Georgia Institute of Technology Eco Commons

Atlanta, GA
NBW is currently working at the Georgia Institute of Technology to design the signature space of the South-Central Sector Plan, the Eco Commons. The Eco Commons is a seven acre site that is a crucial node in the overall plan for stormwater capture, institutional pedagogy, ecology, and student circulation and mental health.  The site is currently dominated by pavement and buildings on fill and the historic systems and ecologies of the site have been erased. 
The design for the Eco Commons reintegrates authentic topography and water flow to the site which creates three distinct zones for students — a contemplative grove, a learning deck for classes and research, and an area for play and relaxation. The three zones occupy different topographic conditions and sunlight aspects creating opportunities for distinct planting communities and providing different sensory experiences for students. Primarily a woodland landscape, plant communities will reflect the native Georgia Piedmont ecologies, eventually providing 75% canopy coverage to Eco Commons visitors.
The site will support the research pedagogy of the University. Environmental monitoring technology will be installed to provide quantitative insights into site’s functionality and will compared to other sites on campus with similar technologies. The site will provide a audio recording systems for habitat monitoring along with sensors for monitoring air quality and temperature, soil percolation, and water quality.  
When the project is complete, the site will accommodate more than 150,000 cubic feet of stormwater control volume per average year of rainfall, resulting in a significant reduction in stormwater entering the City of Atlanta sewer system. Captured water will be used for irrigation of the site, creating a sponge for continued water absorption.