Sustainable Systems: Design Idea 3

For our third and final design idea, we were informed to research specific activist communities related Climate Change, Air, Energy, Materials, and Water. Through our research, we are asked to design a resiliency-building intervention that demonstrates a system.

The Lowline is an underground park that is similar to the Highline. The Lowline is situated in the underground railing system in Williamsburg Trolley Terminal and it is built from an abandoned market building. It consists of 100 different types of plants that grow underground. The Lowline is another form of making an environmental space more green in the city of New York. The borough of Manhattan is a developed city – that is, the buildings are spread out as a grid space. Lacking the greenery of the natural environment, the Lowline helps visitors to appreciate and enjoy the green foliage at their own leisure and make the Williamsburg Trolley Terminal relive again from 1948. The Lowline is still under construction and is planning on opening to the public in 2021. From the contact of the Lowline team, the solar panels are installed underground connecting to the surface to absorb the sunlight into energy through the parabolic collector and reflected and gathered to one focal point that directs to the underground.

Through this design, my idea was to also create a transportation subway system connecting to the Lowline. Majority of New Yorkers utilize the subway system to transport from one place to another. Through this observation, I want to integrate a subway station in Williamsburg to provide a transportation system next to the Lowline because the Lowline is located underground. Thus, when people exit the train there are able to take in and absorb the fresh air from the Lowline greenery. However, a problem that may arise of allowing the subway trains come and go is the screeching sounds from the rails – that is, the subway trains emit large sound waves, which may be disturbing to the visitors enjoying the Lowline lab. Hence, subsequent to the material connection lab, the subway station will be protected with a train barrier that will be covered with moss because the soft, cushioned texture is sound absorbing made from natural resources as well as the natural color to match with the plants implanted on the Lowline. More in depth, the air quality is very low in the underground system. Hence, this problem arises with how oxygen and carbon dioxide are exchanged between the underground and the outside. Through this issue, the plants situated in the underground help revitalize the air quality for the people and the plants as well. This makes the air flow more convenient and efficient between the underground and the surface. Thinking more in-depth about the living organisms, insects are a part of nature and the system in which plants need as well. Hence, I think insects will also be a part of the presence in the Lowline.

As the process goes, I decided to do a mock-up of the Lowline area. I wanted to integrate the train subway system with the Lowline design. Integrating the subway transportation does not only create a transportation system but also a social system of people gathering to acknowledge to nature and greenery. The environmental component is also intervened with the system through the energy absorbed by the installed solar panels to the plants to the people who breathe in the air. Altogether, it creates a unity of systems that all work together. Thus, I collected materials from Blick Art store to purchase a foam board, artificial trees and moss, and metal steel. I used the glue gun to stick the majority of my objects and pieces to the foam board. In the artistic perspective, I wanted to make the design more interesting by adding the leftover moss to indicate as plants of the Lowline. Additionally, I indicated the entrance of the Lowline with a foam board door. Likewise, I utilized used water bottles as an additional piece of “sustainability”. The process took a while to design how I could place the subway – that is, placing the subway on the side or center of theLowline. Realistically, I thought it would be suitable to place the subway on the side to allow people to move easily around the Lowline. The spacious areas allow people to have more personal space and it also allows people to get away from the chaotic, cramped space of Manhattan. Hence, the design process and observations helped me to make careful decisions about where it can be a successful system and function of the Lowline.


Design Idea Model


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