Earth, air, fire, and water. Powered by free energy provided by the sun, these elements create an environment able to sustain life. The landscape concept at 13 Acres reinforces the life-giving interplay of the elements through a juxtaposition of uses that interact to regulate environmental harmony.
The qualities of the earth are embodied in the design of the schoolyard. Solid, consistent, and stable, the earth possesses characteristics that every quality school should possess. Oriented with the best solar angles, the buildings take advantage of the same energy that sustains all life on the planet.
Wind funnels, windmills, an air walk, and a tornado slide are ways in which the elementary play space connects with the sky and interacts with the movement of air. Landforms reminiscent of an abstracted ripple of water creates places to channel and cleanse water as well as elevating the playground further into the air. Runoff from the sports fields and the school grounds is directed through this space on its way to the spiraling wetlands.
The element of fire is displayed through bold colors and shapes in the teenage area. Abstracted volcano sculptures rise from the grasslands, spotting the landscape with color and contrast. Brightly painted tree trunks surround the amphitheatre and ignite the performance space with boldness and color.
The dynamic, sculptural qualities of water are on display in the spiraling wetlands. Runoff from nearly the entire site is channeled to a pair of rivulets that carve through the forest and into the curving basins, percolating into the soil and filtering contaminants.As rains come and go the water level in the wetlands raises and lowers, obscuring or exaggerating the spiraling form and drawing attention to seasonal weather patterns.