Category Archives: Root Barrier and Drainage

TWIG Benches and Urban Planters in Walnut Creek, CA

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The Pacific Plaza in Walnut Creek, California, is an office property of CBRE which offers tenants unobstructed views of nearby Mount Diablo. Recently, the exterior landscape received a renovation to modernize and refresh the building, and to increase the curb appeal. Gates & Associates Landscape Architecture was the specifier and chose Tournesol Siteworks‘ products for the project.

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White TWIG Benches with Urban Collection rectangular planters

Gates chose our Urban Collection planters with matching container irrigation. Along with the planters, Gates liked our TWIG benches in lightweight GFRC concrete. The three TWIG benches are highly configurable, modular seating that presents a pleasant, casual area in the front entrance of the Pacific Plaza. The installation of the planters and benches was completed by Brightview Landscape Development.

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Round Urban Collection White Planters

Various sizes of our lightweight FRP Fiberglass Urban Collection round planters were arranged, and 15 Urban Collection rectangles measuring 36″ x 24″ x 24″. Inside the white planters, matching CWM Modular Self-Watering Systems reduce maintenance and are designed for use in any large planter, freestanding or otherwise. Reservoir modules are linked together and buried within the pot. The hand-filled reservoir utilizes Tournesol Siteworks’ vacuum-sensor system to precisely monitor the soil moisture in the container, giving plants exactly the amount of water they need.

Gates & Associates also specified our Drainage Control Products, which are used to evacuate planters where no drainage can be tolerated (such as this plaza), provide overflow for excess water, and control drainage. Our Drainage Systems are designed to integrate with our irrigation and containers, yet can also work well with pots or planters from any manufacturer. We now feature a special level of waterproofing (called TourneSeal) for critical applications like this.

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Pacific Plaza Front Entrance

Gates & Associates created a nice, comfortable atmosphere at the Pacific Plaza and we were happy to have been chosen as part of this landscape remodel.

 

A 1-acre Public Park, 11 Stories Up!

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Philadelphia, PA, recently welcomed its first elevated public park, Cira Green. This project was recently featured on Greenroof.com as their “Project of the Week” post. Cira Green, a 1.25 acre urban park, is located 11 stories above street level and is part of a larger mixed-use development project in the Cira Centre South neighborhood in the University City District.

Photo Courtesy of Roofmeadow

The park offers much needed open public green space with amazing views of the Philadelphia skyline and the Schuylkill Riverfront. Cira Green is also Philadelphia’s first blue-green roof, which can route storm water to the green roof areas.

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Photo Courtesy of Roofmeadow

Designed by Roofmeadow, a national designer of high-profile greenroof projects, Cira Green has a unique water storage system underneath its sloping lawn, swaying meadows and the pavers on the roof. That’s where Tournesol Siteworks comes in!

Photo Courtesy of Roofmeadow

At the beginning of the project, Roofmeadow specified 33,800 square feet of our VersiCell Drainage Panels to be placed underneath the greenroof. Sean’s Landscaping, Inc., the landscape contractor. installed the roof, stacked 30mm VersiCell two layers high at 16,900 sq. ft. per layer to create a 2-1/4” deep reservoir below the greenroof.

Photo Courtesy of Roofmeadow

The rigid VersiCell panels provide the ultimate combination of strength and high volume water flow capacity, especially when fast water-flowing is critical. Made of 100% recycled polypropylene, VersiCell rigid panels are highly inert, and won’t break down or crush over the life of a project. This is the same product recently used on the Whitney Museum terraces in NYC.

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Photo Courtesy of Roofmeadow

We love it when our product is the foundation of an amazing urban public space that will be enjoyed by the community for years to come!

 

 

 

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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The New Whitney Museum of American Art

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The Whitney Museum of American Art recently opened in a new building located in the Meatpacking District of lower Manhattan, New York, on the Hudson and at the southern entrance to HighLine Park (which Tournesol also participated in). The iconic museum was designed by architects Renzo Piano Building Workshop, with Henshell and Buccellato, Consulting Architects, out of New Jersey.

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The roof decks and visual ambiance of the building are simple and elegant, creating a fresh and vibrant usable space. However, water is no friend of the art inside the building, so strength and maximum water flow was of utmost importance to the designers and engineers. The broad terraces of the building collect large amounts of water, which needs to be effectively drained and kept from the building envelope.

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The installing roofing contractor, Eagle One Roofing from Queens, used our high-performance VersiCell Drainage Panels in a vertical and slanted orientation as a high-capacity drainage channel at the edge of the deck, between the substructure and the building envelope.

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Other drainage products compress over time, but the sub-surface VersiCell Drainage Panels are non-compressible, high-strength drainage panels. The panel’s durable open structure provided assurance to design professionals that water won’t collect where it shouldn’t.

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Monthly Blast – June 2014 Vol 2, Issue 6

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On A Greening Mission

We’ve been working with  Mission Landscape Architecture  of Irvine, CA recently on several living wall projects. They are on a “mission” to enhance the So. California urban environment with living walls. Their designs resulted in two important Tournesol green walls in San Diego and Los Angeles. As they note in their project information sheets, the walls stand (no pun intended) as a “testament to the creativity of the architecture community and the continuing trend of green walls within the industry.” (emphasis ours!)

As Seen in Living Architecture Monitor
One of these green walls was just highlighted in the most recent issue of Living Architecture Monitor (Summer Health Issue, 2014). The Tournesol VGM living wall was installed at the Irvine Company’s Westwood Gateway 1. In the article (entitled “How Green Roofs & Walls Have Impacted Occupants’ Well-Being”) Sherry Mashadian, manager of operations for the Irvine Company Office Properties, reflected on how their green wall project has affected their tenants.

100_1500-1According to her, the living wall is located in a courtyard with a fountain and soft seating that give customers and staff an opportunity to take breaks, eat lunch and even conduct team meetings in a lushly landscaped environment. “The living wall is definitely one of the greater features of the building and an added value to the project. The visitors and guests are always admiring the living wall. It’s also a tour stop for our leasing team. The living wall is definitely an amenity for the tenants of the property.

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The property owners specifically charged Mission Landscape with enhancing the existing courtyard. They removed an overgrown hedge to create the “canvas” for the new Tournesol living wall. Initial plans proposed covering the entire wall, but eventually they decided upon one wall panel that serves as an art piece to the adjacent cafe seating area. Surrounding the VGM panels and structural frame is a custom metal picture fame to complete the linear design. Multi-textured shade tolerant plants of green ferns, moneywort and grasses accented by plum-colored coral bells create the “living picture.”

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Sherry did touch on maintenance in the article. She mentioned that they have kept a specialized contractor on to maintain the project (our friends at Greenscaped Buildings ), and that other than a few replacements in the initial period, there haven’t been many issues in the year that the wall has been up. 

And, an underground update

We acquired the  Root Solutions root barrier  business from Vespro of California nearly a year ago, and thought we’d give you an update on what’s going on with the product. Large Bay Area contractor and regular customer Jensen Landscape  was recently installing the product at a new Kaiser Permanente Hospital c omplex in Redwood City, CA and invited us in to take some pictures. They were kind enough to leave several trenches open to allow us to photograph the product in its natural environment.

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Root barrier continues to be an important product. The eventual cost of tree roots damaging parking lots, sidewalks, and roads isn’t going down, and has made barrier into a very commonly-specified product for highway departments, municipalities, and commercial properties. We even hear of it being put in for many large residential developments – the minimal cost of the product saves thousands of dollars in headaches over time. Our biggest surprise in entering the market is that its use is more prevalent west of the Mississippi than to the east. It doesn’t seem like trees grow differently on one coast than another – why the discrepancy?

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We’ve had to learn a lot about extrusion and manufacturing the product, as you might have guessed. Despite a few hiccups, we’re in control of the process, sourcing the 100% recycled polyethylene (mostly post-consumer), and keeping production line running. One of the important things that we’ve mastered is the blend of high density and low density polyethylene. It’s critical to make the material supple enough to be easy to install, yet strong enough to resist tree roots.   The contractors we work with tell us it slips together easy, holds well, and flexes when it needs to. In general, they tell us that they like the material better than other direct competitor’s – it’s easier to work with and less time-consuming to install. With the creatively sourced recycled material, we’ve also made sure that the pricing is highly competitive!

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Architectural Record & the AIA convention

Congratulations are in order! Our continuing education course, ” Green Walls: Integrating Nature into Buildings ” has won the Audience Engagement Award  as one of the top five most popular courses offered through Architectural Record’s Continuing Education Center .  More than 150,000 CEU tests were taken in the past year through their portal, and the popularity of the course shows the high level of interest that architects have with living walls. We are pleased to be able to offer it to the AIA community.

TournesolSiteworksARJulyWe wish the best to all the AIA members who will be attending the upcoming annual convention in Chicago. We won’t be there to collect our award, but don’t miss our Australian product advertisement in the most recent issue of Arch Record!

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

New for 2014 – A nod to the Knickerbocker

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As we continue to look at new projects for 2014, we must recognize Time Square’s Knickerbocker Hotel. An historic Beaux-Arts building build by John Jacob Astor IV in 1906, it is currently being restored to its former glory, thanks to a $115 million makeover by new owners, FelCor Lodging Trust . The all-new Knickerbocker is slated to open in mid-2014, and it has just been accepted into The Leading Hotels of the World fold. Architect Peter Poon and Designer Gabellini Sheppard have taken the interior down to the floor plates, so it will essentially be a “brand new hotel”, except for its extraordinary, original Beaux-Arts facade, which will be preserved. A NYC landmark since 1988, the building had functioned as an office building since the 1980’s but was better known for hosting such guests as John D. Rockefeller, had its own subway entrance, and is thought to have been the birthplace of the original martini!

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Tournesol Siteworks is excited to be part of this historical restoration per the specification of Landscape  Architect, M. Paul Freidberg and Partners  of  Manhattan.   As part of this massive renovation, the Penthouse Suite will have an amazing living wall featuring our VGM modular living wall  system. As of late December, Tournesol had shipped over 500 of the 8″ deep VGM3-10 modules, which are slated to be installed on three of the exterior walls. Installation contractor,  Blondie’s Treehouse , is responsible for the module planting, grow-in and irrigation installation.

knickerbocker-hotel-construction-6-2013-thumbWhen completed, the Knickerbocker will fulfill its original purpose, and welcome back guests to over 300 guest rooms and 40 suites including the spectacular penthouse. Keep an eye out for pictures of the finished installation at 42nd & Broadway!

Looking forward to 2014

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2014 is has started off strong. We’ve entered into the new year working on a lot of great projects, and thought it might be interesting to share a few of them with you.

Tournesol Siteworks is currently working with Smith & Smith Landscape on an exterior renovation project for the Hotel InterContinental in San Francisco.

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We previously provided the hotel with planters on the upper decks when it was built in 2007.  They are now looking to make some street level improvements by adding custom planters along the west and southern street sides of the building.  Installation should commence in early 2014.

The landscape architect outlined an extensive planting area which we had to figure out how to make level, as the sidewalk slopes quite a bit. We  will be using our  VersiJack adjustable paver pedestals  to level the planters and create a skirt along the front that will follow the slope of the sidewalk and cover the pedestals.  We will also be using our  irrigation and drainage system inside the planters as the hotel is concerned about keeping maintenance costs to a minimum and minimizing water usage.

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It has been a quite design-intensive project. Smith and Smith had a great design, but on a sidewalk project like this (especially in San Francisco), the devil is in the details. We went through many of the same issues (including leveling the planters, creating a skirt, etc.), working on a similar type of project with Carducci & Assocs. at the   Grand Hyatt Union Square in San Francisco last year.IMG_1858Our recent January email blast included information on this projects as well as a series of others. If you would like to be included in our email list or received the new 2014 catalog, please us an email at  catalog@tournesolsiteworks.com.  Alternately, you can download a copy at: tournesolsiteworks.com/uploads/cmsfiles/Tournesol_Siteworks_2014.pdf .