Archive for January, 2012

There is a batture area right next to the pentagon and visitor center.

It has been dug up probably for lending dirt to another site. Two depressions remain full of water where even fish can be caught according to witnesses. The water doesn’t drain completely, probably due to the clayish nature of the soil and its proximity to the river at a low level, where the river water feeds the ground water of these pools from underneath, preserving them full of water.

This area is also often flooded by the river, that renew the water and eventual fauna that lives in it.

A little further downstream, the margin of the river changes drastically. The batture we first visited harbored a reasonable amount of vegetation, from grassy to arboreous in a sector of the river margin where there is more depositing of debris by the river than erosion. Further down we come to an area where the river is trying to carve into its margin. If concrete walls were not installed along this stretch of the river margin the river would probably have been successful in “eating” through towards the park area, probably destroying both roads to its east side.

Supposedly this area should be integrated to the rest of the grounds, but it is strongly separated by two transportation ways: a two way paved road (River Road) and an active railway.

The visitor center to the east of the tracks, opposite the area, was built with lots of glass as its first floor walls. This was probably done with a mindset of taking advantage of the proximity to the river.

The goal of this study is to try to reduce this separation, creating some type of connection from the Capitol grounds to the batture area. This would be accomplished with some sort of passage, starting right next to the visitor center, crossing the road and railway, taking advantage of the level difference from the high grounds to the batture and motivating people to come, walk across and enjoy some type of structure to be installed as a park or similar equipment on the batture area.

During this visit I noticed that there is a small wall, approximately 90 cm high, separating the road from the public space. This separation is adequate for safety but adds to the separation between grounds and river.

Also the external floor pattern is made of bricks separated by a concrete lay. This pattern is about 7 yards long and the concrete is about 2 feet wide, creating a rhythm along the side of the visitor center building. This building has high ceilings and a generous “coating” of transparent glass, as mentioned before, showing the inside for those outside the building and vice-versa. An eventual structure should consider this format and develop from it.

Interviewing a couple of users of the building, they observed that the western wall is not completely glassed, providing a considerable blockage of the view towards the river.

I believe that this is true, but also, to gain a view towards the river the whole level of the first floor should be raised somewhat. Also, since there was little view and two unpleasant neighbors (roads), the architects probably wanted to partially block the view.

As a batture zone, the area to the west of the tracks often suffers with flooding, so any structure proposed for this site should consider either being submitted to this condition or placed in a higher level so that eventual water would pass under is.

An idea that occurs to me is to produce both, ground level and some elevated element(s) so that the area can be visited year round.

Along the hours spent there I noticed that very few people actually go there, except for a few souls and people that work there. This is true too for the weekends, so when thinking of a solution, one should be concerned with this factor. The biggest parking lot close to the Capitol grounds is across the road, an uninviting proposal.

Probably with the construction of a passage, a visitor would be able to park where the current parking lot lies and enjoy the park. If needed be the user could cross to the other side, without having to deal with the intense traffic of both roads.

Another issue that occurs to me is the treatment of the existing vegetation. I believe that some paths built within the batture should also provide for some openings for better views from the Capitol grounds. This view today is jeopardized and blocked by the existing vegetation if one wishes to see what is “cooking” on the river surface. These openings would build interesting paths to the viewer to explore them in several different ways, different angles, different heights, eventual tree tunnels, playing with the level difference that naturally occurs on the site.


Studio just sta…

Studio just starting. Pretty anxious about the work and if I’ll be able to cope.

Performance is a must and good ideas are hard to come. Work hard and keep it up!