An ecological study of a 2 miles by 5 miles stretch of Route 29 in Charlottesville, Virginia. The focused area of study was the headwaters of Hollymead Lake, a wetland damaged by sedimentation and erosion. The damage was caused by an unstabilized upstream construction zone. Over time, sedimentation has caused the area to become delta-like in appearance and establish large islands.
The objection of the project was to restabilize the sediment islands by use of bioengineering methods. These islands would become a series of "rooms" with walls of vegetation. A small track-hoe makes its way through the islands, creating a series of "hallways", or pathways and bridges, that interlock each sediment island. The purpose of the track-hoe is to reinforce existing and proposed development of vernal pools. Existing pools along the edge of the site are considered "wild rooms", in which the shaded pools and wild, impenetrable vegetation creates a dense space. Proposed, or man-made vernal pools created "color rooms". As these specific sun-lit pools develop over time, the evaporating water will deposit flower seeds around the edge of the pool. In the next flowering season, blooms will erupt, thus creating a series of "color rings" around the edge of the pool. As the pool matures, more seeds are deposited and more rings are created. Over time, the floors of the "color rooms" are a mass of color, and a distinct contrast to the surrounding "wild rooms".
The design is meant to be a series of events that happen over many years. Each year, the track-hoe will return to its path, and perhaps venture to an untouched sediment island, to keep the vernal pools live and well and to tend to the pedestrian walkways that follow in its wake. As each season passes, the site will become more stabilized, bioodiverse, and lively.
The idea is to not "solve" the problem of increased sedimentation and erosion, or even to solve the issues of problematic construction tactics. The purpose is to celebrate what has happened in the past, learn from mistakes, and start a new and healthy ecological beginning.