Digging into the Details

We’ve had a pretty busy week as we got into both the Art in the Loop project and the Recycling project. Art in the Loop is a foundation within the Downtown Council that works on bringing into the public realm in the Downtown Loop. So, KCDC’s role is in creating a strategic masterplan for the placement of art in the Loop. This week, we had our first meeting with the advisory council where we introduced the project and talked about our plans for the study then asked for feedback. We started with a base inventory of parks and plazas, vacant spaces, and surface parking lots. However, as we spoke with some of the advisory council, we got some interesting perspectives on how we should think about public art. For example, one member asked us to think about the perspective of a resident or worker who is on the 27th floor of a building looking down at a piece of art versus someone who walks past it on their way to work everyday. Due to the very public nature of this art, every angle that the art can be seen from is really important in how we think about the placement of the art throughout the city. I’m sure we’ll have a lot more fruitful discussions, just like this past one, with the advisory group as we advance in the project.

A part of our work on Art in the Loop is the ability to work with local artists in order to get input on how we can go about selecting these sites as future Art in the Loop sites. As designers and planners it’s been extremely helpful in how we think about art and some of the constraints and opportunities that public art allows that we would not be privy to otherwise. So, our first meeting with the artists was critical in how we decide to move forward with the selection of sites and all their input was extremely helpful. So we're very grateful for that opportunity.

On the recycling side, we’ve been working towards picking the sites that we will design in order to demonstrate the overall system. The process includes scaling in further so we can look at some of the sites in greater detail. Some things that become important at a deeper scale include topography, visibility to and from the site, truck access, and the more experiential details as we continue to analyze each site. All this information leads to design decisions that are based on a fully researched on understood site so that we can maximize the potential of each site as recycling centered sites.

Some of us have also been working on acquiring some skills that can hopefully be useful in the design and production of the recycling study. Nathan Howe’s 5th Year studio at K-State is working on the masterplanning of the 2028 Olympics in Vancouver. As part of the masterplan, a number of new structures would be necessary in order to handle the large influx of people and the number of events Olympics hosts. So, HOK Kansas City had a workshop with the students and we were invited to come along, to learn about using Grasshopper to efficiently and quickly design stadiums. Now, unless we discover that there is a need for a stadium dedicated solely to recycling for a recycling festival or something, we probably won’t be designing a stadium for this project. However, the information we learned about was super helpful in thinking about more efficient ways to build 3d models more efficiently as we get into the design phase of the project. So, thank you to the people at HOK who helped us wade through the complex world of Grasshopper and parametric design.

So stick around for more on what we’re up to this semester. It’s a bit hectic and our calendars are full but we are definitely up for the challenge and the opportunities that they each present!