Brenda  Brown

Swallow's Field, so-called for its owner, Curtis Swallow, lies at the headwaters of Dark Shade Creek (see existing conditions above).  It is one of over 30 sites in the watershed where acid-mine discharges (AMD) occur.  Because of its location, Swallow's Field is to be one of the first places in the watershed where contaminated discharges will be treated.  

The AMD rate here is relatively small - only one gallon per minute - but having a PH of 3.0, it is extremely acidic.  The effects of the discharge are exacerbated by the large amount of water eroding the poorly vegetated surface mine above.  Eventually, as part of a larger plan, that land will be planted again.  However, for the current project, a diversion ditch will be dug along the north perimeter of the hill's base, thus keeping the erosional water away from the AMD seepage area.
In choosing how to treat AMD water, one considers the site and the discharge -- the elements it carries, its load, and size.  Here we start by building a vertical flow (its bottom lined with limestone and mushroom compost) and retention ponds and use the existing lowland as a non-enclosed wetland.  By the rime the water enters the  the wetland -- where further filtering will occur -- much of its acidity is already removed.  It will once again support life.  The proposed design also offers features besides AMD treatment.  Its exaggerated use of linear perspective, symmetry, round areas and geometric forms playfully refers to the 17th century landscape architect Andre Le Notre.  Here, a portion of the dead zone, its trees killed by AMD, is maintained, even enframed.  Visitors walk around and over it and use it for a look-out from which to view the wet woodland below.  The small cypress grove that completes the circle has a different effect.

The pool's banks invite walking and also provide access for maintaining the pools.  The pool's forms also suggest an arrow.  This "arrow" points to the magnetic north as it was in 1753 (magnetic north shifts over the years) when George Washington, Christopher Gist, Jacob Vanbraam, Barnaby Currin, John McQuire, Henry Steward and William Jenkins surveyed the area.  The route taken by these men was the foundation for Forbes' Road, which was built in 1758, became a major passage for early westward travel, and is the basis for the contemporary US Route 30, which provides the major access to Swallow's field.  The reference to the surveyors and their work is made explicit by the indications of magnetic as well as true north and the engraved names and date in the inner circle of the look-out, and reinforced by the vertical rod (in line with the 1753 magnetic north) at the top of the round, north-end wall.  It is further reinforced in the top-most circular area in the south; it and its walkways are oriented toward the cardinal directions.  Thus two contrasting geometries are juxtaposed.

Original design conceived with Angelo Ciotti and Robert Deason.  Concept and design development, models and drawings by Brenda Brown.  An AMD&ART project, Allen Comp, AMD&ART director.
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