I would like to have something like the attached ready at the presentation for Gus. I will work on it if everyone thinks it is a good idea. I'm not positive I can get as much information as I did for this one, and it may be too much work, but I think there could be a story worth telling.


I was able to shrink the the contuer map so that we can work on it more efficiently. If you look closely there is some jaggedness in parts of the map. This is due to the fact I I left the layer on for existing buildings. Does anyone want me to redo the map so that it is a bit smoother, it will not take too long.



So here is an example of a spectrum of ecotones. When entering the park via top right path, one is greeted by wildflowers/native grasses to the right. To the left is orchard with flowers underneith. Path bisects first ecotone. Under orchard can be berries. Orchard then provides some shade for garden plots. (Lettuce may like some shade)

one more


Here are a couple of pics of the amphatheater at the Nasher museum by Renzo Piano in Dallas. I also included a shot of the building model with an arrow to the bay in the plan where these pictures were taken.

Pretty Pictures

Here it the picture of the change in path material from the Yupon entry garden (gravel) to the side halls under the barrel vaults (travertine?). This could be a good subtle example of indicating an ecotone change.


Here are a couple quick sketches of the corner of the cemetery before and after, just to give an idea. Please note: tall grasses, path that goes off to right, and historic marker (big black blotch). Maybe we plant vines on the fence also. I think if just the section of fence that abuts the field is changed to wrought iron (prefab) it will not be too expensive.

A Walk in the Park

This system of trails is based on a few assumptions: (1) we will create a southern access, (2) pedestrians will be entering the park via the north, east, and south corners, and (3) those with cars (not using the recreation center) will be using the lot we've designated along Fiskeville Cemetery Rd (in brown). The circuit fosters a "crossing" at our intended center, and the northeastern path bisects the orchard. Also, there is a linear stretch linking the parking lot to the center - this allows for the visual experience David described in the first meeting.

This plan may stubbornly ignore the massive retaining pond, but it definitely lends itself to adjustment and is highly dependent on the rest of our layout. We also need to consider trails in the context of their "three phases of design", and take into account existing pathways, such as the sidewalk along the northern perimeter.


Basic constructed wetland diagram for site

Diagram of stages of a constructed treatment wetland for agriculture

The Eco-Park

SoilMap : Geology Of Gus Garcia Park

Soil Types

Fs- Oakall Soils (95%)
HsD- Houston Black Soils (56%)
UsC- Urban Lands Austin (60%)
UtD- Urban Lands Austin (30%) & Whitewright soils (25%) Shallow Bedrock

Corrosion of Concrete

Fs- Low
HsD- Low
UsC- Null
UtD- Low

Corrosion of Steel

Fs- Moderate
HsD- High
UsC- Null
UtD- High

Dwellings with Basements

Fs- Very Limited- Flooding
HsD- Very Limited
UsC- Not Rated
UtD- Not Rated

Dwellings without Basements

Fs- Very Limited- Flooding
HsD- Very Limited
UsC- Not Rated
UtD- Somewhat Limited

Lawn, Landscape, Golf Fairway

Fs- Very Limited- Flooding, Carbonate Content
HsD- Very Limited- Too Clayey
UsC- Not Rated
UtD- Very Limited- Too Clayey, Carbonate Content, Depth to Bedrock

Local Roads and Streets

Fs- Very Limited- Flooding
HsD- Very Limited- Shrink-Swell, Low Strength
UsC- Not Rated
UtD- Very Limited- Shrink-Swell, Low Stength

Shallow Excavations

Fs- Somewhat Limited- Flooding, Cutbanks Cave
HsD- Very Limited- Cutbanks Cave, Very Clayey
UsC- Not Rated
UtD- Not Rated

Small Commercial Buildings

Fs- Very Limited- Flooding, Shrink Swell
HsD- Very Limited- Shrink Swell
UsC- Not Rated
UtD- Somewhat Limited- Shrink Swell, Depth to Soft Bedrock

Construction Material

Gravel Source

Fs- Poor
HsD- Poor
UsC- Not Rated
UtD- Poor

Reclamation Material Source

Fs- Poor
HsD- Poor
UsC- Not Rated
UtD- Poor

Landfill Source

Fs- Poor
HsD- Poor
UsC- Not Rated
UtD- Poor

Sand Source

Fs- Poor
HsD- Poor
UsC- Not Rated
UtD- Poor

Topsoil Source

Fs- Poor
HsD- Poor
UsC- Not Rated
UtD- Poor

Compost Medium and Final Cover

Fs- Poor
HsD- Poor
UsC- Not Rated
UtD- Poor

Ecological Site Name

Fs- Loamy Bottomland
HsD- Null
UsC- Null
UtD- Null

Farmland Classification

Fs- Not Prime Farmland
HsD- Not Prime Farmland
UsC- Not Prime Farmland
UtD- Not Prime Farmland

Construction Limitations for Haul Roads, Log Landings

Fs- Severe- Flooding, Low Strength
HsD- Moderate- Low Strength
UsC- Slight
UtD- Moderate- Low Strength

Conventional Tillage

Fs- Poor- Flooding
HsD- Good- Slow Percolation
UsC- Not Rated
UtD- Not Rated

Hand Planting Suitability

Fs- Moderately Suited
HsD- Poorly Suited
UsC- Well Suited
UtD- Well Suited


Let's talk about ecotones

Socrates understood the importance of knowing the definitions of words, even if you think you already know them. Below are four words that I believe could start to solidify our direction (all of them are gleaned from wikipedia and their pages make for interesting reading...in all your spare time).

A concept is an abstract idea or a mental symbol, typically associated with a corresponding representation in language or symbology, that denotes all of the objects in a given category or class of entities, interactions, phenomena, or relationships between them.

To quilt is to stitch together (two pieces of cloth and a soft interlining [or ecosystems]), usually in an ornamental pattern.

An ecosystem, a contraction of "ecological" and "system", refers to the collection of biotic and abiotic components and processes that comprise and govern the behavior of some defined subset of the biosphere. Elements of an ecosystem may include flora, fauna, lower life forms, water and soil.

An ecotone is a transition area between two adjacent ecological communities (ecosystems). It may appear on the ground as a gradual blending of the two communities across a broad area, or it may manifest itself as a sharp boundary line. Changes in the physical environment may produce a sharp boundary, as in the example of a shoreline or the interface between areas of forest and cleared land. Elsewhere, a more gradually blended interface area will be found, where species from each community will be found together as well as unique local species.

What I am proposing we adopt as our concept is the quilting together of a series of unique ecosystems. The critical part of this design would be the articulation of the ecotone, or intersection between two ecosystems. To reinforce this concept, the built form would take on one of two roles:

1 - Individual buildings that support the clear definition of one particular ecosystem. This could be achieved by the building-type we discussed Sunday (the pavilions) and other free standing structures.

2 - Elements that act as ecotones: constructed elements (ie fences, walls), planted elements, or sculpted landscapes. These elements would allow us to develop a sophisticated (hopefully) legible organization of the diverse elements of our scheme.

This tangent was spurred by Ariel's comment last week that he envisioned the area as a greenbelt and that with built form fragmented throughout. All I am suggesting is that we recognise the unique qualities of the different zones (ie native texas landscape, constructed wetland, forest, garden, orchard, urban) and define them; in this case as ecosystems. Instead of fragmenting form, we use it as the thread to stitch everything together.



Rem Koolhaas' IIT Building in Chicago. This Interior stair has a ramp that angles and cuts through it making it universally accessible. Was thinking this would be a great catalyst for the outdoor theater. Parts of the Ramp could be wider than accessibly necessary and in those locations we could place trees for shade.

Apologies, etc.

Sorry everyone for not being there for last weekend's meeting, I had been sick all week and it came to a head on the weekend. I could have drugged myself and gotten down there, but at some point you have to rest and get better. Mom said so. I am pleased to say that I am now healthy as an ox and ready to rumble.

Justin and I were going to meet tonight, but HE'S A BIG BIRTHDAY BOY! so we will either meet tomorrow night or else we'll split up some stuff. I would personally like to work on the cemetery facade/grassland prairie idea if everyone thinks that is a worthwhile venture. I would like to help on the path/frisbee golf (<--really?) part too, but we need to know the area where that would likely happen.


an ox!



Stick trellis with Bougainvillea. Did not find the plant on the GrowGreen Guide, but was told it grows wild in parts of Texas - never heard of it. (image from the Getty Gardens)


Divide and Conquer

Per the intoxicating climax of yesterday's meeting, here are the various responsibilities and the interested parties:

Johnny- theater and behind theater

Ben - orchard and garden layout, precedent images, disc golf course

Ariel - greenbelt, wetlands, theater space, ideas about pavilion

David - square and street

Rachel- Playground,1st draft of scaled master plan, native plants from green guide (anyone else can pick this up at the center and make suggestions too)

Andrew and Justin - truant....didn't want to speak for you guys, but some gaps are hike/bike trails and their relationship to the disk golf as way to unify all experiences of site. Feel free to help any of the above with their stuff as well. Also, talk to someone about the "Jack-in-the-Box Pavilion Building" concept.


Community Gardens

Was thinking that (if this Arctic Blast ends before this weekend) our next meeting should be at one of the local Community Gardens in Austin. There are a few in the area that have had success.






I have also found a website that talks about soil suitabilities for any site. If anyone wants to use it for future work the web site is:


I will share the information from our site at our next meeting
Thought this might be interesting to some of us



Well, here we are

So here's the park site (click on the image to download the pdf). Each of you can now author posts, so scan your drawings and upload the jpegs. Ben can even post his distribution of quick eats in the area.

In addition to individual layouts and ideas, Andrew and I will gather more information on the cemetery. It may also be beneficial to contact an administrator at the Middle School to see if they have specific needs we could consider in our design.