Landscape Architect & Specifier News

AUG 2014

LASN is a photographically oriented, professional journal featuring topics of concern and state-of-the-art projects designed or influenced by registered Landscape Architects.

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96 Landscape Architect and Specifier News Working four 10-hour days a week through July, the Iowa State University students in the landscape architecture department are digging out paths, excavating the patio area and laying out their design for a "decompression" space for prison officers. The design calls for limestone, left over from last year's construction, plus gravel, brick and concrete pavers, which they hope to have donated, along with planting materials. Iowa State U. Landscape Architecture Students Design Space for Prison Employees In the summer of 2013, Iowa State University (Ames) Assistant Professor Julie Stevens and her department of landscape architecture students built outdoor classrooms at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women, part of a $68 million modernization and expansion project . During that time, the professor and students noticed correctional officers staying in the parking lot after their shifts to socialize and "decompress" from the stress of the workday. With that in mind, Stevens and nine landscape architecture students this summer are designing and building an outdoor area for correctional officers and staff. It's adjacent to the new admin building that opened last fall, part of the massive construction project's first phase. Work is continuing on phase two this summer. Working as paid interns, the students are getting a real world design-build experience. "I wanted to see a project from a design on our computers through the built project," explains Lauren Iversen, a senior from Waukee. The prison employees gave the design students some wish lists. Warden Patti Wachtendorf asked for a magnolia tree and memorial garden in honor of past employees. Correctional officers and staff wanted a space that could accommodate several dozen people for an occasional staff barbecue, or small group meetings. They all asked for some privacy, seating and leaning walls (night shifters need to lean, not sit, which makes them sleepy), plus some protection from the sun and wind. The design does include the warden's wishes: a memorial garden with a water feature, and a magnolia to replace one lost to construction. A tree-lined path will lead from the staff entrance sidewalk to a hardscape patio and windbreak on the north side of the building. A three-tiered, 30-by-40 foot patio will feature small group and private seating areas, a built-in grill and a vegetative privacy wall of clematis. The leaning walls are 4-feet high. "The students did a phenomenal job," said Todd Givens, correctional officer. "They took our suggestions and came up with a design that not only met our expectations and wants, but in my mind, exceeded them." I n f o r m a t i o n R e q u e s t # 5 3 9

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