Going back and forth between designing the sites and designing the way I present the sites.  From the beginning I’ve wanted to apply an artistic method to the interpretation program at the Earthworks.  Not there yet.  I present my work for midterm review in a few days.  Analysis continues but I’m trying to store that now in my head and focus on the design.

Max_North_Moonset_SectionThis quick section demonstrates that I could utilize a prairie vegetation palette to further accentuate the idea of inside and outside the earthworks.  These places were designed with the intention (we hypothesize) of demarcating a space separate from the every day world.  Using a grass and shrub mix that reflects the oak-savanna landscape would help the visitor get a sense of space there.  It would set the interior of the enclosures apart from the surrounding turf lawns of nearby homes.

SketchTo further set the Earthworks apart, a buyback program near the monuments could establish a stronger sense of separation.  Though this wouldn’t be popular with some locals, it is one option to make the spaces more attractive to visitors and help the City of Newark demonstrate that these spaces are unique and worth the investment.  Cities all around the country often apply buyback and condemnation policies to create larger parks for the enjoyment of all.


The selective removal of trees and the planting of prairie plants would help people have a better understanding of the scale and rhythms of the designed landscape.

SketchSketchAnother aspect of the design process includes quick perspective renderings and section-elevations that envision programming and explores the feeling of the sites as they could be.  This one (below) focuses on the vegetation change within the space.

SectionNight programming too will be very important.  The Octagon was designed to observe specific lunar occurrences on an 18.6 year cycle.

Night section

Diagramming is part of the process of understanding the site as well.  This map shows the Hopewell range as it was concentrated around the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. Trade brought materials from afar into the lives of the Hopewell.  Hopewell map

The designed landscape of the Hopewell took people through a processional sequence that elaborated on the natural surroundings.  The diagram below explores those elements.  I hope to push this diagram further in the tradition of Gordon Cullen’s serial vision diagrams.


Great Circle rendering

This rendering shows the restoration of prairie, the return of water, and the making of personal space in the larger structure of the Great Circle.  I’m designing a graphic style with my renderings that tries to ‘break the frame’ of the picture.  Currently, the Earthworks are ‘framed’ in the modern world, set apart and bounded.  I hope my design helps integrate the Earthworks into the modern world rather than setting them apart as museums or monuments.

Night renderingThis rendering also explores night programming.  Some people have told me that 18.6 years is too long to wait for the lunar occurrences.  People today expect everything on-demand.  While I’m not inclined to design that way- I’m interested in creating a slower paced space for contemplation- it might be interesting to explore the idea.  Moon-inspired hot air balloons lifting off from key spaces could help people observe the alignments with a little more rapidity than naturally occurs.  Also, the idea of lighting the space with fire is one that I am interested in.  The original designers of the spaces would have only seen them at night lit by fire and moonlight.  Firelight animates and warms the spaces.  The flames used to warm the air in hot air balloons could also illuminate the space in a dramatic way.

RenderingAnd so it continues…


About matthewtraucht

Graduate school student at the University of Minnesota's College of Design pursuing a Master's of Landscape Architecture, class of 2013.
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