You might notice that the newest advertisements, catalogs, and detail sheets from Tournesol Siteworks carry the phrase in the title of this blog – Successful sites start here
For the better part of the last decade, we’ve introduced ourselves as the company at the intersection of landscape and architecture. While we still are, we’re focusing our message on a more important part of our business – you!
Though we’ve expanded our manufacturing footprint over the years, the real thing that’s allowed us to grow our business is a dedication to customer success. We’re pleased that you continue to make us your first choice, which we think reflects the effort we make to ensure your projects come out the way you want them to.
Whether in sales, engineering, or on the shop floor, our employees ask themselves “is this the way the customer would want it done?” We’ve chosen our tagline as a means of reflecting who we are, and who we’re committed to be. Give us the opportunity and put this promise to the test – we’ll do everything we can to make your next project a success!
While travelling the great Northwest, I stopped at a Courtyard by Marriott in Portland, OR. There on a terrace overlooking the Columbia river, much to my surprise, was an older installation of Stonewear lightweight concrete product. Along with a turnkey fountain and a large number of pots were some of the original Stonewear planter walls. The planters that they created were so large that they held four full-sized trees! While I’d seen images of this type of install, we haven’t done one since taking over the company in 2015.
The walls are manufactured in lightweight GFRC concrete, in our standard Barcelona fountain style. They are adapted from our monumental fountain construction, and are available in straight, corners and radiused pieces. Typically these walls are set on a concrete slab base poured specifically for this purpose, including drainage and irrigation sleeving.
The walls consist of three parts – a decorative outer wall, a structural inner wall, and a seat cap. The outer and inner walls are set in place, screwed together, then the seat cap adhered to the top. This installation was at least 15-20 years old (as you can see by the size of the trees), so it makes a durable and attractive alternative to building a CMU wall on site.
If you are interested in finding out more about alternatives to CMU built-in-place planters, speak with your Tournesol Siteworks salesperson.
The Hotel Del Coronado is an historic hotel that stands beautifully and majestically on the coast in Coronado, CA. Recently, green wall products from Tournesol Siteworks were chosen to help beautify the hotel entrance. From the hotel’s website,
Built in 1888 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1977, Hotel del Coronado is an American treasure with more than a century of stories to tell. The Del’s visionary founders, Elisha Babcock and H.L. Story, dreamed of building a seaside resort that would be “the talk of the Western world.” Since then, the resort has become a living legend, visited by celebrities, dignitaries and U.S. presidents.
Hotel Del Coronado contracted with landscapers from BrightView Landscape Development out of San Diego. For the project, the hotel wanted to create a living wall that would essentially beautify the view seen from the porte cochere. Prior to the project, if you turned around while standing at the front entrance, the view was not as attractive as the hotel desired (viewing the parking lot and vehicles).
Brightview reached out to collaborate with our partner Good Earth Plant Company, also from San Diego. Jim Mumford, from Good Earth, chose Tournesol Siteworks’ VGM Modular Living Wall System. He has worked with our VGM system quite often and states, “it’s my favorite for situations like this.” Jim says he doesn’t “have to worry that the VGM living wall will blow over.” The green wall is free-standing, and “people walk by the location of the green wall which is exposed to the elements, but the mounting brackets are sturdy” and able to withstand high traffic areas.
For the green wall, Good Earth utilized 140 VGM3 planting modules. Each module is made from 100% recycled plastic, attached to stainless steel rails with mounting brackets. They also utilized over 250 VGM Media Block for the soil and landscape fabric on the back side of the wall to keep it moist and to shade it from the beating sun during hot, sunny days. The modules were grown in at Good Earth’s facility prior to installation to provide instant, complete coverage for the living wall. With the VGM System, root growth isn’t limited by restricting cells or baffles so plants grow healthier and stronger.
However, there were a few hurdles Good Earth had to overcome prior to installation. Since the hotel is a historic landmark and iconic property, the Coronado City Design Counsel got involved to ensure the choice of plants and look of the green wall wouldn’t be too contemporary for the iconic property. The counsel carefully chose the exact plant varieties, sizes, styles and colors. This delayed the installation process and extended the usual three-month period for seven months. Prior to installation, the plants inevitably had to be trimmed but were installed in only one day!
Another hiccup was the large fire hydrant toward the middle of the wall. It had to remain, but the design of the living wall had to be designed around the fire hydrant. It wasn’t the look they were expecting but the size of the VGM modules mandated the space needed to encompass the hydrant.
Good Earth continues maintenance of this living wall, which is the key to keeping the green wall growing and lush. We’re thrilled that our VGM Green wall was chosen to help beautify this amazing, historical hotel – this green wall looks fantastic!
Recently, Tournesol Siteworks had the opportunity to be part of an outstanding rooftop project at The Sawyer in downtown Sacramento, CA. This multi-use building comprises offices, stores, luxury urban apartments, and the Kimpton Sawyer Hotel. The rooftop on the 3rd floor has a stunning view overlooking Golden 1 Center, where the Sacramento Kings play.
When landscape architects from Rios Clementi Hale Studios approached the design, they wanted to transform the rooftop into a comfortable lounge area with a pool for residents and tenants to enjoy. First choice was cast-in-place concrete walls filled with greenery, shrubs, and flowers, as well as concrete planters with trees in the center. Rios Clementi’s design goal was to attach two different cantilevered benches (one shown in the image above), and two different cantilevered bar counters, to the concrete wave walls, as well as make lounge seats atop the planters.
Rios Clementi specified our products, yet Swinerton Builders Self-Promotion Division installed the project. In turn, Swinerton reached out to engineers from Tournesol Siteworks to bring this custom design to life. Our engineers needed dimensions of the concrete walls so they collaborated with a site scanning firm that used a laser to scan the area. The laser captured the exact dimensions of the lounge planters (shown in the image above) and the curved walls. From there, Tournesol engineered a structural system that would achieve the aesthetics the designer desired, be structurally sound and easy to install.
The wood benches, bar counters (shown in the image above) and lounge planters were manufactured from Boulevard Thermally-Modified Wood, as well as over 1,000 Structural Wood Tiles surrounding the planters and pool area (shown in the image below). The wood goes through a process that changes the chemical make-up and cell structure of the wood. The process creates lumber with exceptional resistance to rot, pest, and decay. Technically, it shares a 25-year preserved-wood-like durability level similar to South American hardwoods, but is ecologically-friendly. The thermal-modification process also prevents moisture absorption and makes Boulevard wood resistant to warp, twist and other movement. The hardware and structural mounting units for the benches and bar counters were made of heavy-duty stainless steel.
Beneath the wood tiles, Swinerton installed our VersiJack Adjustable Support Pedestals to allow for rapid drainage, easy accessibility to the waterproofing membrane and concealed services below. Along the outer edge of the rooftop, Rios Clementi specified our Wilshire rectangular planters manufactured in FRP Fiberglass of multiple sizes. Inside the planters, Swinerton installed our Drainage System to pump water out of the planters when necessary, rather than providing planter drain holes . The planters surround the outer perimeter of the deck, as well as act as dividers configuring separate spaces using living plants (shown in the image below).
This stunning roofdeck is a great example of collaboration, team work, design and function. This project was completed in a very short amount of time which made the designers, specifiers, owners and tenants very happy. We were thrilled to be involved in such an outstanding installation and to provide the solutions with our product offerings.
Downtown Boulder, CO, is a beautiful area surrounded by mountains and encompassed by trees. A few years ago, CBS Sunday Morning named Boulder “The happiest place in the United States.” The city has recently been undergoing some changes to modernize the curb appeal, and to freshen up the look and feel of the city for residents and tourists alike. At One Boulder Plaza, Tournesol Siteworks was specified by landscape architects from Studio Terra, out of Boulder, who collaborated with our distributor partner Streetscapes, from Denver.
One Boulder Plaza is a large plaza which spans the entrances to shops and dining, and includes a large space for entertainment and social gatherings. Studio Terra and Streetscapes chose our Downtown Collection planters to separate areas of the plaza, and to decorate various doorways and building walls.
Our Downtown Collection planters offer a wide opening and a tapered bottom, distinctive curve and soft corners with a classic appeal for the plaza; 60 planters were manufactured in lightweight GFRC concrete which is sturdy, but without the weight.
When picking the texture, Studio Terra considered the high traffic areas where the planters would be placed, and the wear and tear they would sustain. Our Tier 2, Acid Etch texture is a durable finish that can easily be refinished and repaired onsite. This detail was very important to the maintenance crew in order to keep the planters looking fresh.
The Downtown round planter sizes varied overall: 20 planters are 36″Dia. x 24″H, 24 are 42″Dia. x 36″H, 5 are 48″Dia. x 24″H, and 11 are 60″Dia. x 24″H. Studio Terra and Streetscapes chose three colors, Shadow, Shark and Sandbox, that are dispersed between the sizes and added a stunning presentation to the plaza.
Since our acquisition of FairWeather Site Furnishings, (facility located in WA, which is now our base for metal and wood fabrication) we’ve enjoyed sharing the stories of projects and installations. A few years ago, the City of Tacoma, WA, wanted to improve the amenities in the various city districts, including the Dome District. The Dome District in Tacoma emerged in the 1880’s but was originally known as the East School neighborhood due to a large elementary school. Railroad access eventually transformed the district bringing transportation, cars, gas stations, shops and restaurants. Renamed a few times, “Dome District” stuck when the Tacoma Dome was eventually built.
The dome brought life to the district and many older buildings were revitalized, namely Freighthouse Square. For the Dome District revitalization project, the City of Tacoma wanted benches and receptacles installed along sidewalks and building fronts throughout the district, including in front of Freighthouse Square.
FairWeather was specified by the City of Tacoma desiring the Tradition Collection benches; Victorian-style benches with refined, full contour seat sections made with Ipe wood (optional) and enhanced by the circular details of the ductile cast iron end frames (shown above). Ipe is a hardwood that works well for exterior use and was useful for this project, since the weather in the Pacific Northwest tends to be fairly wet year-round. The city also wanted three Plaza Collection Steel Strap Receptacles, which are manufactured with open tops, and rings at the top and bottom of the receptacles. Tacoma chose domed tops to finish off the look of the Plaza receptacles which included 35 gallon black Polyethylene Liners.
Later, the City of Tacoma specified our B-5 Bollards which were installed by Gary Merlino Construction Company. Our steel B-5 Bollard Collection features decorative steel bollards with an asymmetrical top and collars for a sharp, distinctive look (shown in the image above).
Of the three mounting configurations available (removable, permanent embed or surface mount) Merlino Contstruction installed the steel B-5 Bollards with a concrete fill cap and heavy schedule 80 steel pipe as permanent embed. The bollards are used for security purposes and force protection on various streets and in front of the dome (shown above).
In the July/August 2017 issue of Retrofit Magazine, Tournesol Siteworks‘ product was featured in an editorial regarding a large project in Chicago, and we were thrilled! The article written by KJ Fields, titled “Lofty Gathering Spot” (pages 72-77), pertains to Lofts at River East: a roof deck offering the apartment dwellers a restful spot for entertainment, social gatherings and relaxation.
‘Chicago is a very industrial city, so it’s helpful
to have outdoor spaces where people can
gather,’ remarks Hana Ishikawa, design principal
at Chicago’s site design group ltd., the firm
that performed The Lofts at River East’s rooftop
landscape architecture. ‘Roof decks on apartment
buildings are very popular in Chicago and
they’re becoming increasingly elaborate. This
renovation has beautiful loft units and it really
needed a nice roof deck to complement them.’
Architects from Chicago firms Fitzgerald Associates Architects and Ghafari Associates collaborated with Landscape Architect, Yuki Takeshima, with Site Design to create the 10,000 sq. ft. amenity space atop the roof deck. The building owner requested many stipulations, desiring to make the deck luxurious and inviting. The landscape architect faced many challenges designing the space. The roof top holds a varying range of grade changes due to the building’s main duct-work and air-handling units being on the roof. The environment had to span over the mechanical and electrical units. Site used the levels to their advantage by creating outdoor “rooms” using landscape and plants for division so the separations did not feel forced.
In one of these “rooms,” site specified our Wilshire Collection planters with matching container irrigation. From Glenview, IL, Intrinsic Landscaping Inc. installed the planters, manufactured from FRP Fiberglass material in our smooth T-0 texture (shown in the image above). They chose MMP Aluminum for the planters’ color; the MMP color mimics the look of our more expensive metal-infused pots, yet the MMP painted colors won’t change over time, unlike the real metals. This continuous color provides predictability for commercial applications.
The Lofts at River East is fabulous and enjoyed by tenants, their friends and families. One last quote from the article states,
Although the generous views to the
water and Chicago skyline are expansive,
the designers kept the scale human with
the outdoor rooms, diverse-sized furniture
groupings and plant selections.
It’s always inspiring when our products get noticed, especially when we’re on the winning team! Last month, I-Plants Urban Horticulture Magazine sponsored the 2017 International Design Contest. Johnson Fediw Associates is the publisher of I-Plants Urban Horticulture Magazine.
The 2017 Entries were judged by a panel of experts in landscaping, horticulture and design. Per I-Plants Magazine, the “entries were judged on the uniqueness and innovation of their design; innovative use of materials; appropriateness for the space; and satisfaction of the client.”
‘This project is unique for its design. This team really thought outside the box to bring their client and their visitors something truly special,’ says Kathy Fediw, LEED AP ID+C, CLP, CLT, publisher of I-Plants Magazine. ‘This innovative project is an inspiration to others in the design industry and really showcases what can be done.’
The Standard Club is a private club in the historic South Loop neighborhood of Chicago. It was established in 1869 and its mission is to create a membership of leaders who share a common bond of charitable, social and civic responsibility. On the Ledge approached management about adding additional seasonal containers at the main entrance to enhance the outdoor landscape of the club in keeping with the luxuriant detailing on the inside. The two existing containers did not provide enough of an impact to showcase this iconic building with its stately limestone façade.
…5 containers were specified to activate the entry and make it more attractive to members and potential newcomers. The repeating bays of the façade lent themselves to a symmetrical design where the long rectangular planters sit in the middle of each bay. The tall arborvitae shrubs help to give some scale to the massive bays and the annual flowers bring in a pop of color and cascade over the side. It is a very classic design to match the historic nature of the building.
Given the classical design of the building, the planters needed to fit in without clashing. We were able to match the color and texture of the façade with the natural sand finish and chaparral brown color. The other unique piece to this design is that the building spans almost the whole block so we had a very generous amount of space to work with. We were able to specify 6’ long planters that could support 3 arborvitae shrubs in each planter for a balanced, symmetrical design.
This design has been well received by guests of The Standard Club and has made a difference in the neighborhood, as other businesses have begun to follow suit. Big congratulations to Joanne Green and Juli Ordower for this wonderful project and for the honored First Place Award, well-deserved!
If you read our blog occasionally, you know that we like to go back and look at projects some time after they are installed. We believe that a project is more than just the pretty picture taken immediately after install, but also how the products withstand the weather, planting and maintenance. Back in October, Tournesol Siteworks exhibited at the ASLA ’16 in New Orleans, LA, and while there, we stopped to visit a project we participated in to view the final installation of our products.
The Botanical Garden living wall utilizes over 300 VGM3 planting modules. Each module is made from 100% recycled plastic, attached to stainless steel rails mounted to a wall or structure. After the modules are grown in (as shown above), they provide instant, complete coverage on any vertical surface. With the VGM System, root growth isn’t limited by restricting cells or baffles so, in turn, plants grow healthier and stronger.
We are thrilled that the Botanical Garden living walls are thriving and growing abundantly. The visitors and guests can enjoy this lush garden and beautiful fountain with each visit.
We were thrilled to see the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle Newspaper on April 12 (online April 11), featuring the Transbay Transit Center currently being built in busy downtown San Francisco. The Transbay Transit Center is more than just a rooftop park, it will be a huge city park at 5.4 acres and a quarter of a mile long, within one of the busiest city sections on the West Coast.
Tournesol Siteworks is thoroughly involved in this high profile project, as 192, 000 sq. ft our VersiCell sub-surface drainage panels were specified by PWP Landscape Architecture. In the SF Chronicle article titled “Transbay Transit Center rooftop turning into 5.4-acre City Park,” writer J.K. Dineen states,
The Transbay Transit Center is set to open late this year and will serve numerous bus lines, including AC Transit, Muni, Golden Gate Transit and Greyhound. It’s still unknown when it might connect to high-speed rail or Caltrain, which will operate the station, how much it will cost to operate, or what shops and restaurants will occupy the 100,000 square feet of retail space.
…But what is known is this: Tree by tree, San Francisco’s next significant public open space, a 5.4-acre green rooftop boxed in by towers of glass, is taking shape atop the transit center. And amid all the questions about the future of the transit center, it is the park — with its carefully curated collection of flora — that has the potential to make the project an attraction in the years before the trains arrive.
Our Versicell drainage panels were installed by contractors from McGuire and Hester out of Alameda, CA, just across the bay from San Francisco. VersiCell is a sub-surface drainage panel that provides the ultimate combination of strength and water flow capacity. The modular, connectable panels are frequently used in a variety of installations where fast, high-volume water flow is critical. In addition to sub-surface drainage, VersiCell is frequently used in place of heavy gravel aggregates for waterproofing membrane protection, for heat and sound insulation on structures, as a drainage channel, and on subterranean walls to prevent hydrostatic pressure buildup.
To read the entire SF Chronicle, Transbay Transit Center article, please click here. It is exciting to know that our VersiCell is highly inert, and won’t break down or crush over the life of this application, and that we are part of a project that will be enjoyed by people for decades.