[civil engineering] the art of directing the great sources of power in nature for the use and convenience of man.
~ Royal Charter of 1828
Mills Studio Statement
The particular location and characteristics of the DTS PROJECT HOUSE site make Civil Engineering both a necessary aspect of the project execution and an opportunity to integrate Architecture, Landscape, Art, and Sustainability. England’s Royal Charter of 1828 recognizing Civil Engineering as a profession, defined Civil Engineering as “the art of directing the great sources of power in nature for the use and convenience of man.” mills studio takes this to be the near perfect aim of Civil Engineering in combination with Landscape Architecture. It is only in modern times that Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Civil Engineering, and other engineering disciplines have been detrimentally considered separate professions with artificial boundaries. The DTS Project House attempts to allow the necessary legal boundaries to exist, but more importantly integrate Civil Engineering efforts into the common scientific and artistic cause.
The DTS Project House’s location within the City of Los Angeles and in an Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA) makes it subject to Standard Urban Storm Water Mitigation Plans (SUSMP) and the Low Impact Development (LID) Ordinance. The site’s location in a designated hillside area also makes it subject to the Hillside Ordinance which requires a certain set of grading requirements and necessitates street widening approvals from Public Works. Thus, the Civil Engineering must account for the legally required effective storm water and other mitigation measures, the submission of the specific documents required by the various governing agencies to gain required approvals and specialty permits, and the evaluation of the on-site implementation.
With the City imposed requirements providing minimum design parameters, the Civil Engineering efforts overlap and combine with the Architectural and Landscape Architectural efforts to solve scientific problems with artistic means. The physical hillside provides the opportunity to make thoughtful incisions into the earth to get both people and water from the top to the bottom of the hillside in a way that integrates and reinforces the Architecture, Landscape, and Sustainability intentions. The thoughtful consideration of using a site’s specific topography, weather, and climate to make visible universal ideals of permanence and entropy, has the power to make landscape an active agent in civilizing nature.
Nature as a system of interests and activities, is one of the chief creations of civilized man.
~ Lewis Mumford