Category Archives: Projects

Transbay Transit Center – VersiCell in SF’s Upcoming Park

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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.

 

 

 

Beautiful Roof Deck Above Chicago’s Fulton Market

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On the 7th floor of the building at 1000 West Fulton Market in Chicago, IL lies an amazing roof deck. The project, named 1K Fulton, contains an immense roof deck and amenity space designed by site landscape architects principal Hana Ishikawa. This Chicago based firm created a beautiful roof deck setting encompassing green roof plantings, decking, planters and site furnishings, where the building’s tenants can gather at any time to enjoy the Chicago skyline.

Photo credit Scott Shigley Photography

At the beginning of this project, Hana and her team started with a clean slate and began the conceptual designs for the rooftop before a tenant was found. As the design progressed, a tenant with a series of specific requirements leased the space. Site revised the design to meet the client’s needs, LEED requirements, as well as the city’s construction stipulations. Site was also challenged to correctly configure the occupancy of the roof deck due to the fact that the amenity deck had only two exits. A complicated project!

Photo credit Scott Shigley Photography

Another challenge was the client’s desire to shift the focus of the deck away from the building and toward the skyline. Site divided the roof deck with grasses,planters, seating areas, and screened the side of the deck along the building. Site specified Tournesol Siteworks’ Wilshire Collection planters which allowed Hana to divide the large areas into sub-areas for more privacy and helped direct the roof deck visitors’ viewing area away from the building and onto the city skyline.

Photo credit Scott Shigley Photography

The 72″L x 72″W x 42″H Wilshire planters were installed by Robert Ebl, Inc., out of Carol Stream, IL.Illino Of the 43 specified planters, 42 of them contained scoops, one of our planter options. Scoop is a feature added to Wilshire Collection planters that allows multiple individual modular units to appear to form a continuous planting area. Adjacent planter walls are lowered and may be sealed in the field with the recommended Scoop Connection Kit, which allows for a continuous layer of soil and planting above.

Photo credit Scott Shigley Photography

Custom Metal Designs – Percival Landing Park

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In January 2017, Tournesol Siteworks acquired FairWeather Site Furnishings, with a facility located in Port Orchard, WA. With the acquisition comes new products and installations from across the country that Tournesol can now provide. The Washington facility will be our base for metal and wood fabrication. As we’re getting to know FairWeather, we’re enjoying and sharing the stories of projects and installations.

Percival Landing table and chairs with custom branded design

The City of Olympia Parks and Recreation Department, in Olympia, Washington, undertook a revitalization project to Percival Landing Park. Percival Landing is one of three waterfront parks, located on the southern-most tip of Puget Sound. The park is a wonderful community meeting place for social interactions and celebrations, with a playground and boardwalk along the shoreline.

Per the City of Olympia’s website:

“Percival Landing Park was named after the old commercial steamship wharf, a well-known maritime landmark in the Pacific Northwest. The original dock, built by Sam Percival in 1860, was operated by the Percival Family. The first phase of Percival Landing, as we know it today, was completed and opened in 1978, phase two in 1985, and phase three in 1988.”

Kip Summers, Project Engineer for the City of Olympia Parks & Rec Dept., wanted to make products specifically for the Percival Landing project. Kip collaborated with FairWeather engineers to customize the Terrace Cafe’ Collection tables and chairs with “Percival Landing” laser cut into the table tops and the chair seats (shown below). The laser cut metal option is a wonderful addition to Tournesol Siteworks’ product lines, including memorial plaques, logos for decoration and customized additions.

Laser cut design

Many Terrace collection benches were installed in the playground area of Percival Landing, yet were specifically customized. The city project engineers wanted to ensure playground safety so the lengths of the benches legs were extended and mounted to the subsurface ten inches beneath the playground safety surface.

The community of Olympia enjoys the waterfront park’s restoration and were thrilled to maintain its historical significance. Percival Landing brings a peaceful environment that is welcoming and restful.

Taking care of (someone else’s) business…

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One of the most important things that Tournesol Siteworks offers is the promise to make sure that things are correct. Recently a project came to our attention that demonstrated that commitment.

The project in question was a mixed-use development in Oakland, completed in the Summer of 2016. Our Wilshire Collection planters had been specified both on a second-floor terrace area as well as along the corners of the main structure.

Wilshire Collection Square and Rectangular Planters

Northern California has had quite a rainy season so far. Shortly after it started, our regional sales manager Troy Nottingham received a call from the landscape contractor on the project, complaining about leaking and deforming pots. We quickly contacted our local distributor to figure out exactly what we sold on the project.

Before we got the information from the distributor, the general contractor escalated the issue by emailing us, the specifying landscape architect, owner, and everyone else. Troy adjusted his schedule and visited the project the next day to assess the situation.

Wilshire Collection Rectangular and Square Planters

It was a fairly simple answer – there were 60″L x 18″W x 36″H planters at the corners of the project, and the ones facing west had nothing to block the rain. The pots were plumbed for irrigation, but not drainage, and were filling up with water. As they filled, the walls flexed out significantly, something that won’t typically happen with our containers. In addition, the caulk seal around the irrigation penetration wasn’t holding, and water was leaking out.

Troy followed up the site visit with a full report to the landscape architect, general contractor, and landscape contractor. He gave an analysis of the problem, and provided several suggestions to relieve the stress on the containers and solve the problem.

The next week he called the project manager for the landscape contractor, and asked about the next steps. Sheepishly, the contractor admitted that Tournesol had provided the pots for the second-floor terrace (which were doing just fine), but that they had gone to another manufacturer for the ones on the ground floor(!). He hadn’t realized it initially when calling us, only finding out after speaking with their purchaser.

We were of course relieved to know that it wasn’t our product that was the issue. It’s also good to know that when contractors feel that something is wrong, they can count on us to make it right. However, we’d prefer not to have to troubleshoot someone else’s problem!

 

VGM Greenwall Withstands Force of a Super-Typhoon

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Back in October, the city of Xiamen in Southeast China was hit by super typhoon ‘Meranti,’ one of the strongest typhoons of 2016. The typhoon was at category two as it crossed Taiwan, and weakened slightly as it hit the mainland. Elmich, our partners in greenwall products, had previously installed a VGM greenwall system on JI Hotel Xiamen’s facade  that measures 2, 360 sq. ft.

VGM Greenwall Before the Typhoon

The typhoon had wind speeds of approx. 87 mph recorded as it blasted through Xiamen. After the typhoon, they discovered that the enormous VGM greenwall (including plants!) withstood the typhoon- see the photo below. From Elmich’s blog post:

Super typhoon ‘Meranti’ made landfall in Xiamen City, Fujian with a wind gust speed of around 170 km/h bringing heavy downpours and causing major disruptions to the electricity and water supplies affecting more than 3.2 million homes located in the region.

Elmich VGM mounting system is equipped with anti-lift arms and proprietary anchoring pilaster system, and certified by independent international test authority to withstand wind uplift from various directions up to 110km/h.

In this application, the real test of nature has proven that a product of quality can withstand the strongest typhoon.

 

VGM Greenwall After the Typhoon

The results of the green wall remaining in pristine condition is remarkable and attributes to the durability of the products. The VGM3 is a 100% recycled plastic planting module, attached to stainless steel rails mounted to a wall or structure. Once grown in it provides instant, complete coverage of any vertical surface. With the VGM System, root growth isn’t limited by restricting cells or baffles, thus plants grow healthier and stronger.

For more information regarding the Green Wall at JI Hotel Xiamen, click here.

From Puritans to Park Benches

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Tournesol Siteworks recently acquired FairWeather Site Furnishings, with a facility located in Port Orchard, WA. With the acquisition comes new products and installations from across the country that Tournesol can now provide. The Washington facility will be our base for metal and wood fabrication. We’re getting to know FairWeather and are thrilled to share the stories of their business ventures across the country. Here’s another story of how the site furnishings helped restore a community park.

Photo courtesy of Shadley Associates

Malden, MA, is a city which can be traced all the way back to the Puritans who settled on the land purchased in 1629 from the Native American Pennacook Tribe. Malden was the first town to petition the colonial government to withdraw from the British Empire, and became an incorporated city in 1882.

Today, Malden contains South Broadway Park, a recently renovated 5-acre park located on Maplewood Street on the city’s east side. The City and Malden Redevelopment Authority (MRA) brought public and private companies together in order to fund this multi-million dollar park improvement project.

Plaza Collection Benches – photo courtesy of Shadley Associates

At the early stages of the park design, landscape architects at Shadley Associates, out of Lexington, MA, chose FairWeather for the capability of the curved benches in the Plaza Collection (shown in the photo above). They wanted to curve the benches around sections of the park and the Plaza Collection was the answer. Four sets of custom, curved steel benches in powder coated Walnut Brown were installed by R.A.D. Sports, from of Rocklin, MA.

Photo courtesy of Shadley Associates

Later in the project, Shadley Associates also added multiple benches from the Esplanade Collection powder coated in Cardinal Red. The Esplanade benches are fabricated with 1/2″ solid round bar fully welded to specially designed brackets. The red color really pops and brings the park to life!

According to the city of Malden’s website, South Broadway Park was renamed “the Richard C. Howard Park in honor of the former Mayor whose leadership and many accomplishments has left a lasting footprint on the City of Malden.”

Benches from Biloxi to Jupiter

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Tournesol Siteworks recently acquired FairWeather Site Furnishings, with a facility located in Port Orchard, WA. With the acquisition, comes new products and installations from across the country that Tournesol can now provide. The Washington facility will be our base for metal and wood fabrication.

Pacifica Collection bench  at JupiterFIRST Church’s Serenity Garden

We’ve learned a lot about the company as we’ve gotten to know them. One story we love is how a bench in Biloxi inspired a specification in Florida. FairWeather was specified and provided 20 of the Pacifica Collection benches for a project at the Gulf-Biloxi Regional Airport in Mississippi. The Pacifica benches were installed by Yates Construction and each 6 ft. backed bench was fabricated with 1/2″ x 2″ curved steel bar. The seat sections were fabricated with 1/4″ x 1-1/2″ steel straps.

Pacifica Bench at Gulf-Biloxi Regional Airport, MS

Landscape architect Howard F. Ostrout of Howard F. Ostrout and Associates of Jupiter, FL, was traveling through the airport and sat on one of the benches and thought to himself, “this is one of the most comfortable benches I’ve ever sat on.”

Curved Pacifica benches at JupiterFIRST Church’s Serenity Garden

Fast forward a couple of years to when JupiterFIRST Church in Jupiter, FL, contacted Mr. Ostrout to design a Serenity Garden for the church. He remembered how comfortable he was while sitting on the benches at the Gulf-Biloxi Airport so he reached out to FairWeather to use the same benches for the design.

Straight Pacifica bench at JupiterFIRST Church’s Serenity Garden

Howard requested modification of the Pacifica benches to match his concept for the design of the Serenity Garden. FairWeather changed the orientation of the steel straps in order for some of the benches to be curved, and added custom ergonomic seat sections.  The garden includes 6 curved and 10 straight steel strap benches in powder-coated Burgundy. JupiterFIRST Church continues to enjoy the beautiful surrounding of the Serenity Garden today.

 

Tournesol Siteworks Acquires FairWeather Site Furnishings

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Tournesol Siteworks of Union City announced that it has acquired the assets of Leader Manufacturing, Inc., based in Port Orchard, WA. Leader has been selling a wide range of metal and wood site furnishings since 1980 under the FairWeather brand name.

Austin 360 project, Austin, TX

Tournesol Siteworks has become one of the largest manufacturers of commercial-grade pots, planters and other landscape accessories in the country, and has experienced four years of 30% sales growth. This year, it was nominated for the Association of Corporate Growth “Outstanding Growth Awards” by the Bay Area chapter. Tournesol currently operates plants in Union City, El Paso, TX, and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The Port Orchard facility will be the base for metal and wood fabrication for the company. Several current activities will be relocated to the new facility.

Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL

FairWeather is a vertically-integrated manufacturer with an experienced production team, which complements Tournesol’s current capabilities in FRP fiberglass and lightweight GFRC concrete. With the acquisition Tournesol will gain the capacity to competitively manufacture products for the commercial landscape marketplace in any commercially-required material.

According to Christopher Lyon, President of Tournesol Siteworks, “this acquisition makes us into the broadest-category manufacturer in the commercial landscape marketplace, and will allow us to open up a whole new front for product development. The existing FairWeather focus on product quality and customer service fits well with ours, and should simplify the integration.”

Richard and Cathy Flaherty, co-owners of FairWeather, are delighted with the opportunity that Tournesol Siteworks presents to its employees, and potential growth for the FairWeather and FairWinds brands of site furniture. While the Flaherty’s have been approached, several times regarding acquisition, Tournesol was the first company that presented the size, vision and culture that was a strong fit with the principles and ethics they had set for the past 27 years. The sale to Tournesol was a natural next step for the evolution of the brand.

City of Kent, WA

Employees at both locations are excited about the new opportunity. We’ll feature more FairWeather furnishings in future blog posts – stay tuned to find out more!

IUPUI Campus Refresh with Downtown, Urban and Zena

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This year, Tournesol Siteworks had the opportunity to help update the exterior of the Indiana University-Purdue University (IUPUI) campus, located in Indianapolis, Indiana. IUPUI is an urban public research university campus which houses Indiana’s two top, brilliant universities – Purdue and Indiana University. We visited back in August and captured a few great images at the campus.

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Downtown Collection planters in Shark at the IUPUI campus.

Landscape architects with Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf (BDMD), out of Indianapolis, specified our planters to help update and refresh the northwest corner of the campus that sits in the downtown area of the city. While collaborating with the university’s maintenance crew, BDMD choose planters from three of our popular collections – Downtown, Urban and Zena Collection.

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Downtown Collection planters in White.

All three of the collections were manufactured in lightweight GFRC concrete which is sturdy, but without the weight. When picking the texture, they considered the high traffic areas where the planters would be placed, and the wear and tear they would sustain. Our Tier 1, Natural Sand 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.

zena
Zena Collection planter in Shadow.

An update and refresh will continue to take place moving forward, as the university replaces and freshens up the campus. BDMD has done a nice job so far bringing modernity to the exterior of the buildings. We look forward to possibly working with them in the new year.

urban-square
Urban Collection planters in Shark.

Miracle on 34th St – Blast from the Past!

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This week, our Northeast Sales Manager, Phil Sheldon, was in New York visiting a few customers. He had an opportunity to revisit our products on the streets of New York, that we delivered nearly 15 years ago, and see how well the planters are holding up.

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34th St. Partnership Planters NYC

Back in 2002, we rotationally molded custom LLD polyethylene planters for the 34th St. partnership, a business improvement district in midtown Manhattan. We began working with their designer, Ignacio Ciocchini, as he was looking at various materials for the pots. He started the discussion assuming the pots would be made in FRP fiberglass. We convinced him that plastic could be done attractively, and be far more durable than the fiberglass.

34th-street-partnership-planters-nyc-3

The planters are still there and will celebrate 15-years on New York city streets. They look remarkably fresh, given the traffic levels that they have to withstand. They all look like they could use a good cleaning (lots of splotches, likely from dirt that has splashed up from the sidewalk or the street). Because we used a custom green matrix finish, the dirt isn’t as noticeable as it would be on a solid-color pot.

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Planters in front of Penn Station, NYC

The planters see a lot of abuse and are subject to everything that happens on the sidewalk. They are in many places, in front of hotels with the luggage carts that may bump into them, as well as Madison Square Gardens above Penn Station. Even with all the abuse, the planter units have very little scuffing or physical damage – just a lot of grime.

34th-street-partnership-planters-nyc-1

These pots replaced custom cast concrete planters, that only lasted a few years. That is a testament (a miracle, have you) to the durability of the material in a extremely taxing environment!