During the summer of 2019, Io LandArch participated in Salt Lake County’s “On The River’s Edge” competition. The purpose of the competition was to re-envision the Jordan River Parkway. Our design implemented the blend of agriculture and culture: Agri-Culture.
The concept for the Agri-Culture Corridor is based on the rich agrarian history of the Jordan River Valley, re-shaping this narrative as a sustainable local/slow-food hub, activated with all of the elements of a sustainable food cycle, including community supported and localized commercial agriculture, community garden spaces, a farmer’s market, food truck hubs, and mixed-use redevelopment that will focus on providing diverse cultural culinary experiences and farm-to-table restaurants. The color-pallet for the project is inspired by the colors of fresh-local-produce: beets to be exact, rich deep purple-reds that compliment the spectrum of greens, yellows, and browns provided by nature.
The corridor is framed by series of sculptural ‘plows,’ symbolic of the area’s rich agrarian past. These plows are abstracted and clad with an intricately patterned perforated metal. They serve simultaneously as sculpture, shelter, and wayfinding. They can be opened up to create bird-screens or enlarged to make observation towers. They can be shrunk down to create urban furnishings, benches, and planters. In addition to the sculptural plows, we’ve extended the metaphor of the plow and the furrow into a larger abstracted version of environmental art. A series of mounds will be created, a bold landscape art, into periphery areas (away from the banks of the river) to lead visitors into the site, and to compliment the natural and agricultural areas of the corridor.
Rivers and Trails
The movement of the river within it’s floodplain over time is a major theme of the Agri-Culture Corridor. We mapped the placement of the river from 1937 to the present day, and used this to construct a suggested restoration area, where the river would be un-channelized, riparian and wetland areas enlarged to allow for seasonal flooding, storm-water filtration (prior to re-entering the river) and wildlife habitat. An intricate trail system consisting of paved walking and biking trails, slower decomposed granite pathways, and a boardwalk system winds along the restored corridor, weaving a metaphorical braided river. This sinuous trail network will ebb and flow with the hydrological system of the river, providing increased setbacks for restoration and habitat areas wherever possible. The boardwalk will provide access through sensitive streambank zones, that will allow visitors to engage the water in key locations. This braided pathway is inspired by both the sinuosity of the Jordan River over time, but also the vernacular memory of plowed agricultural fields and contour farming.
Traditional agriculture was about stewardship of the land, small-scale farmers knew that their survival was dependent on their relationship with their farms, and understood basic ecological principals for maintaining a healthy system, beginning with the soil itself. The parkway trail itself will be articulated in sinuous bands of smooth pavers, mimicking the appearance of a freshly ploughed field. These bands are carried
out into the larger landscape through the installation of large-scale land-art furrow, symbolic of how the plow carves into the earth a strong geometric pattern that speaks of life, fertility, and our dependence on the land itself for our nourishment and survival.
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