THE DOHERTY ECO GARDEN, THE SEVEN HILLS SCHOOL
Lost between two very different buildings, one historic, one modern, the project’s site was a poorly drained residual space of sheds and utilities. Dominated by an obelisk like chimney and a huge but dying maple a creative and committed faculty wanted the space for an eco-garden as part of a new earth sciences curriculum.
The buildings frame a view of the river valley beyond. Taking down all but the stump of the dying Maple let in the sun. The long lines of the square chimney and the valley view inspired a board walk connecting the eastern and western ends of the site. The boardwalk eclipses the large stump which provides another rich natural context.
At the eastern end is a learning area for earth sciences. Students grow and harvest vegetables in raised planters designed for their height. The teachers lead composting sessions teaching the benefits of recycling waste. At the western end, a small retaining wall enlarges and levels an existing lawn space for year around activities. Completed late in the school year the space immediately became a boon for the school’s beloved spring carnival.