Category Archives: Multi-Family Residential

San Francisco Shipyard Coming to Life

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The Hunters Point Naval Shipyard area in San Francisco, CA, is being transformed and will eventually be a residential extension of the Bayview neighborhood. This part of the city is up and coming, and is part of the city that outsiders see most rarely. The first phase of construction began in 2014, and first completed was a beautiful park for the community to enjoy. There will be residential housing that encompasses 800 units, and 20 acres of parks. Five residential units have been completed so far in this construction zone, and three more are underway, designed by four different architectural firms.

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One of the firms, Ian Birchall and Associates, specified Tournesol Siteworks products for the four-story condo building they designed. We referred to the project as Block 51 which has a large courtyard, accessible from the street. Inside the courtyard, IBA designed a modern wall of green vegetation beginning with our Wilshire Box Hanging Planters. Landscape contractors Shooter & Butts, Inc. installed the hanging planters on a metal wall with metal trellises where vines grow/climb up the wall.

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Courtyard of Block 51, Wilshire Box Hanging Planters

We design the hanging planters so that the product doesn’t take center stage – we prefer the plants steal the show. The hanging brackets are powder coated with stainless mounting studs. The brackets tuck into the back of the box, so the planter can snug up next to the wall.

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The plants quickly grow and expand onto the trellis screens. Using our WB-1218 (12″W x 18″H in, 72″L and 96″L) boxes maximizes the room the plants can grow. Typically, the more soil there is in a pot, the bigger the plant will get (the roots expand as much as the upper part of the plant will). IBA also chose various sizes of our lightweight FRP Fiberglass planters from our Wilshire Collection now located around the perimeter of the building.

The installation looks amazing and we’re sure the tenants will enjoy their surroundings full of warmth and color.

 

 

TWIGs Calm on Roof Deck Zen Garden

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In Fairfax County, northern Virginia, sits the town of Merrifield, surrounded by highways on all sides. Merrifield has undergone an amazing amount of reconstruction and changes, and has basically been reinvented since the late 1990’s until now. It used to be known as a “suburban wasteland,” yet is now home to new neighborhoods, great restaurants, retail and office spaces, hotels, and shops. One neighborhood in particular is the 31-acre Mosaic District.

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TWIG Bench at Modera Mosaic

We’re taking a fresh look at a project installed in this district about two years ago at the Mill Creek Residential Modera Mosaic Apartments. Modera collaborated with architects from SK & I Architectural Design Group out of Bethesda, MD, and landscape architects from Parker Rodriquez, Inc. from Alexandria, VA. Parker Rodriquez created an amazing Zen Garden in the apartment plaza on the 3rd floor roof deck.

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For the garden seating, Parker Rodriquez specified our modular TWIG  benches which were installed by landscape contractors from Ruppert Landscape, out of Gainesville, Virginia.  As part of the design, the TWIG benches were to be encompassed by the landscape and garden greenery (shown in the photo below). Apartments are on the perimeter of the roof deck, yet the center of the deck is a public space for gathering. It is a great achievement in the design, as residents are able to walk out of their own unit (each with sliding doors) to have their own private amenity space/garden, yet on a public roof deck.

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Lush greenery encompassing the TWIG bench

The TWIG bench originated with Street and Garden Furniture, our partner down under, in a design by Alexander Lotersztain. We make the TWIG bench from lightweight GFRC concrete. Since this is a rooftop application, the weight of the TWIG was a main consideration by Parker Rodriquez. However, it was a win-win situation because each bench only weighs 700 lbs. allowing for lower environmental footprint during shipping and installation.

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The 18 on-grade TWIG benches enhance this dynamic space.  Within many color options for the TWIG, Parker Rodriquez chose the color “Shark” in the Tier 2 Texture “Acid-Etch” – a nearly smooth, fine sand finish that is consistent, elegant and rich looking.

Another interesting feature of the TWIG benches is that they were used as retaining planting walls for the soil behind them, eliminating the need to pour concrete to hold the increased depth of soil for the landscaping.

This is a beautiful application and we were excited to see the fully grown, lush greenery, and the roof deck application where the tenants can enjoy their apartment community.

 

 

 

 

 

Rockin’ the Rooftops in Emeryville!

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Along the San Francisco Bay, sits the small city of EmeryvilIe, squeezed between Oakland and Berkeley. The city has risen from an industrial wasteland to a city encompassing major retailers, life science companies, fine dining, shopping, theaters, and pleasant neighborhoods. Emeryville’s economic growth has increased the need for multi-family development. One recently developed apartment community is located at the corner of 64th Street and Christie Avenue. The 190-unit, 5-story residential  complex was completed in 2014. We visited the project two years later to show you Tournesol Siteworks’ pots and planters highlighted on the rooftop, amenity deck and entrance to the building.

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The property was creatively designed by Steinberg Architects, who collaborated with landscape architects from The Guzzardo Partnership, both San Francisco-based firms. Guzzardo specified Tournesol Siteworks products for the project which required multiple planters from a few of our collections. Golden State Landscaping installed the planters and filled them with lush greenery and succulents for the tenants to enjoy.

From our Wilshire Collection, Guzzardo used 51 FRP fiberglass square planters – 24 in the color Royalty, 13 in Ivory and 14 in a custom color “Oxide Red.” For the texture, they chose the smooth, conventional finish of T-0. The red planters gracefully enhance (as shown below) the space on the rooftop.

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Also from our Wilshire Collection, they specified 38 of our Fiberglass FRP rectangular planters – 12 in the color Pitch (texture T-0) and 26 in Shadow. The rectangles in Shadow were placed along the perimeter of the roof deck and produced in the T-1 finish, which enhances the durability of the planter and helps to resist scratching.

From our Urban Collection, Guzzardo chose 17 square planters – eight in the color Pitch and nine in a custom color “Traffic Yellow.” The yellow planters have a T-0 smooth finish and were placed at the building’s entrance, offering a bright, colorful entry (as shown below).

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Our Downtown Collection FRP Fiberglass round planters, displayed in the photo below, were also ordered in “Oxide Red” (the same color used above) and Shadow with the T-1 texture (33 and 13, respectively).  The distinctive shapes were placed along the amenity deck and walls of the complex.

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Emeryville is rocking with this creatively designed, multi-family residential apartment building and we were thrilled to be part of such a large installation. It’s nice to revisit this project after a few years, to know the tenants are happy and to see that everything still looks great!

Custom Hearth Warms the Northwest

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Lately, the northwest has been jumping with projects and installations! Tournesol Siteworks has been involved with quite a few; one in particular is in Seattle’s South Lake Union district. This is a happening neighborhood near the Amazon campus that is full of commercial properties. The Radius, new apartments at 400 Boren Street, is a seven-story complex with over 280 units, and runs half of a city block at 43, 200 square feet. With more apartments now, the area is the epitome of the live, work, play Seattle lifestyle.

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Architecture and landscape architectural firm Weber Thompson, from Seattle, WA, created an amazing building containing private spaces, upper level terraces, large windows and an “E” shape design to the back of the building allowing light and air flow. On the rooftop and amenity decks on the third, eighth and ninth floors, Weber Thompson specified our Wilshire Collection  Fiberglass FRP round, square and rectangular shaped pots and planters in various dimensions. Weber also specified square and round lightweight GFRC Downtown Collection pots on the eighth and ninth floor amenity decks, installed by Compass Construction, Kirkland, WA.

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For the rooftop on the 9th floor, we engineered a custom hearth in lightweight GFRC per design specifications (as you can see in the photo above). Dimensions of the custom hearth are massive at 130″L x 64″W x 20″T, with 72″L x 25.25″W x 8.5″T recess in the center, including six 2″ x 12″ air intake. The center of the burner recess is hollow, so they used our adjustable VersiJack support pedestals and VersiJack Base Slope Correctors for easy access to conduit and electrical equipment, and to conceal these services below the hearth. The VersiJack pedestal‘s broad, stable base can support more weight than any other pedestal system.

On the ground floor, near the main entrance to the building, Weber Thompson wanted to plant a tree but didn’t want to exceed certain height limits, due to the windows, and the soil depth needed for the tree roots. Their solution was to place our Wilshire round planter inside a cast-in-place concrete planter (as shown in the photo above) to allow the tree’s soil depth to increase yet not exceed the window height requirements.

Weber Thompson created a wonderful structure on this architectural and landscape design project and we were happy to be involved. The neighborhood is booming and the beauty of this project speaks for itself.

Yes, Yesler Terrace, on Your Way

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Seattle is an amazing city!  One part of Seattle’s downtown community is Yesler Terrace, originally built in 1941 as the city’s first subsidized housing area. It is centrally located close to jobs and transit options, and holds beautiful views of Mt. Rainier and downtown. Originally built as a low-income area, it’s newly being redeveloped into a mixed-income neighborhood.

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Raven Terrace is an 83 unit multi-family residential community designed by Weber Thompson, Architecture and Landscape Architecture firm, and built by Walsh Construction Company. It was completed in Dec. ’15 and unveiled this month (Feb. ’16). Weber Thompson specified four of Tournesol Siteworks’ highly-configurable TWIG benches and a slew of our Wilshire Collection rectangular and squares planters.

The installation our Tournesol’s material was handled by Cerna Landscape Inc., landscape contractors out of Renton, WA. Eight of our rectangular Wilshire lightweight concrete pots were custom ordered in sizes to fit exactly where desired, in the Sandblast texture and Shadow color. A few more of the square Wilshire planters were specified in the custom color “Amber Wave,” (the lighter tan color shown below), and were manufactured in FRP fiberglass with a smooth T-0 texture. The last few pots were FRP with T-0  in the color Puddle, including the 60″ round planter holding a tree within a larger planter area.

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Four of our GFRC concrete TWIG benches were installed as a focal point in the center area. The TWIG benches are a modular seating system, with each bench holding up to five people. The inclusion of our TWIG benches allows the neighbors the opportunity to stop and chat.

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The Yesler Terrace is an exciting, on-going project for Seattle (and especially for us) which may take quite a few years to complete, but it’s well on its way!

Holiday Color at One Museum Park

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One Museum Park soars 720 feet above Chicago overlooking Lake Michigan and is a stunning piece of the world famous skyline. The building is located on Lake Shore Drive opposite the Field Museum of Natural History and Soldier Field. This summer, Tournesol Siteworks had the opportunity to participate in a project for beautifying the East Pool Deck and entrance to the building.IMG_8395

We were contacted by Woodlawns Landscape Company who chose various square, round and rectangular planters from our FRP Fiberglass Urban Collection. The sleek, modern and elegantly proportioned lightweight Urban Collection pots and planters add a touch of style to the Pool Deck.


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For the texture, they chose the smooth, conventional finish of T-0 with an MMP Aluminum paint color. The Metal Matched Paint, unlike the real metals, won’t change over time and will continue to provide predictability and stability.

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They placed our matching Fiberglass Skirted Saucers under each Urban Collection planter, depending on the size of the base. For a beautiful winter display, Woodlawns Landscape Company recently replaced the greenery and replanted holiday arrangements to accentuate the entrance to the building and our elegant planters.

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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!

It’s Tuesday – where am I??

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Roofdecks at the CCDC project (using our planter liners), Washington DC

“Why do all the industry trade shows get stacked on top of one another?”, I found myself thinking after ten days on the road. The last six weeks have been full of travel & conferences – Bond MultiFamily (a meetup of architects & product manufacturers specializing in multi-family residential construction) in April, followed by the mid-year meeting of the Landscape Architecture Foundation in Washington DC in early May.  The photo above was taken of the CCDC project in Washington during the LAF meeting. We provided planter liners for the roofdeck gardens for this spectacular project – we’ll feature it in a blog post soon.

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Visiting with designers at the HD Expo in Las Vegas – the South Chair in white, the Pillow Chair in orange

From there it was on to trade shows – Over the past two weeks we’ve exhibited at the American Institute of Architects National Convention (Atlanta), the Hospitality Design Expo (Las Vegas), the International Contemporary Furniture Fair (in New York with our partners from Luxxbox), and finally RECon (Las Vegas), the exhibition of the Intenational Council of Shopping Centers.

We met with well over 500 architects, interior designers, landscape architects and shopping center owners/managers.  There’s nothing like listening to your existing and potential customers – enlightening, to say the least.

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Viewing installed GFRC Urban Collection planters at the Linq, Las Vegas

 

Some of the highlights from the shows:

The South Chair and the Pillow Chair (see photo below). Both come in bright, interesting colors which grab designer’s attention. We knew that bright colors were in – but this confirmed it. While very different in execution, they herald our entrance into the cafe and casual furniture business.

Combine wood with brightly colored metal or concrete and people will notice it. Our Boulevard wood, whether in planters, furnishings or flooring, was the clear star of the show. The sustainable story, combined with its natural good looks makes it easy to get excited about.

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Tournesol partner James Shaffer of Streetscapes with an architect in our booth at RECon – The South Chair in black and berry, the Pillow Chair in orange

We’ve traditionally found our “sweet spot” with landscape architects.  Nevertheless, architects have been showing greater interest in the range of products we offer – especially living walls, wood decking and pedestals, Wilshire Box hanging planters and VersiCell drainage panel.  Being at the AIA convention was a great experience this year.

A surprise from this series of shows was the number of commercial interior designers that actively specify products in our markets. We met several that have specified us in the past (especially in the hospitality business), and most really like the work we do. It was a great reminder that our reach is sometimes greater than we think!

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Checking out the recent installation of Brisbane benches featuring Boulevard wood near Las Vegas

GFRC concrete fits this multi-family residential project

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We wanted to share a project in our own backyard that we particularly like.

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Ambassador Residences in Emeryville, CA

Designed by Cliff Lowe Assoc., this was one of those projects that was conceived prior to the downturn, then mothballed for several years. We are glad to have been able to be part of the revival. Multi-family residential communities are the backdrop for a lot of the work that we do. They are demanding in terms of traffic and abuse, so demand something that wears as well as it looks!

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Installed by our friends at Cohen Landscape (a division of Celtis Group), the project features our lightweight GFRC concrete containers, including the Downtown and Wilshire Collections, in a variety of sizes and shapes.

To create a visually interesting display, the design called for the Downtown pots in 24″, 36″ and the enormous 60″ sizes, as well as a large number of Wilshire rectangles 72 x 24 x 24. All of the pots were completed in our acid-etch finish in the shark color.

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The containers have a natural stone feel that fit well with the modern design aesthetic. It’s a look and feel that can’t be replicated in painted fiberglass – the reason that we manufacture in both FRP and lightweight concrete.

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While providing durability and value, these light-weight planters hold up to the rigors of an high-traffic, multi-family landscape. A great example of what we do every day!

Revisiting the past – How our pots hold up

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Jon Willingham, our regional sales rep in Southern California, recently was at a meeting in Long Beach and realized he wasn’t far from one of the first projects he worked on when he joined the company in 2009. He stopped by to see what the project looks like today, and how our product is holding up.

100_1949The project was known at the time as  The Lofts @ Third & Promenade, but is now simply referred to as The Lofts at Promenade. It was designed by Jon Cicchetti Landscape Architects and installed by Enzo Caserta Landscaping. Both their teams have done a lot of work with us over the years, and have proven to be very valuable partners.

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Our Urban Collection pots, in 36″, 30″ and 24″ squares, as well as 24″ and 48″ rectangles, continue to look great five years later. The tricky thing about fiberglass pots and planters is that nearly all of them, no matter the quality, look good when they go in. The mark of a quality product is how they hold up over time.

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When we started manufacturing large planters in fiberglass in 2003 there weren’t many quality lightweight options available. We understood the needs of commercial designs – pots have to look good, hold up, and not be a headache for the owner. We started with walls twice as thick as the typical fiberglass products available at the time, and applied a high-quality paint system to make sure that it looked good for the life of the project.

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We’re proud of the work we’ve done, and continue to look in on our jobs to make sure that they are performing to our standards. Since this project was installed we’ve continued our lead in the commercial landscape market, moving on to add lightweight GFRC concrete to the lightweight materials we manufacture in. Jon W. was happy to see the pots he sold when he started were still looking good – and so are we.