07. February 2013 / Ricky Ricardo

Silent Creek: SCAPE to uncover stream buried for 100 years

New York based landscape architecture studio SCAPE have recently won a competition to design a master plan to "daylight" the buried Town Branch Creek flowing beneath Lexington, Kentucky.

According to The Architect's Newspaper, SCAPE used "karst topography" – a geological formation of water-worn rock – as inspiration for their linear watershed proposal Reveal, Clean, Carve, Connect, which would run through downtown Lexington.

Detail of the Karst Commons landscape.

The new landscape would consists of four connected yet distinct zones: the Lexington Hollows, Downtown Greenway, Karst Commons, and Eastern Headwaters. Each segment of the landscape will also serve as a form of water infrastructure, in an effort to confront the reality of urban waters. Rather than a contiguous linear stream, the design focusses on the multiple conditions of water; such as "pockets, holes and sinks."

According to SCAPE, their proposal is interested in the “processes of natural systems combined with a deep love of the urban condition.”

One of the existing underground culverts will be retained to mitigate flooding during heavy rain events. At Rupp Arena, the site widens and flattens to create a floodable landscape, able to provide both recreational space and wildlife habitat. The stream would be filtered as it passes through various edge conditions lined with native grasses, and be aerated by the many waterfalls along its course.

The floodable Lexington Hollows landscape contains both recreational space and natural habitat.

The competition jury unanimously selected SCAPE as the winner over four other teams. The jury included Michael Speaks, Dean of the UK College of Design, Ned Crankshaw, chairman of the UK department of landscape architecture, Brad McKee, editor-in-chief of Landscape Architecture magazine, local developer Holly Wiedemann, and Aaron Betsky, director of the Cincinnati Art Museum.

For more information see The Architect's Newspaper or Business Lexington.

Images courtesy of SCAPE Studio.

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