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Prairie Gateway, community, history and prairie : a design for a prairie landscape : Commerce City, Colorado Golden, Shira B. 2001

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Prairie Gateway - Communi ty , History and Prair ie A Des ign for a Prair ie Landscape C o m m e r c e City, Co lo rado by S H I R A B. G O L D E N B . S c , The University of Water loo, 1995 M R M , S imon Fraser University, 1999 A T H E S I S S U B M I T T E D IN P A R T I A L F U L F I L L M E N T O F T H E R E Q U I R E M E N T S F O R T H E D E G R E E O F M A S T E R O F L A N D S C A P E A R C H I T E C T U R E (MLA) in T H E F A C U L T Y O F G R A D U A T E S T U D I E S (Department of Landscape Architecture) W e accept this thesis as conforming to the required s tandard. T H E U N I V E R S I T Y O F BRIT ISH C O L U M B I A August 2001 © Sh i ra B. Go lden , 2001 U B C Special Collections - Thesis Authorisation Form Page 1 of 1 In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f the r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r an advanced degree a t the U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree t h a t the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and s t u d y . I f u r t h e r agree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be g r a n t e d by the head o f my department or by h i s or her r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . I t i s u n d e r s t o o d t h a t c o p y i n g o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l not be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . Department o f The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver, Canada http://www.library.ubc.ca/spcoll/thesauth.html 6/25/01 Abstract The City of C o m m e r c e City, Co lorado intends to develop a 940 acre disturbed prairie grass land site, cal led Prair ie Gateway adjacent to the 27 square mile Rocky Mountain Arsena l Wildlife Refuge. A feasibility study has been conducted to a s s e s s economic and community development opportunities for Prair ie Gateway that would support Refuge activities and provide a unique amenity for C o m m e r c e City residents and visitors. A preliminary site des ign has been proposed and initial costing and facility needs have been deve loped for a variety of program options. This design thesis builds on these previous studies and outl ines a site concept for Prair ie Ga teway based on biophysical , soc ia l and historical data. The notion of prairie was explored in terms of art and literature to help better understand and design an appropriate and meaningful prairie exper ience. A review of severa l precedents for design on prairie landscapes was conducted to help in creating a site speci f ic design language for Prair ie Gateway. A ser ies of des ign principles -spatial, des ign detail and program components were deve loped as building blocks for the proposal , and recur throughout at a variety of sca les from planning to detai led des ign. Much of the Prair ie Gateway design is linked to the concept of reconnect ion to prairie in terms of community, history and prairie exper ience. Spatial ly, at the planning sca le , the design references the patterns of sett lement based on the surveyed grid of the Amer ican West . At the more detai led sca le the design incorporates a materials palette of the vernacular prairie farm including rough stone, brick, adobe and corrugated metal. The Prair ie Ga teway design includes a concept plan for the mile square portion of the site, a conceptual plan for a public park and visitor's complex, a schemat ic plan for an educat ional centre and lodge, a site plan for the lodge and detai led drawings for program areas within the lodge complex. E a c h portion of the design references the overall design and program principles deve loped during the analys is phase. Ideally, these principles can be used to guide future work on Prair ie Ga teway in order to create a holistic and integrated des ign. Table of Contents Abstract ii Tab le of Contents. . . . iii List of F igures v Acknowledgements vii Introduction 1 Project Background 1 E D A W ' s Development strategy 1 Project G o a l 1 Object ives 2 Methodology 2 Reg iona l Ana lys i s 3 Locat ion and Circulat ion 3 Bioregion 4 Land Div is ion 5 Land U s e 5 Greenway Connec t ions 6 Hydrology 7 Cultural History 7 Prair ie Ga teway Si te Ana lys i s 10 Adjacent land use 10 Vegetat ion 11 Habitat and Wildl i fe 14 Topography and So i ls 15 Deve lopment Z o n e s 15 Prel iminary Development Strategy . 16 The Prair ie Exper ience 17 Percept ion of Prair ie G rass lands 17 Connec t ion to Landscape 19 Des ign Preceden ts 20 Big Sky T e x a s 20 Nea l Smith Wi ld l i fe Refuge 20 Des ign Pr inc ip les 21 Spat ia l Des ign Pr inc ip les 21 Connec t ion to Communi ty 21 Connec t ion to History 22 Connec t ion to Prair ie 23 Des ign Detai l Pr inc ip les 24 Program Pr inc ip les 26 Des ign Concep t 27 Circulat ion and E d g e s 28 Site Structure 29 Zon ing and Program 29 City Park 29 Program 29 Site Structure 30 Park Plant ing and Circulat ion Concep t 32 Prair ie E d g e - Program and Concep t 34 Program 34 Site Structure 35 Homestead Lodge - Program and Site p lan 38 Program 38 Site Structure 38 Prair ie Bar 40 Program 40 Des ign Pr inc ip les 41 G r a s s l a n d Bowl 41 Program 41 Des ign Pr inc ip les 41 Cab ins and Bunkhouse 42 Program 42 Des ign Pr inc ip les 43 Work ing garden 43 Program 43 Des ign Pr inc ip les 44 G a r d e n patio 45 Program 45 S a u n a Retreat 46 Program 46 Poo l 47 Program 47 Re fe rences 51 iv Table of F igures Figure 1 - Reg iona l Context 3 Figure 2 - Prair ie Bioregions 4 Figure 3 - Land Division 5 Figure 4 - Reg iona l Land U s e 6 Figure 5 - Greenway Connect ions 6 Figure 6 - Hydrology 7 Figure 7 - Tr ibal Territories 8 Figure 8 - Adjacent Land U s e 10 Figure 9 - Stapleton Redevelopment 10 Figure 10 - Vegetat ion and Summer Habitat 11 Figure 11 - Topography and Winter Habitat 14 Figure 12 - Development Zones 15 Figure 13 - E D A W Development Plan 16 Figure 14 - Communi ty pattern 1 21 Figure 15 - Communi ty pattern 2 21 Figure 16 - Communi ty pattern 3 21 Figure 17 - History pattern 1 22 Figure 18 - History pattern 2 23 Figure 19 - History pattern 3 23 Figure 20 - History pattern 4 23 Figure 21 - Prair ie pattern 1 23 Figure 22 - Prair ie pattern 2 24 Figure 23 - Prair ie pattern 3 24 Figure 24 - Des ign detail 1 24 Figure 25 - Des ign detail 2 24 Figure 26 - Material palette 25 Figure 27 - Vegetat ion palette 25 Figure 28 - Program pattern 1 26 Figure 29 - Program pattern 2 26 Figure 30 - Program pattern 3 26 Figure 31 - Des ign concept 27 Figure 32 - Zon ing and Concept P lan 27 Figure 33 - Runway Concep t 28 Figure 34 - Park P lan and Program 31 Figure 35 - Plant ing Concep t Schemat ic 32 Figure 36 - Main entry 32 Figure 37 - 1/16th sect ion road 33 Figure 38 - 20 acre division 33 Figure 39 - Sect ion of Quebec Street 34 Figure 40 - Trail to Si te Centre 34 Figure 41 - Educat ion Centre and Lodge 36 Figure 42 - Si te Centre 36 Figure 43 - S tone Marker sketch 36 V Figure 44 - Refuge perimeter fence 37 Figure 45 - Catt le Grate Cross ing 37 Figure 46 - Homestead Lodge P lan 39 Figure 47 - Prair ie Bar P lan 40 Figure 48 - Prair ie Bar Sect ion 40 Figure 49 - Sect ion of grass land bowl 41 Figure 50 - Backrests detail 41 Figure 51 - P lan of cabins and bunkhouse 42 Figure 52 - Sect ion of cabins and bunkhouse 43 Figure 53 - Garden P lan 44 Figure 54 - Garden Pat io axon 45 Figure 55 - P lan of S a u n a retreat 46 Figure 56 - S a u n a interior 46 Figure 57 - P lan of Poo l A r e a 47 Figure 58 - Diagram of So lar aquat ic system 48 Figure 59 - A x o n of pool patio 48 Figure 60 - Poo l and garden sect ion 49 Figure 61 - Sect ion/Elevat ion of lodge and pool 49 Figure 62 - Examp les of lodge character 50 Figure 63 - Sect ion of Poo l Deck and Shower 50 Figure 64 - Sect ion of Poo l and solar aquatic facility 50 vi Acknowledgments I would like to express my thanks to Doug Paterson and Don Luymes in the Department of Landscape Architecture at UBC, who helped direct this project and encourage its timely completion. Thanks also to John Snyder for his enthusiasm and for encouraging me to take on this challenging project. In addition, I would like to thank Denise George, Laurie Shannon, Jon Hoffecker, and Hollie Kikel for providing me with valuable background information and references. And finally, I would like to thank my family and classmates for their continued support throughout my studies. Prairie Gateway: Connection to Community, History and Prairie Introduction The Rocky Mountain Arsena l Wildl i fe Refuge, des ignated a National Wildl i fe Refuge in 1992, is located within 10 mi les of downtown Denver, Co lo rado . A variety of s takeholders including: C o m m e r c e City, the U.S . F ish and Wildl i fe Serv ice , environmental groups, the bus iness community, and Co lo rado 's educat ional and cultural institutions sought to provide unique environmental educat ion and recreation opportunities for the rapidly growing urban populat ion of Co lo rado 's Front Range . To real ise these opportunit ies, legislation was passed to authorise the conveyance of a tract of land consist ing of approximately 940 acres from the U S Fish and Wildl i fe Serv ice to the City of C o m m e r c e City. Th is tract of land is cal led the Prair ie Gateway, the site for this des ign project. Between 1990 and 2000 the region w a s substantial ly t ransformed by rapid populat ion growth, large capital investments in c lean up operat ions, and signif icant economic development ( E D A W 2001). The Refuge and Prair ie Gateway, together with extensive trail sys tems, and state, municipal and county parks, represent the largest dedicated O p e n S p a c e area in Co lo rado 's Front Range . Project Background EDAW's Development strategy "The goals for the Prairie Gateway Project make it clear that the City of Commerce City is seeking much more than a traditional economic development project. The focus on environmental education, conservation, restoration, and recreation indicates that the objective of the project is not only economic feasibility, but that it should actively promote an improvement in the natural environment. Moreover, the project should create strong incentives for citizens to protect the natural resource base of the wildlife refuge by allowing them to unlock some of the economic value that can be derived from that resource. Finally, the project should provide an opportunity for residents of Commerce City to advance their personal quality of life through gainful employment, income generation, educational enrichment, and quality recreation," (EDAW 2001). To address C o m m e r c e City 's goals for Prair ie Gateway, E D A W Inc., a large planning and landscape architecture firm, has deve loped an economic development strategy for the site. The strategy outl ines a ser ies of potential program opportunit ies, an economic analys is of these components , a zoning map and a preliminary design strategy. Th is des ign thesis builds on the E D A W work, in terms of further uncovering site layers and creating a unified and site speci f ic des ign for Prair ie Gateway. Project Goal The primary goal of this design project is to examine how to create an educat ional and immersive prairie exper ience while accommodat ing E D A W ' s proposed program requirements for Prair ie Gateway. T h e project will explore the d i 1 g l PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y - Community, History and Prairie perceived va lues of the prairie from a variety of perspect ives and investigate how to incorporate ecological va lues into the site des ign. The key is to mix an analyt ical investigation of ecological and land use issues with a review of art and literature address ing human interaction with the prairie landscape. Objectives • To develop a ser ies of design principles which can be appl ied at var ious sca les to create a unified and logical des ign for Prair ie Gateway ; T h e s e des ign principles should incorporate an understanding of: • ecologica l p rocesses of short-grass prairie landscapes ; • cultural history of Native Amer i can inhabitants of the short g rass prairie • cultural and geographic history of settlers and farmers of the Co lo rado Front Range • examp les of some of the experiential qualit ies, des ign and educat ional opportunit ies at var ious interpretive facilities and deve lopment projects on other prairie grass land si tes; • To represent the design for Prair ie Ga teway through a ser ies of drawings at a variety of sca les - from a planning sca le for the entire site down to the design detail sca le for one program component—the Homestead Lodge . Th is approach will al low for a design language to develop that can be appl ied to the future development of des igns for the remaining program components . • T o demonstrate that a design based on program needs for people with physical disabil i t ies can provide a new and interesting twist to a site exper ience for all people. Methodology The following sequence outl ines the ser ies of s teps taken in developing the Prair ie Ga teway des ign. It should be noted that the p rocess w a s iterative and the var ious s teps were revisited at different points as the design progressed. 1. Over lay analys is of regional context information including: • land use, cl imate, bioregional context, cultural history, roadways and greenway connect ions 2. Rev iew of biophysical site information • Rocky Mountain Wildl i fe Refuge data- vegetat ion, habitat, topography, soi ls, wildlife, hydrology, restoration efforts 3. Rev iew of historical/cultural data • Rocky Mountain Wildl i fe Refuge archaeological data 4. Rev iew of economic data • E D A W Proposed Development Strategy 5. Rev iew of proposed program options for site • Comprehens ive Management P lan for the R M A N W R , Interpretive Facil i t ies Planning and Des ign for the R M A N W R and E D A W Proposed Development Strategy PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y - Community, History and Prairie 2 6. Explorat ion of art and literature on the prairie exper ience in terms of Pla ins Indians, explorers, settlers, farmers and urbanites. 7. Precedent review of other interpretive facilit ies and development projects on prairie grass land sites. 8. Development of design principles- spatial, material and programmatic to guide the design process at a variety of sca les 9. Design at the planning sca le , site sca le and detail sca le to create a "design language" that can be appl ied to the future design of other areas of Prairie Ga teway Regional Analysis Location and Circulation Prair ie Gateway is the geographic centre of the City of C o m m e r c e City and is in the north central region of the Denver Metropolitan A r e a . The Denver International Airport is located several miles to the east. The site is located along Q u e b e c St. between the intersections of 5 6 t h A v e . to the south and Co lorado Blvd. to the north. T h e s e major two lane arterials are exper iencing increased traffic vo lumes and mix of traffic types that will need to be addressed in the development of Prair ie Gateway. Interstate 70, 76 and the E-470 a lso surround the site. (Figure 1) Figure 1 - Reg iona l Context P R A I R I E G A T E W A Y - Community, History and P r a i r i e A substantial amount of rail transport infrastructure is located in the immediate vicinity. Al though the rail is used for freight transport, p lans are being considered to extend passenger rail serv ice from downtown Denver to the Denver International Airport. The establ ishment of this type of rail serv ice would allow large numbers of people to a c c e s s Prairie Gateway. Al though roads, transit and rail transport serv ices provide easy a c c e s s to the site, the open space consist ing of Prair ie Gateway and the Refuge has become "an is land" surrounded by development. Bioregion Prair ie Gateway is situated within the shortgrass prairie zone of the Great P la ins of North Amer i ca (Figure 2). Th is grassland type is characterist ic of low rainfall and is dominated by grass, less than 1 foot tall, including blue grama and buffalo grass (Joern and Keeler 1995 p. 16). Plants in semi-ar id zones world-wide have silvery, reflective, thick fol iage reducing evaporat ion and a longer flowering s e a s o n to aid in reproduction (Woodward 2000). \ f Figure 2 - Prair ie Bioregions T h e semi-ar id cl imate is character ised by low humidity and intense sunshine with average temperatures of 45° F (High) 16° F (Low) in January and 88° F (High) and 59° F ' (Low) in July. Eighty percent of the 12-16" of precipitation falls between September and Apri l , with January being the driest month. Much of the front range is character ized by northerly day winds and southerly night winds with an average speed of 8.7mph ( U S F W S 1996). XZ\ mi '6RAS5PRA!R \e PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y - Community, History and Prairie 4 Land Division The legacy of the land surveys of the late 1800s remains in the division of the 27 square mile Wildl i fe Refuge into mile sect ions. Figure 3 shows the numbered sect ions in the 36 square mile township division def ined by a square whose s ides measured six miles. Th is d istance was bel ieved to be a " reasonable" d istance for horse and wagon to get to market and back. Sect ions were numbered in what was cal led "boustrophedonic order" (or as the plow fol lows the ox) and these numbers remain today (Corner 2000, p. 31). Prairie Gateway consis ts of sect ion 9 and portions of sect ion 4 and 33. Located within Sect ion 9 are the U S Posta l Serv ice Bulk Mai l facility and the complete rehabilitation of the north portion of the defunct Stapleton Airport runway system (Figure 3). Figure 3 - Land Division Land Use Figure 4 shows the extent of land use activity around the site: • The Denver International Airport is located within five miles of Prair ie Gateway (Figure 1). • Large-scale private development is contributing to a construction boom surrounding Prair ie Gateway. • The extensive annexat ions of lands by the City of C o m m e r c e City now encircle the Rocky Mounta in A rsena l Wildl i fe Refuge. • Approximately 60 percent of the population of the adjacent C o m m e r c e City residential community are of Hispanic origin. PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y - Community, History and Prairie 5 Greenway Connections A significant open s p a c e acquisi t ion, such as a 17-mile reach of the South Platte River and regional trail development, has occurred in the vicinity of Prairie Gateway. The Refuge master plan proposes to connect the Refuge on-site trail sys tem and perimeter trail to the trails along First Creek, S a n d Creek, the Highline Cana l and E 470 to the southeast. On the northern boundary the plan proposes that the refuge connect to open space trails along I-76, Barr Lake, First and S e c o n d Creeks , Fulton Ditch and the Brighton lateral (Figure 5). P roposed recreational opportunities would include, hiking, biking, f ishing, bird watching and picnicking (Northeast Metro, 2000). PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y - Community, History and Prairie 6 Hydrology The Refuge (and Prair ie Gateway) is within severa l dra inage basins that are tributary to the South Platte River, located 2 miles to the northwest (Figure 6). A l l sur face f lows on site are intermittent, with stream-f low occurring as a result of runoff, re leased or diverted flow or direct precipitation. O n Prair ie Gateway, due to the sandy soi ls and sparse development, there is little if any surface runoff from this basin. Groundwater f lows to the north and north-west and is found more than 60 ft below ground surface in Prair ie Gateway. However, increased run-off from development surrounding the Refuge may impact the drainage regime on Prairie Gateway in the future. Finally, a ser ies of wel ls in sect ion 4 are used to supplement water levels to Lake Ladora (a smal l constructed lake within the Refuge) and a permanent easement would be required for their continued use ( U S F W S 1996). Figure 6 - Hydrology Cultural History For thousands of years, Prair ie Gateway and the Refuge was home to a community of plants and animals which had evolved on the High Pla ins along Co lorado 's Front Range . Vas t herds of bison roamed freely, while bands of pre-historic people moved from place to place following the availability of wild foods. P la ins Indians used fire to drive game out onto the plains and John Fremont (an early explorer) descr ibed his inability to see the mountains when approaching from the east, because of the smoke of plains fires (Woodward 2000). The first nomadic people used the Prair ie Gateway region from 40,000 to 12,000 B . C . and the earliest indigenous people were fol lowed in success ion by the A p a c h e , C o m a n c h e , Ute, A rapahoe , and Northern C h e y e n n e tribal groups ( U S F W S 1996). By the early 1800s, the latter two groups roamed along the Front Range , following the bison herds. T h e s e tribes were part of the Pla ins Indians who lived PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y - Community, History and Prairie on the broad expanse of open land stretching from the Saska tchewan River basin in C a n a d a southward to the R io G rande in Southern T e x a s (Figure 7)(Car lson 1998 p. 3). Wel l -adapted to prairie life, these hunters on horseback made efficient use of b ison, their primary g a m e animal , yielding food, clothing and tools. Ev idence of native tribes exists on the Refuge including stone f lakes from spearheads and knives, fire c racked rocks used for cooking and hammer and grinding s tones ( U S F W S 1996). Figure 7 - Tribal Territories By the 1820s the South Platte River, east of the front range, w a s a well establ ished travel route used by trappers. It took the discovery of workable gold deposi ts in 1858 to spark large sca le migration. The discovery of gold was important to the development of Co lo rado because the new arrivals created a market for farms, ranches and other consumer goods. A s a result of the gold rush, as many as 100 000 individuals c a m e to Co lorado between 1858 and 1860 caus ing the d isp lacement of the Native Amer i cans living in the region ( S W C A 1997). Agriculture spread slowly ac ross the Co lo rado prairie to b e c o m e the most important industry in the state. By the 1930's the Prair ie Ga teway region was the res idence of approximately 200 agrarian famil ies ( U S F W S 1996). O n e of the original homestead sett lements, for example , was located within the northeast quadrant of Sect ion 9 of Prair ie Ga teway ( S W C A 1997). The farm properties on future Refuge land were dotted with a variety of buildings including: houses , barns, garages, a wide variety of sheds to house animals , buildings and structures related to water (windmills, water tanks, towers, pump PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y - Community, History and Prairie houses) , schoo ls , gas stat ions, root cel lars, ch icken houses , outhouses, s i los, milk houses, open water wel ls, bunk houses and coa l sheds ( S W C A Inc. 1997 p. 55). The most popular building material was wood and most farms had severa l f rame buildings. Other materials included red fired brick, cinder block, concrete, and ceramic brick. Many of the houses on the A rsena l were constructed from severa l materials including f rame and stone, brick and f rame, brick and stone, and brick and adobe ( S W C A Inc. 1997 p. 60). Seventy percent of all propert ies on the Arsena l were less than 20 acres in a rea with 40 percent being 5 acres or smal ler ( S W C A Inc 1997 p. 62). Many of the smal ler parcels were the types of operat ions in which "women's" farm work w a s the primary endeavour . Th is included raising ch ickens growing fruit and making honey and c ream ( S W C A Inc. 1997 p. 63). Ear ly homesteaders cooked over open fires, coal or wood stoves, using sagebrush for wood. They grew vegetables such as turnips, carrots, cabbage and sp inach, which require little water. Chi ldren helped out with household chores including cooking, tending garden, taking care of animals, caring for cattle, building fences and digging irrigation di tches (Jones Eddy 1992). Often, men would commute to work in Denver, while w o m e n ran the farms ( S W C A Inc. 1997 p. 62). Parce ls less than 80 acres could not support a family growing wheat or raising cattle but might have provided a living if truck farming or dairying occurred, activities usually engaged by men ( S W C A Inc. 1997 p. 63). Farming and ranching famil ies prospered until the 1890s when a severe and prolonged drought occurred. The Great Depress ion of the 1930s a lso affected agriculture until Wor ld W a r II. In 1942 the famil ies living on the future Refuge property were asked to give up their homes and ranches to the federal government in order to use the site as a federal arsenal to supply armaments for the war. At this t ime, factor ies were constructed by the Army to produce chemica l weapons , and were then used to produce pest ic ides after the war. In the 1950's, a second group of factories was built by the A rmy for the production of nerve gas . The property remained in the exc lus ive control of the U S Army until 1992 when Publ ic Law establ ished the Rocky Mountain A rsena l Nat ional Wildl i fe Refuge ( E D A W 2001). During the period in which the government and chemica l compan ies used the Rocky Mountain A rsena l for munit ions manufacture and pest icide production a substantial amount of the interior portion of the A rsena l property and water resources were ser iously contaminated. Investigation of the extent of the contaminat ion led to the declarat ion of the A rsena l as a Super Fund site. S i nce the 1980's a signif icant amount of funding has been spent on remediating the entire A rsena l . A l though Prair ie Gateway was not used for munit ions or pest ic ide production, the site has been thoroughly investigated to insure that no environmental threats exists ( E D A W 2001). U t l PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y - Community, History and Prairie Prairie Gateway Site Analysis Adjacent land use 72n< Figure 8 - Adjacent Land U s e A c loser look at adjacent land use in C o m m e r c e City reveals the location of several schools along the west boundary of Prairie Gateway. City Hall is located along 60 t h Ave . , which currently does not cross into the site (Figure 8). COMMERCIAL, MIX£P U$£-NOJ^mjAL/C^MMfRClAU P lans for the redevelopment of the former Stapleton airport show the creation of a mixed development with a ser ies of connected open spaces and regional connect ions. The development is intended to accommodate 30 000-35 000 jobs over t ime and approximately 10 000 households. Average density for the entire site is roughly 12 units per acre, sufficient to support reasonable public transit (www.stapletoncorp.com). Essent ial ly, Prair ie Gateway will become a key recreational feature of the new development (Figure 9). Figure 9 - Stapleton Redeve lopment PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y - Community, History and Prairie 10 Finally, a water utility easement of 150 feet in width extends along the western boundary of the Prair ie Ga teway site from 5 6 t h A v e n u e to the South A d a m s Wate r Treatment Facil ity near 7 4 t h Avenue . Accessib i l i ty to this raw water line and prevention of d a m a g e will significantly constrain the type of construction that would be permitted within this easement corridor. Vegetation Figure 10 - Vegetat ion and S u m m e r Habitat U s e Prairie Ga teway is situated within the shortgrass prairie zone of the Great P la ins of North Amer i ca . Prior to intensive agriculture other prairie types also existed within the broad shortgrass prairie zone. Sandy soi ls were often dominated by sandhil l prairie spec ies , s o m e riparian areas had pockets of tal lgrass communit ies, and transition zones of mixed-grass prairie often lay between standard shortgrass prairies and other grassland types (Joern 1995). Most of the Prair ie Gateway site is of the sandhi l ls prairie type ecology. Most significantly, the site contains an approximately 40 acre tract of remnant shortgrass prairie in sect ion 4 (Figure 1 0 ) ( U S F W S 1996). Much of the native vegetation was removed once dryland farming was introduced and was fol lowed by the invasion of many non-native plant spec ies . r~~l weetTt OH tift&nwmir attests 0LUE GRAMA (fAS&LMlQS mm mimw mssums lllvVESr^HWhW^EASS GRASSLAND* I tmm M t i t f W yw www fcm C3 P l ^ D O G HABITAT HI! W"0RNESTA$A5 tomx son jimmn 11 ~ » PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y - Community, History and Prairie Vegetat ion Types (Figure 10) The following list provides a brief explanat ion of the most common vegetat ion types found at Prair ie Gateway: Blue grama grassland (Bouteloua gracilis) This grass land type is found in drier plains where loamy soi ls dominate. Native Blue g rama "heals" disturbed sites and is seen as a resilient plant able to recover from extreme overgrazing, plowing and drought (Butala 2000). Cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) and Weedy Forbs Cheatg rass is an exotic annual and represents about two thirds of the plant cover in this type. It is a winter annual capab le of germinating in the fall. After the snow melts, overgrazed pastures turn green with these annuals , and set seed earlier than competi tors. The pasture turns yel low when s e e d s have matured and plants have died. Th is drought avoiding opportunist was introduced to stop soil eros ion, re-establ ish fodder, restore vegetation cover in a reas that have been ploughed or over-grazed. Principle weedy forbs include field b indweed, musk thistle and prickly lettuce ( U S F W S 1996 p. 24). Crested wheatgrass (Agropyron cristatum) This grass of Euras ian in origin is especia l ly w idespread throughout the northern half of the High Pla ins and is highly valued as cattle fodder and as a soil binder. Prone to co lonize nearby disturbed p laces it is rarely superseded by mixed native vegetat ion once introduced (Bock and Bock cited in Joern 1995 p. 213). Th is grass a lso mines soil of nutrients especia l ly nitrogen while native g rasses replace nitrogen (Butala 2000, p. 76). Disturbed This a rea likely contains weedy forbs, establ ished following land disturbing activity and may be perpetuated by prairie dogs that select ively graze perennial g rasses . C o m m o n spec ies include cheatgrass, b indweed, prickly lettuce and tansy mustard among other annual and biennial forbs ( U S F W S 1996 p. 24). Locust thicket {Robinia neomexicana) In the R M W R early ranchers likely planted the New Mex ico locust around their homes and outbuildings to block harsh snow laden winds. Over the fifty years following the take-over of the farms as part of the arsenal development, the locusts have expanded to from dense thickets and now provide excel lent cover for wildlife spec ies (Woodward 2000). Native Perennial Grassland This type is a remnant of the original g rass lands that have survived or escaped disturbance from farming, grazing and industrial activit ies. SZi PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y - Community, History and Prairie Needle and Threat grassland [Stipa comata) Native grass found on coarser textured soi l , including sandy wind deposi ted soi ls. Red three-awn grassland (Aristida oligantha) Native grass found on coarser textured soi l . Rubber rabbitbrush shrublands (Chrysothamnus nauseosus) This perennial shrub grows 20-40 inches high on dry prairie. It is likely that these areas were establ ished as a result of overgrazing. Rabbi tbrush is not a high quality food source for wildlife except its yel low f lower tops may be lightly grazed in the late fall ( U S F W S 1996 p. 25). Sand dropseed grassland (Sporobolus cryptandrus) This grass is native over much of the U S , emerging from spring to autumn. It is found on sandy wind deposi ted soi ls and its productivity increases with burning (Joern 1995 p. 65). Sand sagebrush shrubland (Artemisia sp.) This plant occurs on sandy upland sites in a reas that possibly escaped ploughing due to the u n s u i t a b l y of the soi ls for farming ( U S F W S 1996 p. 25). Shrub thicket Many of these shrubs were planted as windbreaks. S p e c i e s include Rocky Mountain Juniper, green ash , and Russ ian Ol ive ( U S F W S 1996 p. 26). Tree grove T h e majority of t rees on site were planted near homes teads as windbreaks. C o m m o n spec ies include Siber ian and Amer i can E lm and Cot tonwoods ( U S F W S 1996 p. 26). Genera l ly native spec ies are found along drainage corridors, while non-native trees are found near homestead sites. Western wheatgrass (Agropyron smithii) Native grass found on finer textured soi l . Yucca stand (Yucca glauca) Y u c c a s occur in assoc iat ion with mixed grass land vegetat ion, usually on south facing s lopes in dry condit ions. They are usually found in upland prairies, plains, sandy blowouts (K indscher 1987). PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y - Community, History and Prairie 13 Habitat and Wildlife The Rocky Mountain National Wildl i fe Refuge provides important habitat for more than 300 wildlife spec ies . During the Spr ing, S u m m e r and Fal l seasons Prair ie Gateway provides habitat for Burrowing Owls , raptors, Black-Tai led Prair ie Dogs, and migratory birds including fl ickers, kingbirds, robins, grackles, orioles and a variety of warblers (Figure 10). During winter months the Refuge offers critical habitat for Bald Eag les and other threatened raptors. Numerous trees located within Prair ie Gateway provide roosting sites for eagles, and Ferruginous Hawks. The Prairie Dog colonies provide critically important prey spec ies for these raptors (Figure 11). In addit ion, there are currently about 540 mule deer and 200 white-tailed deer on the Refuge which feed on shrubs, leafy plants and grasses . During the day, they are commonly spotted in wooded areas along streams and irrigation di tches. Historically the Refuge a lso provided habitat for bison and pronghorn antelope ( U S F W S 1996). • I HAWK ROO5T/N0 SUES Figure 11 - Topography and Winter Habitat PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y - Community, History and Prairie 14 Topography and Soils Surface topography on the refuge resulted from river and stream erosion assoc ia ted with the South Platte River and its tributaries. The land shape varies from almost level to gently rolling with s lopes typically less than 3 percent and terrace escarpments with s lopes up to 8 percent (Figure 11). Bresser , the most common soil ser ies on site occurs on sandy wind deposi ted plains. Truckton loamy sand and A s c a l o n sandy loam are two of the other coarse soi ls found on site ( U S F W S 1996). Development Zones Two phases and four development zones were outlined for Prairie Gateway in the E D A W report (Figure 12). Zone 1 - (593.37 ac.) - Land use consis ts of the visitor and educat ion centres, compatible bus iness uses and essent ia l support infrastructure. O p e n s p a c e would be preserved to enhance both recreation, ecological and economic value. Zone 2 - (165.39 ac.) consists of either disturbed lands or non critical habitat that have excel lent frontage for commerc ia l facilit ies or lands that may serve as a buffer or transitional zone between the commerc ia l development and the wildlife refuge. This a rea could potentially contain a community park. Zone 3 - (92.39) Currently, this zone is dominated by the South A d a m s County Wate r Treatment facility. S ince this a rea is in c lose proximity to residential communi t ies within C o m m e r c e City, in the future this location could be used for municipal recreation. Zone 4 - (77.06 ac.) is designated for primarily office and retail commerc ia l activities. Figure 12 PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y - Community, History and Prairie 15 Preliminary Development Strategy nvkonfnentol Research Centet. i ', •' 1 *' lar Qati fa lodge & <Jonf8!6rwe Cerjoi (is AtJfr-.! f i • • froiile Gateway YtsHcx i tnletptelive ^ Center , Figure 13 shows a preliminary site plan for Prair ie Gateway des igned by the E D A W consult ing team. Spatial ly, the site references the notion of the "Bighorn Medic ine Whee l " , a recurring Native Amer ican symbol . Program components of the plan include: "La Gar i ta Lodge and Confe rence Centre, High Pla ins Environmental Educat ion and Resea rch Centre, Prair ie Gateway Visi tor 's Centre, a bus iness and research park, serv ice and commerc ia l development, and a community park. It should be noted that the main entry to Prair ie Gateway is located along the south edge of the site. Figure 13 I PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y - Community, History and Prairie 16 The Prairie Experience T h e following sect ion outl ines human connect ions with prairie l andscapes from a variety of perspect ives derived from art, prose and psychology literature. Many of these ideas relate directly to the Prair ie Ga teway site des ign in addit ion to the site ana lys is information presented in preceding sect ions. Perception of Prairie Grasslands Stage 1. Native Americans Early human inhabitants of the prairies left no physical records of their percept ions of grass land. Their interest was in grass lands not grasses. P re -contact natives had a strong s e n s e of managing the land to enhance the game harvest. They had a profound holistic "circle aesthet ic" which e n c o m p a s s e d the interrelationship of plants, an imals and people and a concern for the management of relationships among the whole (Joern 1995). T h e tribes divided the sac red powers that construct the grass land into earth and heaven , female and male. For all P la ins Indians, the cardinal points on a c o m p a s s and the circle were sac red . The circle, often represented by a stone medic ine whee l , represents natural harmony, the e s s e n c e of unity, and who leness . Life w a s symbol ised by a ser ies of concentr ic c irc les- home, extended family, and the infinite. O n a more literal level, the prairie provided a circular field of vision s ince all points appear equal ly distant on the plains (Rajotte 1998). Stage 2. Coronado Spanish stage T h e Eu ropean exper ience during the 1500s of the prairie l andscape can be understood through the rena issance eyes of the Span ish explorers. C a s t a n e d a writes about his interest in the t rack lessness and durability of the grass lands. He not ices that large group of Indians "left no more trace when they go through than if no one had passed over the plains." He reflects on the need to mark the plains with landmarks and also descr ibes the great herds of b ison that were so huge that no one could count them. Coronado , another Spaniard deve loped the love of open ranges and descr ibed the grass lands as an ocean . T h e explorers noted the difficulty in estimating the d is tance of objects seen on the plains - smal l an imals somet imes appear giant and any object with which the eye is unacquainted usually appears much enlarged. Often the explorers noted how inaccurate ideas were formed in terms of the magnitude and d is tance of surrounding objects and landforms (Thacker 1989 p. 43). Stage 3. The Northern Euro-Americans (18th/19th century) After 1803 when the Louis iana P u r c h a s e was s igned with F rance , large numbers of Amer i cans , particularly fur trappers and traders began entering the region in 17 PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y - Community, History and Prairie search of furs. Travel lers quest ing for the scen ic and the picturesque a lso ventured out into the prairie landscape. Lewis and Clark were the first Amer i cans to express their perception of grass lands in terms of taxonomy as well as add ress the myth of the picturesque. "Nature appears to have exerted herself to beautify the scenery by the variety of f lowers delicately and highly f lavoured raised above the grass which strikes and perfumes the sensat ion , and a m u s e s the mind. . . " (Clark in O lson 1995 p. 32). They perceived the plains as an unattended garden, awaiting the appearance of Eu ropeans to cultivate the land, grow t imber for building and impose a European based regimen (Olson 1995 p. 32). L a n d s c a p e painter Albert Bierstadt (1850s-1870s) painted the plains as picturesque, capturing the "romantic s e n s e of divinity in the landscape. " His paintings show the plains reaching out into indefinite space , with the light showing the "presense of divinity." His painting, The Overland Trail (1871) shows a covered wagon moving into a 'subl ime' sunset, showing the journey to the west as both a physical and religious journey. Divinity is distant, not near at hand like in the Indian belief sys tem (Olson 1995 p. 33). Stage 4. Settlement This era (19 t h and early 2 0 t h century) is about the grass land turning into a "garden and seascape . " The s e a s c a p e reflects a s e n s e of estrangement, a des i re to assimi late the new exper ience of vas tness and empt iness to the actual s e a s c a p e known in Europe. Sett lers and farmers descr ibed the natural garden a s grass land properly converted to domest icated agriculture. T h e garden myth impl ies the promised land because of the area 's apparent suitability for domest ic agriculture. "The untamed garden of the prairie appears as a fal len E d e n , Eden returns when domest ic agriculture c o m e s " (Olson 1995 p. 37). Later writers descr ibe the prairie as a land "notable primarily for its weather which is violent and prolonged, its empt iness which is a lmost frighteningly total and its wind which blows all the t ime in a way to stiffen your hair and rattle the eyes in your head...[but]...for over the segmented circle of earth is domed the biggest sky anywhere which sheds down on range and wheat and summer fallow a light to set a painter wi ld. . .a light pure, g lare less and t ransparen t " (Wal lace S tegner in Thacke r 1989). S i r Franc is Butler writes, "the prairie offers a view so vast that end less s p a c e s e e m s for once to find embodiment and at a single g lance the eye is satiated with immensi ty . . .No ocean of water in the world can vie with its gorgeous sunsets , no sol i tude can equal the lonel iness of the night shadowed prairie; one feels the st i l lness, and hears the s i lence, the wail of the prowling wolf makes the voice of sol i tude audible" (in Thacke r 1989 p. 52). Prair ie dwel lers a lso talk about the int imacy of the smal l s p a c e , hiding in prairie g rasses , as well as exploring hidden di tches and wal lows. "In landscape with no topographical shapes and that consis ts of earth sky, space , light air reduced to s implest e lements and baldest features.. . in this severe austerity, the g rasses , PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y - Community, History and Prairie 18 f lowers and shrubs cla im our attention, attract the eye and assert individual charms" (Thacker 1989). Stage 5 . Westering "Wester ing," a late 2 0 t h century term, is the popular movement of people toward a reas where more land, and more s e n s e of home is poss ib le (Woodward 2000). "The image of the west as a new country where one might embark upon a new life has persisted as a powerful attraction...where there is f reedom to move the p rocess is practically as automatic as that which incl ines a plant toward sunshine," (Davidson and R e e s 1991 in Woodward 2000). A s an example , 1 0 0 -000 Cal i fornians have moved to the Denver a rea in the past 10 years and have "left behind an oas is civil isation propped up by Co lo rado River." Many are search ing for a c c e s s to landscape, trails, parks, nearby nature, access ib le views reaching the horizon, early light and c loudless mornings. They long for "authenticity in the plains"- c lues of p laces that have not been sanit ized or gentrif ied, such as old homestead buildings and persistent vegetat ion surviving long after buildings have been removed (Woodward 2000 p. 6). Connection to Landscape "Anything is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise" (Leopold 1949 in Woodward 2000). Persona l and landscape interactions are the most significant part of an ecologica l aesthet ic and one must exper ience landscape as an active participant, relating to it as a living entity rather than watching it passively. Consequent ly , readily avai lable and frequently used urban natural a reas probably contribute more psychological ly deep , nature based exper iences to the l ives of cit izenry than any other natural area (Bacon in Driver et al 1999). A s a result, Prair ie Ga teway should be des igned to provide an access ib le , susta inable and ecological ly sound nature exper ience for its urban neighbours. T h e colours of the prairie, the browns, reds, umbers, ochres , sep ias and warm greys play a key role in the prairie exper ience and "to appreciate the west means to get over the colour green" (Wal lace Stegner in Woodward 2000). To enhance the ' sense of p lace ' of Prair ie Gateway, it is important to emphas i se the local and natural v isual cues of the prairie in the des ign. In terms of sound , a s e n s e of mystery is created when the acoust ical s p a c e exceeds the visual space . A s e n s e of remoteness or isolation created by shielding from external si tes or sounds can be cons idered a nature dominant exper ience (Bacon in Driver et al 1999). Wi th Prair ie Gateway 's location adjacent to a major urban corridor, it is especia l ly important to shield certain v iews to help enhance the prairie exper ience. Essent ia l ly the des ign for Prair ie Gateway should integrate these notions of the " senses " to maximise the impact of this smal l prairie landscape. PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y - Community, History and Prairie 19 Design Precedents Big Sky-Texas (Kevin Sloan and Max Levy) Big S k y is a plan for a residential development project on 1000 acres of the T e x a s prairie, near Dal las/Fort Worth. The design w a s intended to work in concert with the sweeping prairie, the open sky, and the exper ience of the horizon. S o m e of the design concepts in the development include: • Unbuilt land visual ly b e c o m e s part of the prairie • Fifty feet between properties ensures that the prairie remains a vivid point of reference in every direction • Homesi tes are situated to not block horizon v iews from neighbours • Trai ls are changed to keep beaten down paths from emerging. • Long dr iveways function as "moorings" growing out of tradition of l ikening prairie to ocean . K » • Building guidel ines include simple elemental building forms set at right angles, with heights not exceed ing 2 stories • B reezeways lighten the imprints of buildings and al low for v iews through and around farm buildings • Exterior materials are inspired by the silvery grey colour of sky meeting horizon. Unpainted, corrugated galvanized sheet metal is used for its ability to reflect the changing colour and light of sky. • See ing through houses , buildings and fences emphas i ses the openness of prairie • G r a s s " laps" over the edge of gravel entry roads (Germany, 1999). Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge and Prairie Learning Centre-Des Moines Iowa This 15 square mile national wildlife refuge is located 20 miles east of Des Mo ines Iowa and is being des igned with the goal of restoring the prairie landscape before European sett lement. The emphas is is on research and prairie recovery, and innovative environmental educat ion. Most of the site was agricultural land used for corn, soybean and cattle. S o m e of the relevant des ign and restoration e lements include: • Three and one half mi les of road have been removed, and agricultural dra inage tiles have been plugged or broken. S o m e drainage di tches have been bul ldozed and recontoured to look more natural. • Burns to help grass land recovery are being p lanned. • The entry road immerses visitors into the prairie through its siting below hilltops and hugging contours. • Bui ldings are located within rolling ridges with an emphas i s on horizontality and broad views. • F loor to ceil ing windows show a full v iew of the tall g rass prairie. • Roof s teps blend with landforms. 20 PRAIRIE GATEWAY - Community, History and Prairie • Plant ings are low and long, and interpretive stat ions are low and unobtrusive to the visitor's v isual exper ience. • The visitor's centre includes a constructed wet land for wastewater t r e a t m e n t , ^ geothermal energy, and recycled materials for insulation. • Educat ional programs instil an appreciat ion and understanding of native ecosys tems, encourage participation in s e e d col lection and stewardship projects of prairie remnants off site, and finally promote the creation of prairie gardens at home. • Trai ls on site include 4 hiking trails, 2 through tal lgrass prairie (2 mi) each with exhibits at the beginning and along all trails (White 1999). Design Principles The overlay analys is and review of phenomenolog ica l interpretation of prairie has lead to the development of a ser ies of des ign principles address ing var ious aspec ts of the Prair ie Ga teway design-spat ia l , des ign detail, and program components . T h e s e principles are the "building b locks" of the des ign and recur throughout at a variety of sca les from the planning level to the detai led des ign sca le . Spatial Design Principles The organisat ion and "spatial logic" of the des ign are based on the concept of connection- connect ion to community, connect ion to history, and connect ion to prairie exper ience. S ince the site has been fenced off from the community for over 50 years , a key aspect of the des ign is reintegrating the refuge and Prair ie Ga teway into the col lective consc iousness of adjacent communi t ies. Connect ion to Communi ty In terms of connect ion to community, three des ign principles address this concept. The first is "knitting together the urban fabric". Th is principle entails the re-establ ishment of c ross connect ions ac ross the site. Connect ions between C o m m e r c e City and the new Stapleton development, between local schoo ls and the prairie preserve, between City Hall and Prair ie Gateway, and between adjacent C o m m e r c e City residents and trails leading out into the 27 square mile prairie preserve (Figure 14). The second principle is about "bringing the prairie in". Th is entails removing fences and allowing the prairie landscape to physical ly reconnect with the community. By moving the 7 foot chain link fence that currently surrounds the refuge, visitors will get a better s e n s e of crossing into the prairie and being surrounded by the recovering landscape and abundant wildlife (Figure 15). PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y - Community, History and Prairie 21 The third principle relates to the Native Amer i can notion of the sacred or "healing circle." The circle represents the interconnection of all aspec ts of nature and humans and is reflected in a variety of symbols in tribal culture. Camps i t es , ceremonies and festivals of the Arapaho , C h e y e n n e and Ute Indians were organised around the circle pattern. T h e recovery and restoration of the Prair ie Gateway and wildlife refuge is reflected in this principle of the healing circle (Figure 16). Connect ion to History A key aspect of the Prair ie Gateway des ign is the connect ion to history, especia l ly to the farming history of the prairie over the past 100 years . T h e homestead history of the Great P la ins is important in terms of understanding the present patterns of urbanisation and development surrounding the Prair ie Gateway. A ser ies of principles of spatial patterns relating to the homes tead exper ience help to further define a s e n s e of p lace and unique character in the Prair ie Ga teway des ign. The first principle relates to the "divided and measured landscape" (Figure 17). Th is concept refers to the super imposi t ion of the grid landscape on the Amer i can W e s t by the land surveyors of the National Land Survey in the late 1800s. T o regulate the sa le of land, a system of division was organised around 36 square mile townships, def ined by a square 6 miles by 6 mi les. T h e s e in turn were divided into 1 square mile sect ions. T o make smal ler parcels avai lable to more people, sect ions were div ided; first into half sect ions, then quarter sect ions, half quarter and quarter quarters (40 acres)(Corner, p. 31). Today, tree plantings, fence rows and other c lues hint at the homestead patterns that existed on the Prair ie Gateway site over 50 years ago. The principle of the divided and measured landscape attempts to explore these land patterns and interpret the idea of the measured landscape to current day site visitors. Th is principle is intended to enrich the design in terms of helping people understand why their "p lace" is organised the way it is. PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y - Community, History and Prairie 22 Another key connect ion to history is through the principle of the "homestead compound" (Figure 18). Th is principle reflects the pattern of the sheltered yard, the rectil inear organisat ion of outbuildings, the relationship of house to road and homestead compound to the expans ive prairie beyond. T h e southern exposure of the house was usually shaded by cottonwoods, blue spruce seedl ings were planted to buffer winter winds as w indscreen on north s ide, and plants such as l i lacs, were settler's links to their past homes (Woodward 2000). The "rectil inear pattern of roads, f ields and edges" reflect the divided and measured landscape of the National Land Survey. Th is principle is reflected in the Prair ie Ga teway design in terms of road des ign along previous trails and roads, as well as in terms of creating edges between the var ious program components (Figure 19). The principle of "protective hedgerows" reflects the spatial and functional aspec ts of the protective windbreaks that were planted by settlers general ly along northern edges to shelter homesteads from the prevail ing north winds. This principle is reflected in roadside planting concepts and site speci f ic a reas in terms of wind protection and shade on the Prair ie Ga teway site (Figure 20). Plant ing of a large tree on the south east corner of the home site w a s a common practice of settlers to protect and shade the building. Connec t ion to Prair ie The principles related to connect ion to prairie attempt to address the experiential or phenomenolog ica l characterist ics of the prairie grass lands that are key in helping to create a direct exper ience between people and the landscape. T h e s e principles help to emphas ise both the grand and smal l sca le detai ls unique to the prairie landscape- f rom big sky to subtle textures and colours in the g rasses and forbs. The first principle of "blocked v iews of development" is intended to help immerse the visitor in the prairie exper ience and buffer the distractions of bui ldings, industry and traffic. Through the creation of berms and depress ions in the landscape, many of the des igned outdoor s p a c e s in various areas al low visitors to better focus on the prairie exper ience, rather than on the urbanising edges of the Prair ie Ga teway site (Figure 21). PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y - Community, History and Prairie 23 In addit ion to blocking views of development , the principle of "the prairie surrounds" (Figure 22) emphas i ses the notion of being immersed in the prairie landscape. Des ign examples include a depressed grass land bowl, or a prairie patio sunken severa l feet to al low for a more intimate exper ience of the immediate prairie. Th is principle, " t ransparency to hor izon" (Figure 23) descr ibes the notion of maximising for v iews out to the horizon. Bui ldings are oriented to allow for v iews out to the prairie, b reezeways and large windows create a s e n s e of t ransparency, which helps to emphas i se the sky/hor izon quality of the open prairie. The overall effect of Prair ie Gateway is to emphas i se the landscape and de -emphas ise the built form. Design Detail Principles ..... . In addition to spatial design logic, a ser ies of des ign detail , . . principles help to order the Prair ie Ga teway des ign at a more refined sca le . "S imple elemental forms," reflecting the functional and practical aspects of living in the prairie cl imate | 1 are used in structures, fencing and other built components . \ 1 I—-I The key idea is emphas is ing the texture and colour of materials while minimising ornamentat ion and superf luous •>•••"• V detail. Built forms are intended to highlight the prairie, and should blend together with the prairie palette (Figure 24). O n e feature of traditional prairie architecture is the "overhanging roo f . Th is feature protects from wind, sun and rain. The veranda or porch are typically found in farmhouse/barn architecture and are featured in the Prair ie Ga teway des ign (Figure 25). The use of traditional materials from the homestead era is a key principle in the detai led design of Prair ie Gateway. Mater ials such as corrugated metal , local stone, brick, wooden planks and t russes used in a contemporary des ign style echo the past, while at the s a m e time reflect the new integration of prairie with the modern city (Figure 26). PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y - Community, History and Prairie 24 Figure 26 - Material Palette Plant ings of Cot tonwoods, rabbitbrush and prairie g rasses emphas ise the use of native plants and the ornamental qualit ies of local and site appropriate plant material (Figure 27). • W W Figure 27 - Vegetat ion Palette 25 J S I PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y - Community, History and Prairie Program Principles The Prair ie Gateway des ign is based on several genera l program principles. Figure 28 shows the Crys ler 's farm, which was taken over by the Army Arsena l in 1942. The first, "the working l andscape" is intended to demonstrate to visitors how the prairie l andscape has been used for centur ies from the native Amer i cans to the homes tead settlers. In the des ign for the H o m e s t e a d Lodge, for example , a large vegetable garden provides most of the produce required by the kitchen. The garden also provides visitors with an access ib le , hands-on opportunity to participate in working the land and understanding the connect ions between land and communi ty . The des ign for the Prair ie Ga teway is a lso based on the concept of susta inable sys tems- in terms of water, waste and energy. Th is means that all facil i t ies incorporate solar aquatic sys tems for treating wastewater. Compos t i ng toilets, as well as swales and retention a reas handle stormwater. R o a d sur faces are permeable where poss ib le , minimal paving is used and non-motor ised circulation is emphas i sed . So la r and pass ive heating/cooling is incorporated into all designs (Figure 29). The third program principle is that Prairie Gateway is an "interpretive and recreational landscape" (Figure 30). This means that trails provide connect ions for cycl ists, pedestr ians to circulate through the site and connect with other local and regional greenways. Essent ia l ly, Prairie Ga teway is intended to provide people with an opportunity to easi ly explore the adjacent prairie in terms of wildlife viewing, recreation and understanding both cultural and natural p rocesses of the a rea . Figure 29 - Susta inab le Sys tem Figure 30 - Recreat ion 26 PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y - Community, History and Prairie Design Concept The overall des ign concept for Prair ie Ga teway is illustrated in Figure 31 and is based on 3 key spatial principles. "Knitting together the urban fabric", "bringing the prairie in" and "divided and measured landscape" . The des ign focuses on sect ion 9- the one square mile of the Prair ie Gateway site. The remainder of the site (the north arm) is designated as a prairie preserve to be used for pass ive recreation and wildlife study. Figure 31 - Design Concep t on 1937 air photo w wucxnoMrCtmz-GR6ENWAY TRAIU VM CNIC PARK. BE HOH&i&oiooa OLD HOMKrTEAP Figure 32 - Zoning and Concep t Si te P lan i l l PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y 27 Community, History and Prairie Circulation and Edges In terms of "knitting together the urban fabric", major a c c e s s points are located at central nodes along each edge of the site through greenways, trai lheads, or road a c c e s s . A key feature of the site des ign is the entrance to Prair ie Gateway. The main entry is a c c e s s e d at the terminus of Eas t 6 0 t h A v e n u e which creates a physical and cognit ive connect ion between the C o m m e r c e City - City Hall and the Prair ie Ga teway property. S ince C o m m e r c e City intends for Prair ie Gateway to be a key feature of the community, it is important for the entry to connect the two areas . Th is entry axis a lso lies along the quarter sect ion division line of the square mile and provides a pedestr ian l inkage between C o m m e r c e City and the future Stapleton development east of Prair ie Gateway (Figure 31). The north south greenway trail forms part of the regional network of trails and is part of the perimeter trail of the wildlife refuge. Other features include the dike trails connect ing the south east corner of the site to the regional trail sys tem. The south east corner is the "highest point" topographical ly on the site and functions as an orientation point for visitors arriving from the airport. A trail head with introductory s ignage and a parking area we lcome visitors to Prairie Gateway. S ignage indicates the location of the visitor's centre and entry points to the wildlife refuge. The dike trails are al igned adjacent to historic drainage di tches and s ignage explains the importance of water in the dry prairie landscape. The runway concept (Figure 33) references a former runway from the old Stapleton airport. This road with plantings suggest ing a chevron pattern leads the eye beyond the paved portion out into the prairie landscape. A parking area and interpretive s ignage functions as a trai lhead connect ing the bus iness park, Stapleton and Prair ie Gateway to the wildlife refuge beyond. Site Structure T h e principle of "bringing the prairie in" is illustrated in Figure 15. Fenc ing between the refuge and Prair ie Ga teway is oriented to al low for free a c c e s s of wildlife into the heart of the site. Visi tors a lso pass out into the refuge landscape from the educat ional centre or homestead lodge without crossing through a physical barrier. By "bringing the prairie in" the physical and cognitive connect ion between C o m m e r c e City and the wildlife refuge is further strengthened. Figure 31 is an historic air photo from 1937. The pattern of "divided and measured landscape" is clearly visible in terms of the homestead sites. This d i 28 !2fl PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y Community, History and Prairie pattern is referenced in the proposed site design in terms of spatial layout, road siting and planting des ign. Zoning and Program Figure 32 illustrates the different program areas of the site. The following ac reages are based on program options suggested in the E D A W feasibility report: 120 acres for a civic park and sports complex, 20 acres for an environmental educat ion centre, 15 acres for a lodge retreat, 60 acres for a bus iness park showcas ing green technologies and 20 acres for retail development including nature based and outdoor equipment types of stores related to the Wildl i fe Refuge. City Park B a s e d on the local demand for a variety of both pass ive and active recreational serv ices a demand exists for a community park ( E D A W 2001). Program The civic park (Figure 34) is intended to function as the main open s p a c e and recreational facility for C o m m e r c e City residents. A football f ield, two basebal l f ields, two socce r f ields, five outdoor basketbal l courts and 6 outdoor tennis courts provide a mix of recreational opportunities for adjacent communi t ies. A n aquat ic centre with a f i tness gym are located as a central feature of the park. V iewing stands surrounding the basketbal l courts provide a venue for both players and spectators. Park ing is provided on site in lots as well as along gravel a reas f lanking severa l of the playing f ields. Park ing a long the field was a c o m m o n practice in many prairie towns and creates a s e n s e of "rally" in Prair ie Gateway. In addit ion, gravel parking areas function well in terms of infiltration of storm water. The Prair ie Ga teway main entry is located at the south edge of the park at 6 0 t h and Q u e b e c St. A public market f lanks the south s ide while the Visi tor 's Centre f lanks the north s ide of 6 0 t h . It has been determined that the visitor's centre can expect approximately 100,000 visitors per annum, requiring an 11,148 square foot facility. Y e a r round visitation to the Prair ie Ga teway Visi tor Cent re should benefit from many market factors. T h e s e include: diversity of year round, high quality wildlife attractions; proximity to a population of more than 3 million people who reside within a one hour or less travel d is tance to the site; and a schoo l populat ion of more than a half a million people which can combine recreational and educat ional pursuits at the site; ( E D A W 2001). T h e Visi tor 's Centre acts as a key indoor community gathering space , while the adjacent amphitheatre provides an excel lent outdoor venue for cultural events. The Cent re provides visitors with an orientation to the wildlife refuge, as well as to the recreational opportunit ies in the refuge and Prair ie Gateway. Exhibit s p a c e s presenting the cultural and natural history of the refuge and Prair ie 25 PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y Community, History and Prairie Gateway provide hands on opportunit ies for exploring the site indoors. Refuge staff are on site to answer quest ions as well as to conduct live demonstrat ions and screen fi lms in a 175 seat theatre. The Centre a lso provides an opportunity to showcase both the past and present Native Indian cultures connected to Prair ie Gateway and the Refuge . Storytell ing, evening star gaz ing programs, dance and drum ceremon ies , and native art exhibit ions are integral aspec ts of programming at the Centre . The grounds surrounding the Visitor 's Centre contain severa l large picnic a reas , an outdoor chi ldren's play a rea , an exhibit on prairie grass land plants and an outdoor cafe. A large amphitheatre is a short walk through a sculpted landscape (Figure X X ) which interprets the concept of how exposure and aspect inf luence grass land spec ies . Var ious patterns of g rasses result in the dips and high points of the bermed areas surrounding the amphitheatre. T h e Visi tors' Centre is intended to introduce people to the cultural and natural history of the region and encourage people to further explore the areas on site by foot, by bicycle or by tram. Gu ided tours and bike rentals are a lso avai lable at the Centre. A wheelchai r access ib le tram stops outside the Cent re and shutt les visitors to key stops of interest inside the refuge. The tram runs every 15 minutes during peak s e a s o n al lowing for visitors to plan their stay according to their level of interest and time avai lable. Visi tors are able to explore refuge trails and interpretive e lements at their leisure. Site Structure Spatial ly the park references the des ign principle of "divided and measured landscape" . The playing f ields, roads and trails are oriented to emphas ise the spatial division of land down to the 10 acre sca le . T h e Refuge perimeter greenway trail, for examp le divides the park into 10 acre sect ions with the more formal playing fields a long the west s ide and the old homestead sites "returning to prairie" along the east s ide. The homestead si tes offer visitors an opportunity to look for t races of the agricultural past of Prair ie Ga teway including plantings, old building foundat ions, fence posts etc. This sect ion of the park functions as a transition zone between the sports field complex and the wildlife refuge in terms of program- moving from active to pass ive recreation. S ignage and hands-on exhibits animate severa l of the interpretive stat ions in this zone . PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y Community, History and Prairie 30 it 3 1 g l PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y Community, History and Prairie Park Planting and Circulation Concept The planting and circulation concept for the park reference the des ign principle of "divided and measured landscape," ( Figure 35). The main entry road ( 6 0 h Avenue) to Prair ie Gateway is f lanked by a double row of Cot tonwoods on each side of the 2- lane road. The double row del ineates the central division of the site into four 160 acre quarter sect ions. Bike lanes (4' wide) are provided along each side of the street and the crowned road drains to swales along each s ide of the road, separat ing the pedestr ian corridor and roadway (Figure 35). Figure 36 - Main entry (0 1 PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y Community, History and Prairie 32 The 1/16 sect ion road is f lanked by a single row of Cot tonwoods on each side of the street, again with two lanes and two bike lanes. The single rows reference the next level down in terms of land division into 40 acre parcels (Figure 37). Figure 37 - 1/16 t h sect ion road (2) A cycl ing/pedestr ian trail marks the next division into 20 acre parcels (Figure 38). A single row of Cot tonwoods line the north s ide of the paved trail acting as a windbreak. T h e s e trails provide a c c e s s to the old homestead sites and interpretive stations. Figure 38 - 20 acre division (3) The sect ion across Q u e b e c Street (Figure 39) shows a new road al ignment with four lanes instead of two. A prairie g rass swale in the centre separates the lanes, "brings the prairie in" to the urban landscape and provides sewer-free road dra inage. Bike lanes along each s ide of the road and separated s idewalks help to create a more "people friendly" street. The addit ional 50' needed for the new road al ignment can be accommodated on Prair ie Gateway land and the South 33 PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y Community, History and Prairie A d a m s County Water line right of way. A 20 ' buffer would remain between the s idewalk and the water main if 50 ' of the 90' R O W were used . . Figure 39 - Sect ion of Q u e b e c Street (4) Figure 40 shows a sect ion ac ross the trail leading to the centre of the mile sect ion. Th is trail connects the main entry to Prair ie Ga teway with the Stapleton redevelopment project. A 78" fence is intended to keep deer within the refuge and d iscourage off-road motorised vehicle use. Trees are absent here in order to accentuate the feeling of the open prairie beyond. Figure 40 - Trail to Site Centre Prairie Edge - Program and Concept Program Educat ional Centre and Eag le Reposi tory S ince 1993 the Rocky Mountain A rsena l Wildl i fe Refuge has offered a variety of environmental educat ion opportunit ies to diverse populat ion groups. T h e s e groups have included public schoo l chi ldren, col lege and university students, and a large variety of specia l interest organisat ions. The Refuge has a lso played an 34 PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y Community, History and Prairie important role in nationally significant environmental research including studies of raptors, environmental restoration techniques, and wildlife and range management pract ices. To further deve lop the research and educat ional profile of the Refuge , it has been proposed that a new educat ional facility (16, 893 square feet) be constructed immediately adjacent to the refuge on Prair ie Ga teway land to serv ice the diverse spectrum of user groups ( E D A W 2001). In contrast with many other refuges and outdoor educat ion venues , environmental educat ion activities at Prair ie Ga teway will enjoy year round use. The Educat iona l Centre contains lab facil it ies, c lassrooms, smal l theatre, exhibits related to the eco logy and cultural history of the Refuge, research outbui ldings, a library, and cafeter ia. Outdoor learning areas , interpretive exhibits and research plots are situated around the Centre. A n injured bird centre and eag le repository are located adjacent to the educat ional centre. Th is facility provides care to injured birds found both in the city as well as on Refuge land. Vis i tors are encouraged to v iew the birds and learn about the hazards of deve lopment on these spec ies . In addit ion, this facility contains the National Eag le Reposi tory, an exist ing feature of the Refuge. The repository was establ ished to provide Native A m e r i c a n s with the feathers of golden and bald eag les to use for religious purposes and cultural purposes, including heal ing, marriage, and naming ceremon ies (U .S F ish & Wildl i fe Serv ice) . Historically, bald and golden eag les typified courage needed for s u c c e s s at war. Eag les were cons idered as sacred representat ives of the spirit beings. Tr ibes prayed to eag les and used their feathers and bodies in ceremonies , in decorat ions and in symbol ic reference to success fu l raids, hunts, wars (Car lson, 1998). Homes tead Lodge The Homes tead Lodge is des igned to appea l to guests who are looking for a different hospitality exper ience. The facility will compete with boutique hotels and nature lodges located outside urban areas . The target market inc ludes bus iness people looking for a spec ia l p lace to stay, nature-oriented tourists pass ing through the a rea , and famil ies who c o m e to the Rocky Mountain A rsena l Wildl i fe Refuge as a destination in itself. The Homes tead Lodge serves a meet ing and conferencing cl ientele interested in a natural, rural setting c lose to the airport and the metropoli tan region. The Lodge provides easy a c c e s s and compat ib le meeting needs assoc ia ted with the bus iness , research, educat ional , and recreation facil it ies located in Prair ie Gateway. Site Structure This z o n e references four spatial des ign principles, "rectil inear pattern of roads, f ields and edges" , "bringing the prairie in", "divided and measured landscape" and the "heal ing circle". The a c c e s s roads and entries reference the former fence l ines and property l ines of the old farms and homesteads . T h e north/south orientation of the entry roads emphas i se v iews out to the Refuge, reinforcing the concept of "bringing the prairie in" and the directionality of the "heal ing circle". Th is program z o n e is located within the Refuge fence allowing for deer and other d i 35 W PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y Community, History and Prairie wildlife to roam through these areas providing visitors with potential wildlife viewing opportunities (Figure 41). E» cenrtt N ""few. AaeawftawfiE. w ' ; on w , . S 3 Hum | I C£*TW I Figure 41 - Educat ional Centre and Lodge Site P lan The entry road to the Homes tead Lodge provides a c c e s s to the trail running ac ross the site to the site centre and out to the bus iness park. The site centre (Figure 42) is a c rossroads for the north/south and east west trails crossing Prair ie Gateway. Tin Figure 42 - Centre of Square Mile Note cattle grate cross ing at north edge of c rossroad. Figure 43 - Stone Marker at Si te Centre 36 PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y Community, History and Prairie At the centre, is a stone marker engraved with the number "640" referencing the 640 acres which compose the 1 mile sect ion of Prair ie Gateway (Figure 43). The idea here is to reintroduce people to the "measured landscape" of the Amer ican W e s t - a key concept that has influenced the development of urban landscapes across the United States. Finally, Figure 44 shows the relationship between the Refuge fence and the site centre. Pedest r ians are able to a c c e s s the refuge by crossing the cattle grate opening in the deer fence. The grate prevents wildlife from entering urban areas , while allowing people to a c c e s s the Refuge perimeter trail (Figure 45). Figure 44 - Refuge Per imeter Fence Fence cross ings can be c losed at night to prevent vandal ism inside the Refuge. Al l vehicle a c c e s s into the Refuge is controlled through the entry gate at the Educat ional Centre and pedestr ian trail a c c e s s can be visually monitored from the centre. Figure 45 - Catt le Grate Cross ing Homestead Lodge - Program and Site plan Program The Homestead Lodge is intended to provide up to 150 guests with sense of getting back to the prairie. The site is a working landscape and is des igned to be as susta inable as possib le (design principle -"self contained system"). P roduce used in the kitchen is produced on-site in a large vegetable garden. A chicken coop, smal l orchard and crop field a lso provide addit ional food. Al l wastewater is purified and recycled in a solar aquatic treatment facility and solar panels are used to heat water. Bui ldings are oriented to maximise solar gain for heating and &| 3 7 ESJ PRAIRIE GATEWAY Community, History and Prairie lighting purposes. R o a d s and pathways are sur faced with permeable materials to maximise dra inage on site, while all rooftop water is col lected and used for irrigation in the garden. Overf low parking occurs along gravel road edges , al lowing for water infiltration and the main parking lot is des igned to drain into adjacent swa les . Gues ts are encouraged to assist staff in tending the garden, helping in the kitchen, g reenhouse etc. The concept of ' t ransparency' of sys tems (both manua l and technical) is key in terms of encouraging people to participate in the prairie exper ience as well as in living sustainably. Part of the un iqueness of staying at the Homes tead Lodge is its participatory nature. In addition to attending meet ings and conferences, guests can take part in numerous programs offered by Lodge staff including gardening, horticulture, craft seminars , cooking demonstrat ions, and green design lectures. Gu ided walks through the Refuge, bike tours and other types of programs can provide seasona l variation in Lodge programming. A s a u n a retreat, cab ins and bunkhouses, outdoor amphitheatre, g reenhouse patio, swimming pool, and prairie bar are s o m e of the key program features explored in des ign drawings in this project (Figure 46). Site Structure The des ign principle "bringing the prairie in" is one of the key spatial patterns in the Homes tead Lodge des ign. The front of the Lodge faces the open prairie and the Native Amer i can notion of the 'round prairie' is emphas ised through the patio interface between the Lodge and prairie. The open prairie f lows in past the lodge into the cabin and bunkhouse area. Spatial ly, the organisat ion of the site reflects "the homestead compound" with outbuildings situated around a central work space /garden . The edges of the Lodge are planted with "protective hedgerows", another key des ign principle for Prair ie Gateway. Rect i l inear roads and pathways reflect the typical siting patterns found in farmed prairie landscapes . A trail from the Lodge leads out through a 4 ' berm and into the Refuge and the main entry road b e c o m e s a double track in the grass as it moves out into the prairie. PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y Community, History and Prairie 38 Figure 46 - The Homes tead Lodge Site P lan Program areas include: The Prair ie Bar, Work ing G a r d e n , S a u n a Retreat, Cab ins and Bunkhouses , Grass land Bowl , G r e e n h o u s e Pat io, Swimming Poo l , work areas and a ch icken coop. PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y - Community, History and Prairie 3 9 The following sect ions descr ibe in more detail the key program e lements at the Homestead Lodge. Prairie bar Program The prairie bar is a sunken outdoor patio located on the north s ide of the Lodge (Figure 47). The bar, opening out from a meeting room and dining area, is used for outdoor dining, as well as for coffee breaks during meet ings. Seat ing for approximately 90 people is provided- including 22 bar stools. Pathways lead out into the Refuge as well as to the Grass land Bowl . &£RM TO tlO(A VIWS Of CITY [ j Figure 47 - The Prair ie Bar in P lan Figure 48 - Prair ie Bar Sect ion Figure 48 is a sect ion through the bar. The prairie s lopes down to the bar, providing visitors with a 'prairie dog ' eye level view of the del icate patterns of prairie g rasses . The s lope is intended to block out v iews of C o m m e r c e City while visitors gaze out into the Refuge from the Prair ie Bar. A smal l infiltration trench is embedded at the bar's edge to prevent runoff from flooding the patio. PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y - Community, History and Prairie 40 Design Pr incip les The des ign principles of "the prairie f lowing in" as well as "blocked v iews of development" are evident in this des ign detail . The prairie essent ial ly surrounds and immerses the north s ide of the Lodge providing visitors with a more focused view of the prairie landscape. A 6' high berm is gradually s loped over 80 ' to provide a subtle sc reen of distant development. Grassland Bowl Program The Grass land Bowl is located severa l minute's walk from the Lodge. It is intended as campfire/stargazing venue immersed in the prairie. The bowl is a c c e s s e d through a spirall ing ramp (5% grade) with seat ing on stone wal ls with wooden planks. Access ib le seat ing is located on the end of each of the three step levels (Figure 49). A stone campfire ring is centrally located and is surrounded by moveable wooden benches to accommodate for var ious group s izes . Figure 49 - Sect ion of Grass land Bowl Backrests can be inserted into the s tepped seat ing and can be adjusted to recline for night t ime star gazing programs (Figure 50). Figure 50 - Backrests for Stargazing Design Pr incip les The grass land bowl is surrounded by a 6' high berm to create a s e n s e of "the prairie surrounds." Visi tors are immersed in the prairie, and views of C o m m e r c e City development are b locked. The campfire circle is intended to evoke the notion of the "healing circle" of Native Amer i can culture. From the Lodge, the night t ime view out to the campfire in the grass land bowl looks as if the prairie is PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y - Community, History and Prairie 41 aglow. Th is is intended to reference the Indian campsi tes that were once found across the Amer i can prairie in prime bison hunting grounds. Cabins and Bunkhouse Program The cab ins and bunkhouse offer an alternative to staying in one of the 30 rooms within the Lodge. 10 cab ins (5 in each of the two areas) offer a rustic option for up to four people per cabin. Two bunkhouses, (20' by 30 ' building) provide bunk bed accommodat ions for groups of up to 15 people. Scout or school groups, associat ions or c lubs can use these facilit ies for more private gatherings or retreats. A central "sundial and seat ing" s p a c e is des igned to demonstrate the changing shadow pattern of the sun , in addit ion to providing a central gathering s p a c e for groups. Seat ing rocks, arranged in a circle are organised to def ine the sundial clock. Other features include a "two holer" compost ing outhouse (a key characterist ic of old prairie farms) and a shady gazebo with a bench swing (Figure 51). Figure 51 - P lan of Cab ins and Bunkhouse A r e a PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y - Community, History and Prairie 42 Design Pr inciples The cab ins are sited to reference the design principle of the "homestead compound" with bui ldings oriented around a central space . A double row of cot tonwoods surrounds the cab ins providing wind protection and shade. The historic pattern of planting a tree along the south east corner of the house to provide shade is used in the des ign. In terms of architecture, the cabins are des igned with "overhanging roofs" and porches, typical features of prairie buildings. The cabins (12' X 14') were s ized to reference the 1862 Homestead Ac t that required settlers to erect a house of at least twelve by fourteen in order to legally claim their homestead land (Michener 1974, pg. 750). W o o d , stone and sod were used to construct these cabins and these materials are used in the construction of the cab ins at the Homestead Lodge. Corrugated metal, wooden shingles, wooden doors, and muted colours are typical features of these buildings (Figure 52). Working garden Program Figure 53 is a plan of the program areas behind the Homes tead Lodge. Most activities occur behind (south of) the Lodge, sheltered from the north prairie winds, while receiving direct sunsh ine. The garden area is bounded by 2 g reenhouses- the solar aquat ic water treatment facility and the working PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y - Community, History and Prairie 43 greenhouse and garden patio. A serv ice vehicle gravel roadway borders the south edge. The floor plan and internal program of the Lodge was des igned to address the outdoor program of the garden area. For example , the kitchen is located adjacent to the vegetable garden plots, and the spa and gym opens directly out to the lower pool patio a rea . A seating wall facing the meeting room provides a outdoor s p a c e for guests to spend a quick break between conference or lectures proceedings. The central breezeway of the Lodge opens out to the main axis through the garden and out to the sauna retreat. The numbered photos provide examples of the character of the different program areas. Des ign Pr incip les The organisat ion of the garden references the design principles of "rectilinear roads and edges" as well as the "homestead compound" . The location of the outbuildings and g reenhouses creates an enc losed , bordered garden space , while the rectil inear paths and edges create an ordered, soothing landscape, representing traditional agricultural prairie landscapes. PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y - Community, History and Prairie 44 Garden patio Program The Garden Pat io provides a semi-shel tered s p a c e for about 40 people. A stone barbeque creates the main focal point of the space , a common feature of many farms on the prairie. Sl iding g lass doors on two s ides of the greenhouse can be opened connect ing a smal l dance floor to the seat ing areas. Grey slate ti les, accented with pale ochre accent tiles del ineate the space . A 3' stone wall spatially separa tes the patio from the garden, while filtered views out to the prairie are maintained (Figure 54). The square configuration of the patio again reflects the notion of "rectil inear roads and edges" . W a s h r o o m s are located in the greenhouse for patio users as well as for guests staying in the cabins and bunkhouses. Figure 54 also shows the gateway gazebo which marks the paths leading to the cabin areas. Figure 54 - Ga rden Pat io PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y - Community, History and Prairie 45 Sauna Retreat Program The sauna des ign provides a quiet retreat from the activities around the Lodge. The sunny patio creates a quiet space for severa l people to play cards, read or enjoy a cool drink. A trellis creates a shady patio, with tables, chairs and recl iners for reading and relaxing (Figure 55). Figure 55 - P lan of S a u n a Retreat CHANGE The floor plan of the dry sauna (Figure 56) shows two change rooms, wooden benches , stone tile and the electrically heated stone rocks. The s a u n a would most likely be used in the fall and winter, while the outdoor seat ing areas would be used in spring and summer months. o Figure 56 - S a u n a Interior SSI PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y - Community, History and Prairie 46 Pool Program The garden pool is a two level pool with a lower patio and upper patio connected by a ramp. Figure 57 shows the spatial relationship between the raised garden beds, the plots and seat ing areas . A water pump drinking fountain acts as a focal point in the garden providing both a functional as well as aesthet ic feature in the central seat ing areas . Th is drawing also illustrates the incoming and outgoing water sys tems connected to the solar aquatic facility. Al l water on site- is either infiltrated or col lected and recycled for irrigation or other uses . r'XtTiNti R O O M SPA L A J r. ...... ,"i L A J l A j -Figure 57 - P lan of Poo l A r e a The solar aquat ic facility is a 30 ' by 80' building based on calculat ions for wastewater generat ion for 150 people for 1 year (Figure 58). The greenhouse can process up to 4800 gal lons per day of raw septage or 32 gal lons per person per day (Spencer 1990). Th is figure is low because of the water saving appl iances, compost ing toilets and other features incorporated in the des ign. Separa te storage tanks are used to store processed water as well as incoming water when facility capacity is reached. i l l 47 PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y - Community, History and Prairie Figure 58 - Diagram of So lar Aquat ic Treatment Sys tem Waterfall and seating bench Program Figure 59 shows the lower patio level by the pool and the shaded seat ing area. The pool with a 17" water wall has been des igned to maximise wheelchai r accessibi l i ty as well as add an interesting feature to the patio. A s shown in the drawing, a wheelchair user simply transfers onto the cushion on the pool deck, pivots and enters the pool. The corner of the pool a lso al lows users to easi ly push themselves up and out of the pool back onto the deck. Severa l tables and chairs, as well as recliners provide flexible seat ing. The shade pavil ion has adjustable louvers which can be manipulated by a crank to maximise shade on hot sunny days. The drawing a lso shows the drinking fountain in more detail as a key design feature of the central seat ing area . Figure 60 (Sect ion A on Figure 57) shows the relationship between the pool and the vegetable garden. T h e seat ing wal l , which separa tes the upper pool deck and the garden, provides a sunny spot to take a quick break while working in the garden. Figure 60 - Poo l and Ga rden Spatial Relat ionship The stone retaining wal ls, wood and metal shade structures, exposed aggregate pavers, slate tiles, wood furniture and wood and stone benches reflect the materials traditionally used on the prairie landscape. T h e warm greys, muted yel lows and browns emphas i se the natural colours of the prairie landscape. The plantings around the pool include Rubber rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus nauseousus), S a n d cherry [Prunus besseyi), New Mex ico Locust (Robinia neomexicana) and Fr inged sage (Artemesia figida). Elevation from Garden Figure 61 (Sect ion/Elevat ion B, Figure 57) shows the view from the garden looking back towards the Lodge. The sect ion/elevat ion shows the access ib le raised beds in the garden and a work table which can be folded up to allow for e a s y a c c e s s around the edge beds. The main entry, s p a and gym a c c e s s are a lso visible in this drawing. Figure 61 - Sect ion/Elevat ion of the Lodge, Poo l and Ga rden PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y - Community, History and Prairie 4 9 The photos in figure 62 show the character of what the Lodge might look like, in terms of materials and structure. ISP Pool Deck Figure 63 (Section C , Figure 57) shows the outdoor shower with grey water infiltration trench, transfer bench and shower curtain. The transfer bench al lows a wheelchai r user to sit in the shower while leaving his or her wheelchai r behind the shower curtain. Figure 63 - Sect ion of Poo l Deck and Shower Figure 64 (Sect ion D, Figure 57) shows the pathway between the solar aquatic facility and the pool. S ignage is located along s ide the treatment facility to interpret the purification process for Lodge guests. The gravel pathway extends from the front entrance of the Lodge to the workshed and ch icken coop. The drawing also shows the storage building and louvered s h a d e pavil ion on the pool deck. i f Figure 64 - Sect ion of Poo l and So la r Aquat ic Facility 50 PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y - Community, History and Prairie References A d a m s County Planning and Development. 1999. Adams County Comprehensive Plan. C o m m e r c e City: A d a m s County Planning and Development Department. A d a m s , R. 1994. Cottonwoods. Wash ington: Smi thson ian Institution P ress . Car l son , Pau l H. 1998. The Plains Indians. Co l lege Stat ion: Texas A & M University P ress . City of C o m m e r c e City. 1999. Prairieways Action Plan: Guidelines for Parks, Trails and Open Space. C o m m e r c e City: City of C o m m e r c e City. Corner, J . and A . M c L e a n . 1996. Taking Measures Across the American Landscape. Y a l e University P ress . Bacon W . 1999. Mult isensory Landscape Aesthet ics . In Driver, B., D. Dustin, T. Balt ic, G . E isner and G . Peterson (eds) Nature and the Human Spirit: Toward an Expanded Land Management Ethic. State Co l lege: Venture Publ ishing. Butala, S . 2000. Wild Stone Heart. Toronto: Harper Col l ins. E D A W 2001 . Proposed Development Strategy. A Report Prepared for Commerce City. Denver: E D A W Inc. Evans , T. 1998. Disarming the Prairie. Balt imore: John Hopkins P ress . Germany , L. 1999. Prair ie Music : P lans for a deve lopment on the Texas prairie respect the land and sky. Landscape Architecture. 89:9, p. 76-80. Horwood, B. 1991. Tast ing the Berr ies: Deep Eco logy and Experient ial Educat ion. Journal of Experiential Education. 14:3, 23-26. Joe rn , A . and K. Kee ler (eds). 1995. The Changing Prairie: North American Grasslands. N e w York: Oxford University P r e s s . Jones -Eddy , J . 1992. Homesteading Women: An Oral History of Colorado 1890-1950. New York: Twayne Publ ishers. K indscher K. 1987. Edible Wild Plants of the Prairie: An Ethnobotancial Guide. Lawrence: University P ress of K a n s a s . M a d s o n , John . 1982. Where the Sky Began: Land of the Tallgrass Prairie. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company . Marriot, A . and C . Rach l in . 1975. Plains Indian Mythology. New York: T h o m a s Y . Crowel l Company . Michener, J . 1974. Centennial. New York: R a n d o m House . Morr ish, W . 1989. Civilizing Terrains. Minneapol is : Des ign Cent re for Amer i can Urban L a n d s c a p e s . Northeast Metro W in -W in Coal i t ion. 2000. Planning Report. Denver. O lson , P. 1995. Cultural Percept ion and Great P la ins Grass lands . In The Changing Prairie: North American Grasslands, ed . A . Joern and K. Keeler . New York: Oxford University P ress . P. 25-45. Rajotte, F. 1998. First Nations Faith and Ecology. Toronto: Ang l i can Book Centre. Rocky Mountain A resena l . 2000. GIS Data. C o m m e r c e City: U S F W S . Rocky Mountain A rsena l National Wildl i fe Refuge . 1996. Interpretive Facilities Planning and Design. C o m m e r c e City. Stringer, L.A., and L. McAvoy . PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y - Community, History and Prairie 51 1992. The Need for Someth ing Different: Spirituality and the Wi lde rness Adventure. Journal of Experiential Education. 15:1, 13-20. Spencer . R. 1990. So la r Aquat ic Treatment of Sep tage . Biocycle. 31:5 P.66-70. S W C A , Inc. 1997. Archeological Investigations and Cultural Resources Management Plan for the Archeological Resources of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, Adams County, Colorado. Report No. 96-110. Denver. Thacker , R. 1989. The Great Prairie Fact and Literary Imagination. Albuquerque: University of New Mex ico P r e s s . U S F ish and Wildl i fe Serv ice . 1996. Comprehensive Management Plan. C o m m e r c e City. U S Fish and Wildl i fe Serv ice. 1999. Habitat Restoration Plan for Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. C o m m e r c e City. U S Fish and Wildl i fe Serv ice. V a n Va lkenburgh, M. , M R e e v e , J . Johnson . 1986. Transforming the American Garden: 12 new Landscape Designs. Cambr idge : Harvard University Graduate Schoo l of Des ign. www.stapletoncorp.com/plan.htm- website for the Stapleton Redeve lopment P lan Witte, D. 1999. A Gent le Hand Upon the Land . Landscape Architecture. 89:12, p. 42 . Woodward , J . 2000. Waterstained Landscapes. Balt imore: John Hopkins P ress . PRAIRIE G A T E W A Y - Community, History and Prairie 52 


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