Mary Purnell

Mary Purnell

Los Angeles, CA, US


One Wall Moved

At the outer edge of the South Texas Botanical Gardens, an architectural intervention connects the environmental conditions of the harsh landscape (creek, wetland, marsh, and meadow). The project continues the language of a series of wayfinders that exist on the site, leading the visitor from the main facilities out to the untamed edge.
The intervention is a simple move in the landscape. It is comprised of two wayfinding walls, a walking platform, a viewing bench, stadium seats and steps. The edge of the wall is a stark charcoal black that peers out of the  grasses. As the visitor encounters the intervention, the long wall unfolds along the perimeter while at the end of the wall the wetland is revealed on either side. The wetland’s undulating water levels mark the steps as seasonal droughts give way to flooding.      

To reach the second wall the visitor must pass through the wetland. After this journey they are rewarded with pastoral views of the creek, a prime spot to watch seasonal bird flights. This second wall creates an outdoor room, surrounded by high grasses on either side. The calming sounds of the creek mask the noise of the nearby freeway, an ever-present reminder of the threat of human encroachment.

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Status: Built
Location: Corpus Christi, TX, US
My Role: Designer, Fabricator
Additional Credits: Coleman Coker's Fall 2013 Design Build Studio