RISE, Goose Island State Park’s new wetland observation platform, overlooks a coastal marshland notable for attracting migratory birds, especially Sandhill and Whooping Cranes that come to feed on blue crab, which are plentiful during high tide. The platform is intended to provide a venue for bird watching and environmental engagement programs in an area of the park previously inaccessible due to a slough and invasive wetland scrub.
The six-foot high platform is accessed by a 70-ft long ramp, and is concealed by a 90-ft screen-wall of vertical lumber. The screen-wall is composed of narrow vertical slots of varying widths, causing the wall to appear opaque at times, and open to the landscape at others. Deliberately austere, the screen-wall offers separation from the adjacent parking lot and provides a visual backdrop for the native grasses important to the local ecology, which the environmental educators plan to discuss. Passing through the entry portal, the wetland partially comes into view and opens up as the visitor moves up toward the observation area.
Although it confidently asserts its presence on the site, RISE is horizontal in spirit – it establishes a relationship with the distant horizon and acts as register for the immediate topography and the grasses that spring from it.
RISE is the third Gulf Coast Design Lab project located at Goose Island State Park in Rockport, TX. Over the course of the fifteen-week semester, the project was designed, partially fabricated on campus, and installed on site by thirteen students of varying backgrounds.