By : Manjiri Mahajan | 12 Sep 2017 | Recent projects
The park had to appeal to all the age groups and was to be used throughout the year. The challenge was to try to carve our flat areas in the heavily sloping site and to make all the areas accessible – physically and visually.
The existing slopes were flattened slightly to accommodate pathways which run all along the site to make a loop. Slopes in dry pitching and green slopes alternate to negotiate the twenty five feet steep gradient. Between these slopes, the flattish use-areas like lawns, decks, seating areas and sand pits are placed. Viewing decks are strategically located to capture breath-taking views of the surrounding hills and the valley.
A bridge spanning over the stream is built to connect the two parts of the park, thus creating a linkage between the previously disjointed sections. The stream has been given a pebbled bottom and contoured edges with planting. The stream has become a prominent feature in the design.
Pathways are used to make way for tree covered circular plazas which are serene areas screened with planting to be used as pause and rest areas.
Lawn mounds and slopes are tempered to gently follow the existing gradient. Sand areas with seats, covered and open viewing decks, entry areas, pitching, the stream bridge and lastly the planting, all bind the park together as one large contiguous entity instead of two fragmented pieces.
Keeping in mind the nature of the usage, the slopes, the location and the heavy rains, the material palette selected is a robust one. Natural materials like wire cut bricks for pathways, wooden decks, calibrated Kadappa and Shahabad for plaza areas, natural basalt stone pitching are used. The objective behind using such materials is to merge the construction with the existing landscape, and yet provide for all the usability features necessary for the park.
CONSTRUCTION METHODOLOGY :
Stream and stream sides :
The task of slope mitigation is achieved by using the ‘Soil Bio Engineering’ technique. Gunny bags filled with soil are stacked up to a height of 4 feet. These follow the designed contour lines and tackle the level differences. The bags are wrapped with a geo textile membrane. The soil behind and between the two piles of bags allows vegetation to be introduced. It is a very environmentally friendly and green method of soil stabilization and slope mitigation as it does not employ any retaining walls, concrete etc. The voids in the bags allow water to flow easily which is channelled into the water stream.
Peripheral Edges and slopes:
Steeper slopes are covered with geo textile membrane and are further covered with vegetation thus reducing soil erosion and encouraging percolation.
To encourage water percolation, dry stone swales are made along the pathways, and planted with a variety of grasses. The excess water drains into these swales and slowly percolates inside, reducing run-off.
Apart from the other attributes, the most important factor the planting had to serve was soil stabilization and soil erosion control. All the slopes of the park are planted with soil binding varieties like Wedelia trilobata, Pennisetum sp., Viteveria zizanoides etc the edges of the water stream are planted with Cymbopogon citrites, Crinum sp.,Pennisetum sp., and bamboo. Indigenous large trees like Anthocephalus kadamba, Erythrina indica, Bauhinia blackeana, are used for shade, delineation of areas and as feature trees. Native shrub varieties like Hibiscus sp.,Crossandra sp.,Atrabotrys odoritissimus, Stachyterphata etc have been used for mass planting.
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