Highbury Park – Patrick Henry Combination Entries

Highbury Park – Patrick Henry Entry 1

We have been introduced to the highbury park project with a site visit, exploring the area around the pond, hearing about the history and seeing how people occupy the space in differing ways. We can already see as a group that there is obvious research areas to cover. Trees, insects, birds etc. Unfortunately I missed the next weeks session in which a site visit took place and the research began due to family troubles. 

Luckily for me there is plenty of information on the park on the internet, as well as leaflets and friends of highbury park. I learned a lot about the site and it’s history from the site visit with david and his associate (who’s name i am ashamed to say i’ve forgotten) however, talking with her revealed a lot about the vandalism that goes on in the park, most built form is subjected to abuse in one way or another. We have  the task of presenting in front of russell, david and a few other co-lab groups on the 30th of January. Working towards this we each have our own research topics and are getting on designing our individual initial ideas to present all together. I have done around 5 different designs, they all have interactivity in mind. They are all close to the water, but with enough room to allow for the shelter underneath to offer a new habitat. I looked into the protection of marsh / swampland online and found pieces talking about how offering sheltered areas encourages insects and amphibians. This, coupled with being so close to this new micro-system is something I would like to take forward. One idea i like especially, which is my horseshoe shaped wooden platform that allows the centre area to be sheltered and viewable from 180 degrees.

Highbury Park – Patrick Henry Entry 2

We presented our ideas today and it was great to see such a varied collection of designs. There were definitely similarities in work however, with interactivity and immersion being key words. We discussed everyones work, pros and cons. My ideas were liked, mainly because they were designed to be simple, but also had a clear goal of interaction. It has been an almost unwritten rule in peoples work that they are aiming to use locally sourced materials which is interesting. I am looking forward to taking the horseshoe design further as it was the one that got the best reception of my designs from the group. It also is agreed that it works well with other peoples designs. Especially Ula’s and Craigs.

Highbury Park – Patrick Henry Entry 3

We presented our developed ideas to each other and we have each done our own version of how we think people’s initial ideas might work together. This has been really interesting. I liked the idea of linking Fayzuls into Craigs structure, then having it coming down steps which i designed, onto my platform, that would then allow for access to Ula’s stepping stones. I think this would be good because it is as immersive as you want it to be. You can stay up in the structure if you want, if you are feeling a bit more adventurous you could come down to the platform, which will let you get close to reeds and the water. And if you want to get really involved you interact with the stepping stones, which opens up the pond for exploration. This layout seems to have been accepted as not a bad plan as we feel that they work well together. I got into a debate with the group today as well about reeds. It was suggested that because the stepping stones would allow you to move over the water, that we should make them as interactive as we can by moving reeds from where they are to more accessible areas, as well as perhaps bringing more species of plants, perhaps even lilies into the pond. I felt i had to challenge the reasoning behind this, to make sure we thought it through. I suggested to the group that perhaps when it comes to nature, we tread softly, that we shouldn’t be changing what was there, but instead designing in a way that will encourage people to come and see what already existed there. I felt personally that it was almost lazy design risk a delicate ecosystem by adding things that didn’t already exist there. We had a a healthy debate about it and the group discussed it well, considering all arguments. After much debate we decided that perhaps because the pond was originally man made, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to add more reeds because everything that had happened there was due to man’s input to begin with, but boosting the ecosystem and caring for the organisms that lived there was agreed to be high priority. I felt satisfied with this conclusion because it was a logical and thought out process which if the debate hadn’t happened, the design could be entirely different.  Supporting the ecosystem was now high on our agenda. I am satisfied that even though the group is perhaps on the large side, individual voices ring with equal measure.

Highbury Park – Patrick Henry Entry 4

We had now changed our idea quite dramatically in some respect with thanks to Dan with some great design work, we unanimously agreed that a mock up design of his way of fitting things together worked very well. So we set about working out the kinks in group discussion. We had another group debate today which was good to see. Sam Baker voiced his views on whether or not the stepping stones should be rectangle. His view was that they should be more in keeping with the natural shapes of the site and be rounder. The majority believed that a contrast would look really good against the water and sharp edges worked well. After debate we drew up a design that had the stones starting rectangular and square and slowly changing into rounder shapes as you progressed down the pond. This was to visually suggest the moving of the conformity of the city, to the freedom of nature. Another example of group discussion working well. We now have decided that dan and Ula are the best graphic workers and that they should draw up the site. Luke is a whiz with cad and he is going to get structure drawings working on there. I have a history in model making and am keen to work on that, i suggested that i do the model. The rest of the group split up research topics between them as every step we take must be solidly based on research. Things are shaping up nicely.

Highbury Park – Patrick Henry Entry 5

Luke kindly offered to help me work on the model, so once we had his to scale print off of the site we could set about making the base of the model. This would no doubt take a long time, but fortunately we had time, as the final designs structural elements were being worked out by dan. We spent about an hour finding the right material for the base. We eventually set on MDF because there was plenty of it lying around the workshop and it is a easily worked wood. We then set about marking out the extremes of the site. Before gluing to pieces together that allowed us the thickness we required to show the gradient. Once glued we then cut out the site and sanded down the gradient. This was a big job and took a very long time. Eventually it was done and I set about finishing the edges of the model and cutting out the pond with the use of a pillar drill and a handheld jigsaw. Luke then moved off the model and onto helping ula make the piles of research people had found into a great looking presentation. The base required more work and sam soon offered to help. Several days later the base was looking great and we started on making the vegetation that was key in the site. We hand made the trees that was very complex and time consuming work, but the results were great and well worth the time and glued together fingers. We made the path in a afternoon, with discussion with the group over its layout. Adding bushes and other vegetation. We now had a finalised project to work with and so we took a step back admired the work so far before knuckling down and following Luke’s layout of stepping stones, I laid over 100 different to scale stones. The last thing made was the structure, that there was a slight bout of confusion that was quickly cleared up with group discussion. The model was then finished and presented to the group, who were pleased with the outcome.

Highbury Park – Patrick Henry Entry 6

The project is now completely finished. Our deadline has been pushed back due to scheduling conflicts. It has been an interesting project. Our first group project as a year and I think a lot has been learned by everyone. I plan on looking into this further in my report. All that remains now is the presentation. I just hope no-one sits on the model before the date..

About Co.LAB Student

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