Urban Orchard Competition

Image from Urban Orchestra's winning proposal.

Posted by Katherine Welsch September 4, 2015


To kick off the fall semester, the Master of Landscape Architecture program held a special competition, sponsored by Anova commercial site furnishings, in which students worked in teams to design an orchard suitable for a vacant site in University City.

"This was a high-performance competition; students worked intensely for forty-eight hours to produce a full set of drawings and a physical model," said professor Rod Barnett, chair of landscape architecture. "It brought architecture and landscape architecture students together, and started the semester off with a bang. And, just as importantly, it gave the City of University City ten different proposals for a strategic site right on the corner of Midland and Olive Boulevards."

In addition to hosting the students' choice of fruit species, the orchard needed to serve as a place where the community could come together for shared activities.

To that end, the development of original furniture suitable for the outdoors was a critical component of the teams' designs. Students were asked to develop a family of pieces that could operate both as single units and as clusters to support activities such as eating, people watching, and resting.

Additionally, students had to plan the layout of the orchard and account for factors such as seasonal plant husbandry tasks (including irrigating, pest and disease control, and harvesting), site maintenance, and connectivity to local schools and community organizations.

The Urban Orchestra team, comprised of Jiaan Sun, Bin Yan, Kaiwen Xie, and Yinan Zhu, won first place and $800 for its proposal. Rui Guo, Shuying Wu, and Xiaoqing Qin took runner-up honors and $600 for their proposal, Vibration.

Barnett, senior lecturer Jacqueline Margetts, and assistant professors Jesse Vogler and Natalie Yates.