The second week in Essen consisted almost entirely of working on our studio design charette. This was a great opportunity to work in a unique place with a great professor from TU Dortmund University. Dr. Bryce Lawrence works in the Department of Landscape Ecology and Landscape Planning and is currently involved in a project on Soundscape Ecology. As part of the ongoing observation of the soundscape of Bochum and the effects of industrial and biological noises on humans and wildlife, we participated in observing and designing a site within West Park in Bochum.
We were able to learn how to use high-tech equipment for measuring sound levels and intensities. We received a lecture from Dr. Bryce about differentiating and interpreting this data spatially and visually, which created a very different way to interpret a landscape. I really enjoyed this experience, as it allowed us to use a sense that is not always fully engaged in one’s design process.
Using this data, we split into teams and came up with ways to support biological “good” sounds and protect humans and wildlife from harmful sounds that could possibly lead to large health risks. Our group was mostly focused on protecting citizens from the live train tracks that many people cross to get to the park, and on phytoremediation in the heavily contaminated areas also along the train tracks. By creating elevated paths along this contaminated path, plants are encouraged to populate the understory without disruption and citizens can reach the park with ease by using a bridge over the live train tracks.
I took many things away from this design experience. Since it was a very quick exercise, it was essential to really think on your feet and think outside of the box. It was also a great exercise for us to be able to communicate our ideas visually with limited time – meaning you can’t sit on photoshop for hours. I really enjoyed the inventory part of this project because we were learning an entirely new machine, with data we really weren’t used to analyzing. I am grateful we were able top collaborate on this experience and create something in a matter of days.
Photos attached below.