Category Archives: Education

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.

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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.

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Urban Collection planters in Shark.

Parklet Project with an Ocean Theme

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Back in July, the Florida ASLA chapter event in Jacksonville, Florida, held a parklet competition for university students. The theme of the competition was the 100-year anniversary celebration of the National Parks Service. Tricia Keffer, Florida International University (FIU) student, reached out to Tournesol Siteworks. She is a student in the Master’s MLA program for Landscape Architecture and expects to graduate in spring 2018. Tricia asked if we would loan her and her team a few of our products to help build a parklet for their competition entry.

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Photo courtesy of Tricia Keffer

We were eager to help her team with the competition, since Tournesol Siteworks was exhibiting at the event and this was a good opportunity to present our products within our product loan program. For her team’s parklet, we provided our Thermally-Modified Boulevard Wood Structural Tiles with SpiraPave adjustable deck and paver supports. Our Boulevard Wood (shown in the photo below) goes through a process which 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.

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Photo courtesy of Tricia Keffer

Our Harlie Collection planter made of lightweight FRP Fiberglass also provided ambiance for the setting along with our South Chairs, one in a tall seat and one shorter-sized stool. Tricia’s blog about the contest can be found here: http://plantspeoplelove.com/flasla-16-parklet-competition. Kindly, she answered a few question regarding her inspiration and the competition entry.

“My inspiration was the Florida Keys, and the natural beauty of the waterfront areas and the underwater world. So I decided the National Marine Sanctuary would be my park to showcase. One day I passed by a store called “Ocean Gardens” in Islamorada. The name of the store was my design strategy. My idea was for people to experience the plant world that is underwater.”

“I did the planning, the design, and the building part. My fellow students from the student FL ASLA chapter pitched in with the chalk ‘underwater’ drawing on the front, the plants, and tweaking. It took about 2 hours to put it all together on site. It was a fun experience. ”

Photo courtesy of Tricia Keller

“I decided to enter the parklet competition because it was a great opportunity to meet and work with vendors. It was my first Landscape Architect conference and I really enjoyed working with your company. Actually seeing how the products were set up and the look and feel of them is handy for my future designs than just looking online. I think the decking in particular really brought the whole design together. The clean look and feel of the wood set the stage for the seating.”

We’re thrilled to have been part of Tricia’s team build for the parklet competition and, although she wasn’t the winner, we know she had a blast designing the parklet and displaying her skills and talent in landscape architecture. We wish her all the best in her upcoming career.

 

 

Hey, Kool-Aid!! TWIG finds its way to Nebraska

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Tournesol Siteworks recently had the opportunity to collaborate with Brian Pecka, landscape architect with Big Muddy Workshop, in their design for the town of Hastings, Nebraska. Hastings is known as the place where Kool-Aid was invented in 1927 and still celebrates that event with an annual festival in August. The festival takes place on the Hastings Campus of Central Community College.

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Recently, a new seating plaza was unveiled outside the CCC’s Student Union Hall. Big Muddy Workshop used five of our TWIG Benches – they were looking for an organic shape and feel to break up the harsh lines of the plaza’s concrete surface. They worked on the project with Wilkins Architecture Design & Planning (WAEP), an architectural firm out of Kearney, Nebraska. General Contractor for the installation was Lacy Construction Company, from Grand Island.

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The TWIG Benches help create a highly configurable, modular seating system which promotes social interaction and a casual environment. TWIG originated with Street and Garden Furniture, our partner down under, in a design by Alexander Lotersztain. The benches are made from lightweight GFRC concrete.

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A concealed mount bracket keeps the bench in place with epoxy anchors. The TWIG Benches create a more dynamic space by breaking up the straight horizontal and vertical lines of other features in the plaza. At night, the seating plaza is lit up by the steel light posts creating a warm, lit effect across the space.

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The students actively use the seating area as a place to get outside and rest between classes, especially during nice weather. It is accessible in the front of the campus and the open shape of the TWIG creates a feeling of community.

Green student living at the Varsity-Berkeley

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The Varsity-Berkeley apartment building recently opened up in downtown Berkeley. The project, designed by Johnson-Lyman architects of Walnut Creek, is anticipated to mostly house students attending the nearby University of California. The building features a number of green elements, including solar power, a greenroof, not to mention an amenity deck for the residents designed by landscape architects Thomas Baak and Associates.
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The project was built  as an urban in-fill project by Brown Construction of Sacramento, replacing a repurposed church. We were fortunate to have been part of the design process, supporting Baak and Assocs. through the early phases, and then working  with Cima’s Landscape of Rancho Cordova as the project moved towards completion.

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The on-structure landscaping involved two parts of the building – a 5th floor non-accessible terrace with the green roof, solar panels and planters, and a 7th floor amenity deck. Our product was extensively used in both locations. The two pictures above show the amenity areas, which feature walkways and patio space on concrete pavers and our  Boulevard Wood tiles, all resting on our VersiJack pedestals. The finished deck level is approx. 8-12″ above the roof membrane.

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Our lightweight FRP  Wilshire Collection round and rectangular planters were used as accents and to organize space on the deck. The addition of our VertiGreen trellis to a Wilshire planter creates a Wilshire Screen, which was used to shield the perimeter.

IMG_7680The planters were also used as a location to hide the irrigation control valves, as shown in the image above. We frequently get questions from designers about what they can do with these, and we think this is a pretty good idea! The designers chose the relatively bold Oxide color for the project, which turned out well, especially with the other strong accent colors.

All of  the Wilshire rectangle planters were recessed below the finished deck level and placed on VersiJack pedestals below the deck level to allow drainage, rather than set on top of the Boulevard wood tiles. This is one of the larger applications of this new product, and we’re looking forward to seeing how they withstand the relatively challenging environment of student housing.

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We’ll look forward to getting updates to show you how they wear!

A Designer’s Delight: Our New Cafe & Casual Furniture Category

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As we’ve been introducing site furnishings into our lineup, designers keep asking for more – more mobile, more fun, more casual!  We dipped our toe into the water last year with theBase Collection table and stools, but now that we’ve joined in partnership with Luxxbox of Brisbane, Australia, we’re diving in the deep end!

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In addition to the cool Buzz Bike Bench and the enigmatic Rune lounge, Luxxbox features a range of stools, tables, benches and casual furniture. Head designer Jason Bird creates using bright, fun colors in lightweight materials, engineered for commercial-grade use. Their product provides a whole new dimension to our range, giving us more solutions for rooftop spaces in any kind of installation.

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The South Chair (shown above) recently was a finalist for the NYC Battery Conservancy’s  “Draw up a Chair” competition.

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Brisbane’s design scene is on the upswing – Jason and Luxxbox were recently featured in a fantastic article in Travel & Leisure magazine. Read the entire article about the design scene down under here.

Partnerships – from our Feb. email blast

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The first few months of 2014 have found us involved in quite a few conferences, workshops, training and sales meetings.  It’s great to be out contributing to these events. Our business, and just as importantly, our industry benefits from these valuable partnerships.

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Our year always starts off in Boston. Regional Sales Representative Brian Mitalo braved the polar vortex to attend New England Grows in collaborations with our local partner BISCO . It’s a great event that always sets the tone for the year. Not only do we get the chance to educate the local landscape community about what’s new, we also get to check the pulse on the New England market – find out who’s doing what! With heavy snow on day one, most contractors were out plowing – but day two turned out great. Boston is excited for our new Boulevard Wood Tiles !

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We were graciously invited again this year to our long-time distribution partner Ewing Irrigationfor their Employee Development Leadership Conference. This year they made it a trade show format, and close to 40 vendors attended this continuing education program for their staff. It was a great opportunity to share our new VGP tray-based living wall system and Root Solutions root barrier product with them. It was quite an event – they made sure each person visted every booth (over 300 people in all).

Just last week we were invited by Valleycrest Landcape Development , one of the largest landscape companies in the world, to present at their Chief Estimator’s Summit. We were in exclusive company – one of just a few companies invited. While we always enjoy sharing our products and experience, this was a great learning experience for us as well. Regional Sales Representative Jon Willingham and Chris Lyon were able to spend time and get the unique perspective that they have to the market.

Speaking of partnerships, we’ve had a great one going over the years with Brigham Young University . For almost 20 years, we have worked with Bruce Maw, the Landscape Architect for the university, on major  projects  and architectural revisions to their magnificent campus in the Utah Valley. With nearly 640 acres under his purview, he has the drive  to create unique spaces throughout the campus, and we are honored to be able  to help him achieve his vision.

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During a recent visit to the campus, we noticed that our Craftsman Collection  were used in their new visitors center. The metal infused, “hand-hammered” copper mimics the intent of arts-and-craft master, Dirk van Erp, on whose work the collection was based. Prior to this installation, our aluminum metal-infused Wilshire planters were used at the expansion of the Marriott School of Management building.

Next up is the new Life Sciences building. Tournesol Siteworks will be providing a number of planters to be used on the rooftop level.  The $950-million dollar project is due to open in the fall of 2014, and will represent a new anchor to southern end of the campus with 265,000 feet of classroom, state-of-the-art lab facilities, auditorium and atrium. We’ve worked with Bruce and his staff for a long time, and we’re always excited when an opportunity like this happens on campus.

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Our 2014 Lookbook & Catalog dropped on Feb 12.  Not to be missed is one of our favorite fresh items  – The Harlie Collection planter. Sticking with our theme of partnerships, this planter comes to us by way of our new collaboration with Australian designer,  Luxxbox . This faceted shape draws on gemology and mathematical principles with a playful edge.

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Altogether, the catalog features over 20 new products and all our product categories – Site Furnishings, Pots & Planters, Deck & Paver Supports, Green Walls & Roofs, Container Irrigation and Root Control & Drainage.  You also find technical information, complete product listings, material finishes and gorgeous installation images. If you missed out on receiving one, please send us an emailcatalog@tournesolsiteworks.com. Alternately, you can download a copy  tournesolsiteworks.com/uploads/cmsfiles/Tournesol_Siteworks_2014.pdf .

In addition, we encourage you to look for our ad placements with media partners, Landscape Architecture  and Architectural Record . Each month we  highlight a unique product, and invite you to “explore your options” with Tournesol Siteworks.

 

All the Buzz at Museum of Craft & Design

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We had an exciting night last Friday at the Museum of Craft and Design in SF. Our Buzz Bench was selected to be part of the New West Coast Design 2 exhibit highlighting experimental works in traditional and new materials. We were thrilled to be included with the other architects, industrial and interiors designers, design groups and craft artists working with advance technologies. Curated by Kathleen Hanna and Ted Cohen, this exhibit “focused on the design process itself and how this impulse is manifested by a wide variety of individuals.”

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In our case, it was the the humble bike rack that required a significant re-think. As our urban environment continues to develop, so too does activity around bicycle commuting. And so, the Buzz Bike Bench by Jason Bird of Luxxbox in Brisbane, Australia was developed. As a lifestyle element that can allow large numbers of bikes to parked and locked, it also functions as a meeting place for the urban warrior to sit, relax,  or simply spend some time in the community – the Buzz of city life.

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Hanging Out at the World’s Largest Living Wall

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The living wall at the Singapore Institute of Technology & Education - images courtesy of Victor Tan, Elmich
The living wall at the Singapore Institute of Technology & Education – images courtesy of Victor Tan, Elmich

I’m in Singapore right now, visiting with our partners at Elmich. Each time I visit here I’m struck by the amazing investments the country continues to pile into their infrastructure. The local joke: What’s the state bird of Singapore?  A: The crane! Construction is everywhere, and it is a robust mix of public and private. It isn’t just putting up buildings, either – the investment extends to landscape, parks, and public transportation. I made a brief visit yesterday to Gardens by the Bay, which if you follow architecture or landscape architecture, you probably have heard of. It’s an amazing botanical adventure, adjoining the architectural masterpiece that is the Marina Barrage I wrote about here. Continue reading Hanging Out at the World’s Largest Living Wall

TWIG Bench named Architectural Record Top Pick

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We were delighted to find out that our product was selected by a jury of architects, interior designers, and product specialists as one of Architectural Record’s products of the year.  Not only that, but when we went to view the slide presentation, we saw that it had been named “top pick” in the furnishings group. This meant that of all the products submitted, we had made it to the final 5 – and that the group liked it better than everything else!!  This is an extremely prestigious list, and we’re proud of the award.

The TWIG has been a best-selling product in Australia and throughout Europe.  Now that Tournesol has brought it to the US, there’s no reason to think it isn’t going to do just as well here. Obviously, the Arch. Record jury agrees!

TWIG benches in the courtyard at Anna Head Housing, UC Berkeley

So far we have TWIG installions at UC Berkeley and American River College in Sacramento (both in California).  Several other projects, including a Los Angeles retro-style office park, a residence hall at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, and a public park in Rapid City, South Dakota are all underway. We’ll add pictures as we can.

Thanks again, McGraw-Hill and Architectural Record!!

 

Minneapolis Children’s Center gets Living Wall

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Visitors examine the Center’s ‘living wall,’ which is fed by stored rainwater and helps keep the south wall of the building cooler. Photos courtesy of Metrocouncil.org

We’ve been working with the Seward Child Care Center in Minneapolis since last year to put a living wall at their cooperative children’s center. We knew it wasn’t a big project, but we’ve been watching it closely to see how the wall survives the Minnesota winters. This is the big question in the living wall community, because no one wants to be the first to put the investment and effort into a large exterior living wall, and watch it die each winter. We provided their team with our VGM-10 living wall modules, which have an 8″ soil profile. While no amount of insulation is going to keep a living wall in Minneapolis from freezing during the winter, we know that the 10″ VGM will help keep the plants from riding a freeze/thaw merry-go-round. Continue reading Minneapolis Children’s Center gets Living Wall