An incredible journey came to an end after countless studio reviews and innumerable pinups. The 2013 graduating class presented their final Master’s Project proposals for South Coast | Puerto Rico at the conclusion of the spring semester. The studio, led by Associate Professor and Chair Roberto Rovira and Adjunct Professor Gianno Feoli, was taught in parallel with the University of Puerto Rico, and the Boston-based design and planning firm Stoss, and focused on developing proposals for the southeastern region of Puerto Rico.
The graduate Master’s Projects focused on strategies to address the future of this region, which has witnessed large-scale industrial, agricultural and urban transformations in the last 100 years. One particular aim of this studio was for students to have a better understanding of how landscape architecture strategies can be used to address large scale regional issues, while simultaneously addressing concrete design challenges at the site scale. Not only did the industries of this region leave the typical legacy of industrial abuse such as contamination and degradation, but it also left contiguous towns burdened with inadequate infrastructure, and with an economic and cultural void that was forged by the sugar industry and its ties to land cultivation.
LA students visited the site and conducted research, analysis and site investigation that included mapping and interpreting hydrological systems, coastal towns, local preserves, and industrial sites. External reviewers throughout the semester included Charles Waldheim, the John E. Irving Professor of Landscape Architecture and Chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, Scott Bishop, Associate Principal at Stoss Landscape Urbanism and FIU Cejas Scholar, Darwin Marrero-Carrer, Dean of Students at the School of Architecture in the University of Puerto Rico, as well as Douglas Pardue, Assistant Professor at the University of Georgia, Nixaly Ramírez, Principal at R+P Architects & Engineers and Professor at University of Puerto Rico, Gustavo Santana, Associate at AECOM, Carrie Steinbaum, Registered Landscape Architect, Assistant Professor Ebru Ozer, and Adjunct Professor Felipe Diez.
Alternative Creek by Martina Gonzalez, was one of the highly acclaimed studio projects. The proposal re-frames a community’s relationship to water in the south coast of Puerto Rico and enables the small town of Arroyo to redeem itself from the industrial degradation left behind by the sugar cane legacy of the 1900’s. By juxtaposing various grey water treatment strategies with public spaces, her proposal aspires to create a model for other regions that share a similar post-agricultural / post-industrial history. Martina will be presenting her project during the Florida American Society of Landscape Architects Annual Conference in St. Petersburg, FL, taking place from 17-20 July 2013.