Since I last wrote, our project has stayed relatively the same. Same site, same scope of work but we redefined our goals and objectives to help keep our project focused and heading in the right direction for the rest of the semester. By coming up with three main goals and many objectives for the site as a whole and also specifically Veterans Village, we could work towards producing work that would show those goals and objectives. This list also helped us towards the end of the semester to decide what type of models and drawings we needed to make to emphasize our goals and objectives.
Deciding what we needed for our project instead of being told what models or drawings to have at the given scale is something that I have been working towards throughout my four years in Landscape Architecture. To have the freedom and knowledge to know what to produce is a good feeling to leave college with. Thinking back to my first year in the program, we were given the same list of drawings to produce, one plan at ____ scale, one N-S section, one E-W section, two perspectives, three details, etc. As a first year, it was important for this strict guidance because we didn’t know how to use drawings to truly show our designs. This semester as we were getting to the end, we would think that we would need a drawing but would ask ourselves if this new drawing would show us something different that the other drawings weren’t and often we wouldn’t need the additional drawing.
After spring break my group regrouped and figured out who was really going to look into what sites specifically. I stayed with the pedestrian corridor between 3rd and 4th Street. Professor McCown returned a week after spring break to review what we had done since before spring break. When we had to review another groups project based on what boards they had produced, it was obvious what elements of our project were strong as well as weak. This I think was a good wake up call that helped focus us for the rest of the semester.
To push the pedestrian corridor further, Professor McCown helped me realize how to use designed elements to help the site function more efficiently. I knew the corridor was going to be paved with concrete due to its durability and low sunlight absorption but the pattern or layout of the paving was still to be decided. I also knew that the corridor would need to function for different events such as to hold food trucks, concerts, the First Friday art event, and even a block party so to design a paving that would help with all events became my main task. I began working with six food trucks, three on the 3rd Street side and three on the 4th Street side, and a seating area with moveable furniture in a small area of the site. If I could figure out how to make a small group of food trucks work to their full potential then I could apply the same idea throughout the rest of the corridor.
My other teammates continued working on their respective sites and pushed them to a whole new design level. In the final two weeks leading up to the review, we went into production mode of what final images and models we needed. Since I had a good handle on the pedestrian corridor I decided to tackle the master plan. We needed an easy to understand plan to show what we were changing and how we were proposing to do so. I hadn’t done a master plan like this before but with working on the master plan Iowa State University uses at work, I began to add details such as tree and building shadows that made the plan come to life.
When those plans had been finalized, it was time to move to producing perspective renderings. I feel so fortunate that my teammates were skilled with Revit. It is a program that I want to learn after seeing what it can do to make an image full of life that would take SketchUp much longer to do. They put our design into the program and created renderings that had the appropriate shadows and reflections on glass. This made it easy to hand to me so all I had to add was the entourage and a few realistic trees to make the site feel full of life. Also, by having me do the final touchups and filter/action adjustments, it made all of the renderings look cohesive.
Some positive comments we received were: we had good images and models that represented our ideas well and also looked cohesive with one another; Veterans Village was well designed and thought through; the mixed use buildings were placed in the appropriate way to help make them sustainable.
Some comments we were given that could help our design were: either 3rd Street or 4th Street should have been completely blocked off from Colorado Avenue to Las Vegas Boulevard to emphasize the pedestrian corridor; the way veterans would get from the existing building to the proposed site needed to be addressed; the openness of the mixed use building floor plans would make it difficult for a store owner due to needed more employees to view more entrances; by having two fronts to the mixed use buildings, there isn’t a place for garbage cans or other daily utility functions; we needed one more scale of plan between the zoomed out context and our master plan to understand what is happening around the site better.
To conclude this phase of blog posts, I would like to say thank you to my incredible group who put in countless hours to help produce a final project that I am incredibly proud of especially with this being my final semester and studio. We all worked well together, we listened to everyone’s ideas, and we came up with a cohesive plan that would truly help this part of Las Vegas. I have learned so much from each teammate and feel like I have a whole new, positive perspective on collaborative design because of them.