Kym Jones, MD of Applied Landscape Design, talks about the delivery of the Athletes Village public realm and her work with Marshalls on the project.
IOTA’s Boulevard range of planters and street furniture is manufactured in Switzerland from a proprietary, patent-protected form of Fibre Reinforced Cement (FRC).
FRC is a consolidated blend of cement, limestone, water, cellulose fibres, polyvinyl polymers and other inclusions; and the resulting composite is frostproof, UV-stable and highly impact resistant, and possesses an exceptional strength-to-weight ratio.
The video below summarises the production process of IOTA’s Boulevard range of FRC street furniture.
Clicking the image below will take you to a photostory that illustrates the production process in more detail, with further useful links to IOTA’s product range.
There are vast differences in types of road – a hairpin bend on an alpine pass is (literally) a long way from a cobbled lane in an English country village. The materials and design vary widely, of course, depending on what is appropriate for the application.
Tarmac and asphalt
There’s an interesting look at the idea of the road itself on cycling blog the Inner Ring. From the earliest history of roads to today’s asphalt, there are several eye-catching points, including the comparison of $25,000 per mile “chip seal” or “tar and chip” method of construction with the $350,000 per mile cost of asphalt.
And the impact of the seasons is as keenly felt in Europe as it is in the UK:
Other parts of Europe see winter damage and subsidence. Some Alpine roads get smashed by coachloads of tourists and subzero temperatures, they are relaid every year. But away from the resorts the frost is left to crack and shatter the road.
Stelvio Pass by Damian Morys Foto, on Flickr
There are also some diverting thoughts out there on unpaved or unsealed surfaces. Where a road experiences low volumes of traffic, it has been found that maintenance costs for gravel roads often exceed the maintenance costs for paved or surface treated roads when traffic volumes exceed 200 vehicles per day.
Swales are incorporated into sustainable drainage systems for small developments or in rural locations, to provide a limited amount of stormwater or run-off storage. They are typically grassed, or can be vegetated with reeds or other aquatic plants that will absorb or treat contaminated water before discharge to a watercourse.
Designing sustainable drainage systems, whether urban or rural, requires a flexible approach. As with most construction projects, there is no formula. Rather, it is down to the skill and creativity of the designer to come up with a solution to each problem.
As landscape architect Sam Shaw of Ian White Associates advised me: “there is no one definite way to do a sustainable drainage system, as the design will depend on site location, the capacity of the scheme overall, ground conditions and other site-specific factors. There are a range of solutions, from fully urbanised below-ground storage to open, purely rural designs”.
In England and Wales, the requirement for sustainable drainage systems is now part of byelaws and other legislation – in particular, the Building Regulations Part H, which requires that where practical surface water drainage from any building development be drained, preferably to a soakaway or infiltration system. If this is not possible then the next preferred option is to drain to a watercourse, with connection to a sewer as the last choice.
The question of graffiti is an easy one for many working in council maintenance departments. It is a public nuisance, and to be prevented or removed as quickly as possible. This is an important requirement for many organisations, loking at the industry for anti-graffiti paints and coatings, and graffiti removal products and machinery.
The culture and politics of graffiti art is discussed at Graffiti.org, but since bookmarking the site I can’t now view it, as our firewall blocks it due to ‘criminal activity’. Tagging and offensive slogans are an eyesore for most people, other those that write them, and it’s hard to argue against this sort of graffiti as anything other than criminal vandalism.
However, there is a grey area with graffiti artists who put considerable time, effort and materials into their pieces. The work below, painted on derelict buildings in Brick lane, arguably brightens up the area. Whether it is a pleasure or an eyesore is a matter of aesthetics and taste.
I was amused to stumble across a post about a public statue of Robocop, from the Paul Verhoeven cult sci-fi movie, set in Detroit. It was funded by fans and enthusiasts who felt the character was integral to Detroit. It is based on an accurate restoration of the suit from the first film and will be cast in bronze.
The idea started as a joke tweet to the Detroit mayor but piqued the interest of fans and became a real fund-raising effort, surpassing a $50,000 target and blossoming into a serious project that has followed the conventional process for the approval of a sculpture being gifted to the city.
The turf at Wembley Stadium has been criticised by players, managers, commentators and groundsmen this week, after a weekend of FA Cup semi-finals that were characterised by a loose, slippery surface.
Portsmouth benefited when they beat Tottenham on Sunday. Defender Michael Dawson slipped, and Portsmouth striker Frederic Piquionne pounced on the loose ball and scored.
What is the problem?
The Times says the Wembley pitch appears to have drainage problems, making it spongy on the surface but too hard beneath. Pressure caused by intensive use compacts the soil, which reduces aeration and harms drainage.
The pitch has has been relaid 10 times since the stadium opened in 2007. While this is means steady repeat business for sports turf suppliers and installers, it does not give as stable a surface as, say, Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, which was seeded in the arena is reinforced with articifial fibres from Desso Sports Systems.
Why is this happening?
Although the stadium was designed as England’s showpiece football stadium, the need to recoup the cost of the project has meant that it is a multi-use facility, with other sports such as rugby league, rugby union, American Football events there. There have even been motorsport events, with a temporary tarmac surface being laid over the turf, as well as several concerts that also require temporary surfacing.
Former groundsman Dave Saltman criticised Wembley’s heavy events schedule on the state of the pitch and on telegraph.co.uk, Everton head groundsman Bob Lennon agreed: “The stadium is used as a multi-function venue, and so you will have a multi-function pitch,” he said. The Emirates is a new stadium, like Wembley, but that is probably the best surface in the world. The difference is that nobody so much as walks on that pitch without the manager’s say-so.”
How can it be remedied?
The Sports Turf Research Institute has been employed to try to resolve the pitch problem but The Telegraph accused the STRI of misjudging the ground conditions – although extensive data has been collected in an attempt to reproduce the dry, firm conditions that saw the pitch play well last summer and autumn, the eventual surface was still problematic.
This morning, Geoff Webb, chief executive of the Institute Of Groundsmanship, went on national radio and released a press statement that also suggested that the schedule of events is the main factor in the state of the pitch. He has expressed concerns that groundsmen are routinely blamed for the Wembley pitch, which may be damaging the reputation of the UK’s groundsmanship industry.
In an article on timesonline.co.uk, Saltman suggests that Wembley could try rebuilding the layers of gravel and sand below the surface in the hope of improving infiltration, but a project like this would take two months, and would be prevented by the events schedule. The only option seems to be the one reported in The Telegraph – that the pitch will now be relaid every four months at a cost of £125,000 a time.