Earth Alive Urban Orchard

Baltimore, Maryland
Proposal for Charles Street Corridor, 2013

The Earth Alive Urban Orchard Project presents an opportunity to cultivate an intricate planted system with programmatic flexibility required for urban density. As in Greenwood Reforestation project, a reference module will be utilized to orchestrate the tree plantings and account for the unknown variables inherent to the previously inhabited urban site. All of the supporting elements, including the tree stakes, grow tubes, mats, and fencing, necessary to the establishment of the plants, will be thoughtfully integrated into the woven fabric as well. Lighting will be incorporated into the system so that the patterned elements are made visible along the Charles Street corridor at night. Aluminum sculptures will be integrated at specific reference points. These mechanical devices will interact with the water, wind and light of the environment and reveal the specific conditions in the urban landscape, acting in tandem with the natural plantings. A wall mural is proposed for the northern edge of the site. It is an extension of the planted landscape and representative of the cyclical evolution of the plantings. Signage and identifications will be integral to the built elements of the project. Text ribbons within the fencing will designate project name and entrance. Sponsorship identification will occur within the projects’s hardscape and mural. Events designation and seasonal changes will be identified as another layer of the project.

MANIFOLD design’s role in the project is multi-fold – as designer, as fabricator of proposed artwork and as co-implementer of the design.  The project’s timeline and evolution is a key element to the design.  The timeline runs initially weekly and monthly through the construction process. Steps in planting - site renewal, layout, 2” caliper tree installation, sculpture installation, small bare root stock planting with tube installation,  will occur at a regular intervals and throughout the entire site to demonstrate stages of an initial quick growth.  Later, the project evolves seasonally and annually with the growth and replacement and maintenance of the work.