The design for the North Quad at Columbia College presented a unique challenge: How to improve fire lane access without an excessive amount of concrete?
After working with the City and the Fire Department, it was determined that ‘Cougar Drive’ should extend further into the heart of campus, and also include a T-shaped turn around for fire trucks. This drive would need to be 20′ wide, but would be closed to traffic, aside from the occasional maintenance vehicle. While paving the entire lane with concrete would be the conventional solution, it would also increase the storm water runoff from the site. SOA investigated a number of options like Grasspave and porous pavers, that allow grass to grow through their structure, and permeable pavement, which allows rain water to percolate through.
Questions arose, like: Would the products that allowed grass to grow through them need to be irrigated? Would these materials be damaged by a fire truck or snow plow? How long would they last?
In the end, Columbia College decided to use FilterPave, for aesthetic and practical reasons. FilterPave is made of recycled glass held together with a binder. It comes in a variety of colors, allows significant water infiltration, but can only support light vehicular traffic. So, SOA used it in between the paths of the fire truck wheels along the drive (see highlighted areas in photo). The resulting design broke up what could have been a huge swath of concrete into a more decorative and ecologically friendly fire lane.