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PROJECT: The Byxbee Landfill LOCATION: Palo Alto, CA CLIENT: Palo Alto department of Public Works DATE: 1988-1990

CONSTRUCTION COST: $1.25 million

1. Defining the Problem 2. Programming and the Analysis of Site and User
180 acres The site features the sculpting landforms to emphasize the views towards the bay and integrate the edge of the water with the land. Severely impacted with winds and require a refuge from its unrelenting force Designs introduce elements on the human scale in an otherwise overpowering landscape Demand for additional disposal increased annually There could be no excavation, only filling, since the site was filled with garbage. Couldnt irrigate Couldnt puncture the clay cap because of the danger of escaping methane gases Couldnt plant trees Everything had to be additive Major constraint: major land zone for the adjacent municipal airport crossed the site, and could not be obstructed Hillocks: 3-1/2 to 4 ft high (below eye level), 8 ft. long; large ones are around 5 ft. high, and 12 ft. long A natural marsh persists on one point of land A first phase had already been executed according to a master plan prepared in 1981 by EckboKay, a landscape architecture firm. A one-foot clay cap had already been placed over mounds of garbage Landfill was still in use, and the garbage was still being added in some portions of the site Picknicking areas are nestled in the leeward side of the hillocks The Hargreaves Associates proposed to make a sculpture of light: At its base is white gravel, which captures the evanescent shadows cast by the sun. It is proposed that the stack be painted white and encased in metal screens that would create a shimmering quality. Two contrasting grids, one superimposed by the other, would create what is called the moir effect as the park visitor moves around the screens, the patterns of the overlayed grids will seem to shimmer. Phase I has been completed for a cost of $1,250,000. Phase II and III are being implemented currently Turned the landfill into a pole field: The poles subtly express the hidden forces that created the seemingly benign site on which they are set. The poles will sink slightly or sway, thereby expressing the quixotic nature of the natural forces that shaped the site. They serve as bird perches Alit atop the poles, gulls and other birds face towards the wind, as this position enables them to quickly fly aloft should danger confront them Amidst this forest of poles, a visitor to Byxbee Park will always be aware of the wind, no matter how gentle or fierce. The methane release tower features a potentially dramatic element: a safety gap release flame. It burns when the quantity of methane builds up to a critical level. By being visible, it helps educate the public about the processes and forces that have shaped the history and use of the site Turn a landfill into a public park.

3. Schematic Design and the Preliminary Cost Estimate

4. Developed Design and Detailed Costing

Another major design element is the earthen dam, or land gate, at the entrance to the site: Located between two hills of garbage that suggest a doorway. A polyester fabric honeycomb system supports the slope. 6 ft. wide at the bottom, 22 ft. at the top, and the landforms are about 8 ft. high. At the highest point of elevation on the site there will be an observatory with a circle paving. The part of the landform will be graded to be the darkest place on the site, and therefore the best place to view the stars

5. Contract Documents
The consulting engineers for the project, Encon Associates, experts in landfills, devised the design for the pole footings and assisted with the approvals and the permits. Hargreaves Associates, once selected by the team of artists, became the project managers, creating all construction documents, coordinating all review and approvals with the client, and performing site inspections and observations. The main reviewing agency for Byxbee park was the local government of Palo Alto. An enlightened bureaucracy approved and expedited the review and approval process. There were rarely any delays.

6. Bidding and Contracting

Palo Alto department of Public Works chose Peter Richards as prime. He was in-charge of the artistin-residence program at the Exploratorium. Richards invited Michael Oppenheimer to join him as a second artist. This pair of artists was involved in selecting Hargreaves Associates as Landscape architect

7. Construction
Engineers constructed a slough or channel through the natural marsh part of the land. The water level is controlled by a series of sluice gates surrounded by dikes. A field of poles, first conceived as old pier pilings, were replaced by 8 dia. poles And were set in a grid that is 30 x 20 Underneath the cap is an extensive system of methane collection pipes designed by Encom Associates for the California Department of Public Works. The pipes connect to a methane gas generating system that converts the gas to electricity. A second foot of clay was added in the areas for supporting the wood posts and concrete chevrons, and a final layer of topsoil When work began, there could be NO IRRIGATION as local government officials were wary of any water percolating through the waste material and releasing leachate given the irrigation restriction, the designers adapted a plant vocabulary of native grass: Stripa pulchra. For the path system: oyster shells (material indigenous to the site). The designers did not want to impervious surfaces that would concentrate runoff and potentially increase erosion. So they added crushed and cementitious material watered in a stabilizer, the paths are uniformly 6 ft. wide. Stripa pulchra is hardy, draught tolerant, and adaptable to the varying conditions of the site: withstanding winds pedestrian traffic intense heat Hillocks: planted with lupine, a blue wildflower Hedgerows: Manzanita (Arctostaphylos franciscana) Coyote bush (Bacharis pilularis consanguinea) Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia) New Zealand tea tree (Leptospermum scoparum Ruby Glow) The restroom and parking areas, not in the landfill, feature eucalyptus trees The waste areas on the site are consistently capped with a layer of clay. The reviewing engineer for the City of Palo Alto was concerned about puncturing this cap, so the designers engineered a spread footing for each pole. Keeping the clay cap completely dry has resulted in some cracking. So the clay cap needs

8. Occupation and Management

repairing from time to time because cracking is difficult to anticipate or control.

Byxbee Park

Pole Field


Site Plan