Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Oops.. I’m Building on a Floodplain

By Brittney Mount

Last week I finally took a trip down to my project’s site located in Lebanon, Tennessee for my first site visit. This is shockingly one of the first actual site visits I have done for a project. It was quite informative to say the least. In my preliminary presentation, a major concern of my site being located in a floodplain was brought to my attention. It turns out most of my selected site is located in a 100 year floodplain. What does this mean exactly? That it was definitely not the best selection of a site, however, I have chosen to take this on as another design challenge that will provide my project with even more interesting solutions and added dynamic. This discovery has definitely led to a setback on the pace I was moving, due to it’s sensitivity in design. The major issue being that the first floor cannot be lower than one foot above the floodplain. In order to move forward, I have been researching possible design solutions to accommodate the required codes for building in a floodplain. I have listed below three possible solutions to the issues along with diagrams. 

Land Fill 
The land fill method is easily the most basic straightforward solution to my problem, literally just adding enough land to the entire site to place it one foot above the floodplain. However, it is also easily the most boring. The site only drops three feet from it’s highest point to the creek bank.

Crawl Space Structure 
A second solution would be to place structure to create the necessary build up of the topography. In this tactic the water would just overflow underneath the building, a kind of crawlspace if you would. 

Parking Podium 
As the first floor elevation cannot be on the floodplain, the parking spaces can be, therefore placing a parking structure beneath the program would not only remove the first floor issue, but also the massive square footage that is required by the parking lot already. The trick to this tactic would be to not display an urban feel with a parking structure, and create an open, friendly entrance not only from the approach of the building but from within. 

As I study these concepts I believe I will use a mixture of a few of these solutions within my design. 

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