OUTDOOR CLASSROOM

A design project promoting outdoor classroom engagement and presentation, stormwater runoff, ecological habitat, campus art and experiential learning.

Location: Area near Marine & Natural Sciences Department Pond, Roger Williams University
Construction: Fall 2016
Lead Designer: Leonard Yui, Assistant Professor of Architecture, AIA, LEED AP
Design Collaborators:

  • RWU Facilities: (John Tameo, Director of Facilities Operation & Matthew Clement, Grounds Supervisor)
  • Dr. Loren Byrne, PHD, Urban Ecologist, Associate Professor of Biology & Environmental Science
  • Sustainable Grounds Committee
  • Undergraduate Assistant: David Kitchen, BARCH candidate 2017
     
 

1 MONTH LATER

Although not the optimal time, the grass is starting to come in (end of October). Now to wait to see how things will look in the spring and summer.  

 

SEED + FINISH

"Sustainable" grass seed blend with fertilizer. 

 

ENTRY

The entry is designed to create a threshold experience from the adjacent pathways while also remaining a supporting part to the main event. Although simple it takes into consideration the surrounding pedestrian geometries. Granite blocks were placed to direct the eye as well as to provide a comfortable walking surface if one chooses to use them. Grass will fill in the surrounding spaces and highlight the stone and axes.  

Harrison Carney
David Kitchen
Christopher Mahatcek
Erica Taras

 

FILLINGS

Building under a birch tree and its roots meant that we had to build on top of the existing grade. 4-5" of crushed shells filled the open space between the outer and inner ring. Earth was filled in to meet the surrounding grade.  

Harrison Carney
Adam Clary
Victoria Fagan
Cameron Germond
Yiyu Han
Ally Hess
Michael Jarmon
Rachel Kelly (Photographer)
David Kitchen
Nate Lynch
Nick Marques
Wyatt Martineau
Linda Penaloza (Photographer)
Nick Pyles
Joshua Seabrook
Bryan Smith

 

INNER CIRCLE

The inner area consisted of a circle of sand for leveling, jumbo granite blocks and flexible paver edging to keep the blocks in place. In the center is a large granite stone accent carefully selected by Matt Clement (RWU Facilities). Lastly the inside if filled with crushed blue stone to give color and the center sense of emphasis.

Harrison Carney
Victoria Fagan
Cameron Germond
Yiyu Han
Ally Hess
Rachel Kelly (Photographer)
David Kitchen
Wyatt Martineau
Linda Penaloza (Photographer)
Nick Pyles
Joshua Seabrook
Bryan Smith 

 
 
 

OUTER CIRCLE

Setting and leveling the outer edging went up relatively quickly. First we chalked, then flagged, then staked each edging. There were many places where the stakes could not penetrate the ground.  

Harrison Carney
Cameron Germond
Rachel Kelly (Photographer)
David Kitchen
Wyatt Martineau
Nick Pyles
Bryan Smith

 

SURVEY + LEVEL

Large amounts of loam, crushed blue stone, crushed sea shells and granite blocks were delivered to the site. Students studied the ground elevation through lines and levels in a grid pattern and laid additional loam accordingly. An existing three-pronged paper birch tree (an important shade tree for the passerby) and the desire to maintain a pervious surface limited the amount of compaction to the ground.

Harrison Carney
Cameron Germond
Rachel Kelly (Photographer)
David Kitchen
Wyatt Martineau
Nick Pyles
Bryan Smith

 

STONE SEATING

Ground was first chalked and mapped based on measured drawings. The RWU facilities staff helped to move into place the large granite pieces. Each stone was embedded into the ground as much as possible (roughly 6"+) to express its rootedness. During excavation and construction a waterline for the pond pump was damaged and required rerouting to accommodate the new seating pattern.

 

GEOLOGICAL RELICS

Large chunks of granite dot the Roger Williams University landscape. Each piece was selected for their aesthetic qualities and their measurements appropriate to seating (approx. 2' high, 4-5' long, and 2-3' deep). Every weighty piece expresses a sense of permanence and its textures and disfigurement invites deeper inspection.