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ISU landscape architecture students turn parking space into parklet space

November 05, 2014

The parklet is constructed entirely of wood with metal brackets. It features bench seating and a stand-up counter to invite passersby to take a break, eat lunch, etc.
The parklet is installed near the west entrance to the Iowa State Memorial Union.


AMES, Iowa — An Iowa State University student organization has transformed a campus parking space into a temporary public gathering place to help raise awareness of the landscape architecture profession.

The Student Society of Landscape Architects (SSLA) designed and constructed a parklet near the west entrance to the Iowa State Memorial Union. The parklet was installed Sunday, Nov. 2, and will remain in place through Sunday, Nov. 9.

Occupying a standard parallel parking space, the parklet is defined by three outer wooden wall planters of varying heights and a plywood floor. It is equipped with three bench seats as well as a stand-up counter. This allows for five people to sit at one time and three additional people to stand at the counter.

"A parklet repurposes part of the street into a public space for people. These temporary installations create unique experiences and make for a dynamic environment that encourages users to linger and inhabit the space," said Hannah Luloff, the SSLA's co-chair for parklet design and coordination. Luloff is a senior in landscape architecture from Denver, Iowa.

"The design of our parklet was intended to make a statement about what we do as landscape architects. We chose a topography-inspired design with hand-cut plywood, giving the effect of a life-size site model," Luloff said. "We hope to catch the attention of passersby through a unique form that hints at our profession."

Twenty-four landscape architecture students participated in the parklet's construction and installation.

"The construction of the parklet was a great learning experience," said senior Kyle Thiessen of Davenport, co-chair for parklet design and construction. "It's been rewarding to see a project go from initial drawings to a finished product."

The group timed its project to coincide with "Edge Effects," the 2014 national conference of the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities (a2ru), which will take place today (Nov. 5) through Saturday, Nov. 8, at the Memorial Union and other campus locations. See complete schedule

"The conference provides an opportunity to reach a broader audience from beyond the Iowa State and Ames communities," Luloff said.

After this week, the club hopes to move the parklet to a more permanent location on campus through the winter and reinstall it in Campustown in the spring, Luloff said.

Hannah Luloff, Student Society of Landscape Architects, parklet design and coordination, (319) 939-1740,
Kyle Thiessen, Student Society of Landscape Architects, parklet design and construction, (563) 349-7855,
Heather Sauer, Design Communications, (515) 294-9289,