The 2020 Scan Design Foundation Master Studio worked with the Vashon Nature Center and Vashon Center for the Arts (VCA) to envision the Heron Meadow on Vashon Island as a space for community gathering, art, science, habitat restoration and nature play. The studio explored the question: How can a small, former agricultural meadow elegantly function in multiple ways, to best provide an inspiring venue for learning, community and the arts? Vashon Island possesses rich history, a network of preserved open spaces, and a strong, close community, and we had the great fortune to work with a number of knowledgeable, passionate and committed islanders.
Building on goals and desires established by the Nature Center’s staff and supporters, and acknowledging that we were working on traditional lands of the Puyallup tribe, we explored narratives, processes and designs that brought forth the cultural and ecological stories of the meadow and provided opportunities for serious and joyful outdoor learning, convening and play. The studio drew upon exemplary precedents from Scandinavia, as well as local educational landscapes, and students benefited from design critiques with Copenhagen-based Master Teacher Louise Grassov of Schulze + Grassov. With interdisciplinary students in landscape architecture and architecture, our design focus included both site planning of meadow experiences and detail-scale design of art and educational elements. Students also had the opportunity to design and fabricate furniture on-site under the guidance of Vashon furniture maker and master teacher Hans Nelsen. Students’ final products are exhibited virtually on the VCA’s website .