable and inexpensive retaining wall and elevation change. The displaced soil from the structure’s footing is used as fill to establish the amphitheater styles chutes. Through the overlay of the surfaces and elements a dynamic and adaptive play space is established, fostering spontaneous and creative play activities while allowing for an infusion of landscape and gardens.
Play spaces are not an extra item that can be ignored. As a part of the urban infrastructure, they are as essential as roads, bridges and utilities. As a part of the social fabric they are just as important as schools and hospitals, often providing similar functions.