Good design is not only aesthetically pleasing but also must function to best fit the end users’ needs while serving the site’s landscape. Davis & Floyd’s landscape architecture team knows more than anyone how the ideas of form and function interact on a project. Our landscape architecture team is trained to identify and address constraints early in the process. This is why including a cross-disciplined team’s insight is one of the most advantageous things a developer can do. Initial objectives by our landscape architecture team include research, site analysis, and problem solving before anyone gets into a hard-hat zone.
Constraints as Design Needs
On finished sites, many aesthetic features actually began as functional choices at the start of the project. For example, to the unknowing observer of a bioswale, it is just a ditch with attractive native plants within and around it. In reality, a bioswale’s function is to treat stormwater with specifically chosen plants, slow water flow and let it percolate into the soil, and provide native fauna food and shelter.
During the final stages of a recent project, the developer informed the design team that SCE&G was locating a series of electrical equipment on the site and these elements would significantly impose upon the views of the building and the users’ experiences. Additionally, this change required that the controversial project go back before the municipality’s design review committee – a potential hurdle to project permitting and construction. Our landscape architecture team provided a planting design to accommodate the SCE&G requirements while also screening the equipment with vegetation so that it did not detract from users’ interaction with the proposed development. To illustrate their solution, our designers also created a series of photorealistic renderings of the pedestrian experience to gather consensus among SCE&G, the developer, and the municipality’s design review board resulting in a favorable approval and subsequent building permit acquisition.
Considering a Site’s Uses
Whether environmental or municipal, constraints require additional investigation in order to decide how to proceed with site design. Our landscape architects balance the needs of the developer with the requirements of the municipality while also taking into consideration the environment and the experience of the individual interacting with the site. An important aspect of the design process is forethought of experience, which can vary from someone in a car driving through the site, to the experience on foot, to the view from a window in a building.
How a person feels in a space can be manipulated based on choices made during the design process. Paving materials can be used to regulate speed and features like the fragrance of blooming plants and various sidewalk materials all invoke different responses from the users of the space. Trees often are placed to frame chosen views from a building’s window.
From big picture to small details, our landscape architecture team excels at finding solutions that are engineering-minded while using the site and thoughtful design to solve problems and evoke experiences.