The Problem: The University of Oregon Urban Farm functions as a testing ground for experiments dealing with small-scale food production, composting, garden design, irrigation, earthen building materials, and other living systems. This learning garden is a continuous work in progress. The site consists of gardens, an outdoor classroom, a kiln shed, and the potting shed. The potting shed is one of two stormwater installation sites the Urban Farm Stormwater Installation Project will be tackling. The shed functions as a storage, planting, and harvest preparation space. Currently, no stormwater management system is in place. Rainwater falls from the roof onto the puddle-ridden, muddy ground below, rendering the partially covered preparation space unusable. The second site, a small open-air storage shed used by the Ceramics department, suffers from a similar problem. Gutters are installed, however there are no downspouts so water puddles in the storage space below.
Design Concept Statement: The Urban Farm Stormwater Installation Project consists of two thematically linked, small-scale design proposals for the redirection of stormwater at two locations on the site of the Urban Farm. The primary intent of these two proposals is to reconsider the movement of stormwater from rooftop surfaces to the ground within the broader context of horticultural building systems. The secondary intent is to alter the way in which visitors to the Urban Farm perceive building stormwater management. Both proposals are intentionally playful, as delight and discovery are important elements of any educational design installation. They explore the potential of moving and cleansing stormwater through vertical garden-downspout hybrid forms and infiltration beds in a way that reveals the processes involved in transitioning the stormwater from rooftop to water table.