vertical territories

Year: 2010
Size: 20 ha
Type: research
Location: S Weymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Partner in charge: Chen Chen

External collaborators: E. Scott Mitchell, Amy Whitesides

South Weymouth Naval Air Station is an abandoned military base with a long history of aviation-related activities. The site is characterized by consistent winds and still presents the high water table that used to make it a vast marshland. It is also home to a number of rare and endangered bird species that inhabit grassland and wetland ecosystems, which have been in decline in Massachusetts over the past 100 years. The region suffers from regular flooding events while ironically it has constant problems of drinking-water shortage due to recent contamination and improper management.

This project works on several levels at once to take advantage of the local natural resources of the site and regenerate its deteriorated hydrology and related ecosystems. Through the concept of "vertical territories" our design focuses on different layers of energy production, habitat preservation, water management and public recreation. On the top level, the wind facilitates the production of electrical power, thus, in resonance with the local past, we propose a new paradigm of aerial usage, introducing emergent high-altitude (600m) wind-power generators that operate for a fraction of the cost of traditional wind turbines and do not interfere with the routes of the migrating birds. On the ground, the demolition of impervious surfaces and the creation of infiltration ponds increase the water table; at the same time, the new wetlands act as a buffer zone to control flooding and work as a stormwater collection system to provide freshwater for the region. Finally, the creation of the new water system and mixed grasslands help regenerate the avian habitats.

The wetlands are designed with differing permeability and smoothness based on their relationship to the aquifer and existing contamination, the cleanliness of the water they collect and some specific functional requirements. Several topographic changes are implemented in order to achieve the desired hydrologic conditions, though the cut and fill operations are balanced on site in order to minimize the costs. The existing ground conditions inform the size, organization and location of the stormwater wetlands and infiltration ponds. The structure of the new park is formed by an elastic network of “flow lines” parallel to the streams that are stretched and divided as needed to negotiate requirements such as pedestrian accessibility, different degrees of protection and optimal habitat sizes. The circulation system promotes public activities and connects the surrounding towns, improving the local connectivity.

This project shows that the multi-layered approach allows for high functional density without compromising the expansive open quality of the ground. Thus a once gated "backyard" of towns in economic decline becomes a generator of vital resources.

“纵向领域”是对位于波士顿南边已废弃的South Weymouth海军机场(以下简称SW机场)重新开发利用的空间策略。SW机场曾是一个长期进行航空业相关活动的军事基地,现已废弃。该地段处于一个高空风力强劲而稳定的地区,并且地下水位很高,机场在建设前是一片广袤的沼泽。这里的大片草地和湿地还是多种濒危动物的栖息地。SW机场所处的区域常年饱受洪涝灾害的威胁,而讽刺的是,不当的水资源管理和近年来的水污染造成附近居民饮用水短缺。