The principal design considerations for this project are sustainability, security, cost, visual appeal, function, context, % for art, landscaping and access.
The river valley today is one of Edmonton's greatest resources. It has been the focal point of recreational activity in Edmonton since the earliest settlement of the region. Picnicking, boating, and swimming were common activities in the past and we now have a trail system linking parks throughout the city that encourages a much more intensive use of the river valley.
Thoughts of both the past and present use of this site are reference points for this design. The curved rammed earth wall is a main feature of the design and, suggests the stratification of the land carved out by the river over millennia and the curve reflects the flow of the river through the valley. Although I have not partnered with a Landscape Architect at this time, I see the surrounding landscape as a recreation of the indigenous planting material of this part of the valley. There is a section of a creek bed that pays respect to the many creeks that feed and have fed into the river within the city boundaries. The creek would have water flow activated by solar powered pumps .
The form of the roof is inspired by the very simple built form of roof structure, the lean-to, and is partially a sod roof with indigenous grass planting. Remnants of this type of structure could be found in the river valley not too many years ago. Rather than just a simple sloped roof however, the roof was arced and tilted. The roof is also an ideal form for channeling water runoff into a cistern for use as grey water.
Security is a significant concern in an isolated building like this. The visibility within the interior spaces, and from exterior to interior, and from interior to exterior is unobstructed. There are no blind corners and recessed pockets around the building that would create a security concern. As far as graffiti is concerned the exterior walls would be cast in place concrete with an anti-graffiti coating.
The principal sustainability considerations include durable and environmentally sustainable materials, the use of thermal mass on the external walls and floor, green roof, rainwater retention, light pipe interior lighting, and zeroscaping.
I have indicated a suspended artwork above and to the left of the main entrance as a possible % for art project. In addition, I could see the possibility of sculptures on the outdoor plaza and wall hung works on the back of the rammed earth wall or the curved wall in the skate change area.
As for the building cost, I feel that the allowable budget is sufficient to build this project. There is enough flexibility in the design, use of materials, and landscaping to make adjustments for budget purposes.
(Competitor's text excerpt)
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