In East Tennessee, the last expected freeze date is April 15, but it already feels like spring! With the warmer weather approaching it's time to start making preparations for the installation of the Phase IV landscape - the native grass meadows. Be sure to look for an upcoming post outlining the process we will use to establish the meadow (item number 6 on the site design plan below). For now, let's take a look at where we've been and where we are going with the New Norris House Landscape.
BEFORE: Existing Conditions Plan
While the existing house sat on an original Norris Cottage foundation, several remodels and years of vacancy left the house in poor condition. Original to the 1930’s town plan, two drainage swales, one stonelined (01) and one vegetated (14), flank the site. Our goal of treating stormwater onsite involves capturing and infiltrating water before it enters the swales.
AFTER: Site Design Plan
The site design responds to the linear site with a series of parallel interventions reflected in the plantings, community path, and raised vegetable beds. The steep slope is addressed with five terraced bioretention beds that treat greywater and rainwater. Native grass meadows and spreading shrubs are planted for erosion control and provide stormwater infiltration zones. The retaining wall delineates the previous homes footprint, and provides a pre-compacted area for the gravel parking court.
Site Design Section
The site section reveals the various ecological functions of the design such as infiltrating stormwater, treating greywater and rainwater, and restoring native habitat. The section also communicates the visible and physical connections between inside and outside. The program includes raised vegetable beds for producing fresh vegetables, level lawn area for recreation, and the forest edge plinth and fire pit, a retreat.
View of vegetable beds and gravel plinth from community path. Photo credit: Ken McCown
The New Norris House is a design/build effort from the University of Tennessee's College of Architecture and Design. Began in 2009, the home was designed and built by UT students in collaboration with Clayton Homes. The built project is now complete and the final phase of the project has begun. A team of 4 people (2 living in the home, and 2 graduate researchers) will rigorously document the experience via qualitative assessments and quantitative measurements, posting results to this blog.