Friday, May 27, 2011

Progress = Tractors in Africa, Computers in NY

First things first, ground has been broken in South Africa! Us students aren't there yet, but the grading and compacting is being done now.

And here's a 3-D model of what it's going to look like by August 15th:

Armadillo Fly Through from CUSD SSA on Vimeo.

Meanwhile, back in the U. S. we're still working hard both to get donations and to finish the landscape. Since the landscape design depends on the site - because we need to know what space we have and how the classrooms will be set up - we could not really start designing until now.

So far, we've come up with some priority elements: tree "orchard" area, sand area, climbing structure, and running area. Then, we talk to people who know what they are doing. Our first contact was a graduate of Cornell's landscape architecture department, I Maria, and she helped us comprehend just how much goes into designing a landscape (hint: a lot). Gradingtopographysoilclimaterunoffscale...

From left to right: I Maria, Barry Beagen, Jeremy Foster (Assistant Prof. of Landscape Arch.)
 Every meeting we find out more and more elements we need to consider, but progress is being made (note the plans strewn across the table)!
Later, we met with the rest of the students in the landscape group to discuss some of the suggestions we'd gotten. A lot of the questions we have can hopefully be answered by our non-profit partner, Education Africa: Would townspeople use a garden? How much input can we get from locals? What is the curriculum for the school going to include when it comes to outdoor learning?

By the end of the meeting we decided we needed to draw up our current ideas so that we could present them to our next mentors. Here's what we came up with (click the picture to see the full size version):

The two grey areas are the buildings that you saw in the fly-through. Around them are the elements we are working on:
- sand box
- younger children area
- tire climber
- raised platform around fruit trees
- gardens
- paved area
And then of course, parking, rainwater runoff, and compost.

Armed with this plan we spoke with a landscape architect at Tetra Tech in Ithaca, NY and with one of the landscape team's parents. More updates to come soon! They come second to my recovering after a hefty dose of sleep deprivation, packrat's remorse, and final exam fatigue.

But at least for now I can relax for a bit, beach and family ahoy!:

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Just Around the Corner

Hello! Welcome to Playground Bound - where you can stay up to date with your friendly neighborhood aspiring playground designer.

 *le future me right there ^^

Here we are on the last day of classes and I have been oscillating between two polar opposite emotions. First, stress; HOW many projects are due next week?!

Second, exhilaration; OMG I just bought tickets to South Africa! I am going to be a world explorer!


And that brings me to this blog.

A few people have mentioned being interested in knowing what I'm doing this summer. I will be trying to follow two playground pursuits: work for Rusty Keeler's natural playscape business, where we'll make natural willow huts and much more:

...until July 13th when I'll go to Johannesburg, South Africa and help build a sustainable preschool as part of Cornell University Sustainable Design - Schoolhouse South Africa (check it out!):

This is the preschool we will be building as designed by Cornell 2nd year architects.

I am so excited to get started! And as soon as I take three more exams and finish two projects, I'll be all set.

In the meantime, I will let y'all know how both projects are coming and give YOU, yes you, an opportunity to receive original art from me while I'm in Africa in return for you helping me out with the travel cost. Or else I might have to downgrade my flight.

Human-powered plane built by college student in the Netherlands.

But more on that later. For now, let me know what you'd like to see in this blog. Real life pictures? More on my life or more on the projects? And, what is your favorite African animal? (this will become important later).

(warthog anyone?)

Don't forget to Follow Me or comment to show me someone's out there!