Tournesol Siteworks

Fresh, Cool Style at Hotel Zephyr

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San Francisco is a city that is alive, constantly morphing and changing. The breeze from the bay brings the sounds of the waterfront to the courtyard of the Hotel Zephyr, close to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, CA. The hotel has recently refurbished the exterior decor and has created a uniquely different environment for hotel guests, including a fire pit and a large, 40 foot periscope with views of the water and Alcatraz.

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Being close to the bay, Bruce Jett Associates Landscape Architects wanted to bring port and shipping elements of the wharf into the Hotel Zephyr project design. Using large segments of metal shipping containers, they created walls surrounding the courtyard of the hotel. Bruce Jett Associates specified Tournesol Siteworks‘ VGM Modular Living Wall System on one wall of the courtyard, which was installed by Eggli Landscape Contractors, out of Redwood City, CA.

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The VGM Living Wall system consists of 100% recycled plastic planting modules attached to stainless steel hanging rails. Each planting module, made of 100% recycled polypropylene, has a generous 4” or 8” soil profile. Because root growth isn’t limited to small cells or baffles like in other systems, plants grow healthier and stronger, which means lower maintenance yet more amazing results. Eggli also installed our stabilized Media Block, an organic base material stabilized into a sponge-like block that fits perfectly in the VGM module. The media block absorbs up to five times its weight in water, but only weighs 40 lbs./pcf, facilitating even irrigation, faster grow in and optimal plant health.

Zephyr 5For a rustic effect, they used steel sheet pilings (also used on the waterfront) for decoration in the northeast corner of the courtyard. Inside the pilings, we created custom trapezoid-shaped Welded Planter Liners that are 34″ wide in back, 15″ wide in front, 48″ tall, and 18″ deep. The welded planter liners were inserted into the steel pilings and used as planters.

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At the front of the stylish Hotel Zephyr, Patrick Lamar from RHI Construction out of Santa Rosa, installed our Boulevard Wood Decking, which compliments the entrance (as shown in the photo below). Our Boulevard thermally-modified wood 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 (which is great for San Francisco’s wind, rain and bay weather) and makes Boulevard wood resistant to warp, twist and other movement.

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We are thrilled to have been part of the redesign of Hotel Zephyr and to be part of this cool stylish, trendy installation – right in our own backyard (well, across the bay at least).

Queen Anne’s Playful Uptown Parklet

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Parklets are popping up all over the country, especially in major cities, and are beginning to change the pedestrian environment. These little “mini parks” have allowed the community to build public spaces for meeting, socializing, and as urban oases. Parklets have become really popular due to PARKing Day, a nation-wide celebration day rivaling the automobile-focused environment. It’s a day where the public takes back urban street parking slots and creates temporary parks filled with designers, artists and people seeking community interaction.

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Two years ago, the city of Seattle was challenged by PARKing Day and recognized its success in other cities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles. Since the city sought to create a number of parklets all over Seattle, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) announced its Pilot Parklet Program. The program opened an application process for communities and neighborhoods to submit for a parklet to be constructed in their urban area.

Seattle’s VIA Architecture, on behalf of VIA’s Community Design Studio, worked with a civic organization called The Uptown Alliance (which represents the Uptown Urban Center) to submit an application for the Queen Anne district. The “Uptown Parklet” was selected as one of 10 parklets and was fortunate enough to be one of the first constructed as part of the pilot program. Slater Construction, out of Seattle, worked with the team of designers, community volunteers and architects to build this parklet, completed in February 2015.

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We revisited this cool parklet this month (March 15), which features Tournesol Siteworks’ Boulevard Wood for the decking, benches and planter cladding. Our Boulevard thermally-modified wood 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.

Weathering reveals the wood’s natural patina to a silver, grayish color (as shown in the photo above). The thermal-modification process also prevents moisture absorption (which is great for Seattle’s occasionally wet weather) and makes Boulevard wood resistant to warp, twist and other movement.

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Th Uptown Parklet is the perfect place for our Boulevard wood, with the public interaction, environmental exposure and continual community use. The wood has withstood wonderfully! We’re so glad that the Queen Anne district is enjoying their Uptown Parklet…go Seattle!

We Love Custom Planters & Projects!

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In Southern California, Irvine Company® is a privately held real-estate investment company respected for its stewardship and master planning. Among their various properties is Irvine Spectrum Center, which is known as Orange County’s epicenter for cultural entertainment, dining and shopping. Other projects involve properties all over Southern California, including development of a parking structure at 350 Spectrum Center Drive near Irvine Spectrum Center.

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Wilshire Collection Fiberglass Rectangular Planters

 

For this parking structure, LPA, architects out of Irvine, CA, collaborated with landscape architects Burton Landscape Architecture Studio, from Solano Beach. Burton created the parking area which is large and wide-open, yet the design layout required custom-sized planters. Recently. Burton contacted Tournesol Siteworks and requested 21 of our Wilshire Collection rectangular planters custom ordered to eight feet in length by five feet wide and 30″ height.

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Wilshire Collection rectangular planters divide and organize space with their clean, simple style and no bottom reveal. The planters bring greenery and life to the urban parking structure. Valley Crest, out of Irvine, CA, installed the planters and filled the pots with lush greenery to bring life to the urban parking structure.

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The Wilshire planters were manufactured in our lightweight FRP fiberglass specified in the custom color “Balboa Mist”. For the texture, Burton chose the smooth, conventional finish of T-0.  This project was well-done and allows the customers of the parking structure to enjoy more than a place to park, but a greener urban space.

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.

Key for the Quarry – Northlakes Bench

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As part of a city revitalization strategy, Quarry Park is rising from the former Quinn granite quarry in Rocklin, California. Located next to Rocklin City Hall, Quarry Park will continue a transformation, through phases, as part of the city’s plan for the seventeen acre plot of land. The park will create the city’s downtown area for community events and activities in the outdoor environment, since Rocklin does not have an official downtown.

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Fuhrman Leamy Land Group, landscape architects out of Roseville, CA, specified Tournesol Siteworks‘ Northlakes Collection benches. The benches were installed in February ’16 by Sierra Valley Construction, Inc., out of Loomis, CA. Our Northlakes Collection backed benches, designed by our Aussie partners at Street & Garden Furniture, are a robust site furnishing solution suited to high impact environments.

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The Northlakes Collection benches feature thermally-modified Boulevard wood slats. The thermal-modification process enhances domestic hardwoods with a 25-year resistance to rot and decay, similar to South American hardwoods. The cell structure of the wood changes during the process, preventing moisture absorption and helping to make Boulevard wood resistant to warp, twist and other movement. The wood is harvested, processed, and finished entirely in the U.S.  Boulevard Wood is lighter and easier to work than ipe’, and free of the arsenic, copper, chrome or other hazardous metals present in pressure treated wood.

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The benches’ frame, arms and ends are powder-coated cast aluminum and are durable enough to withstand intense weight and high traffic. Benches are complete with surface-mounted feet (shown in the photo above) which are designed to be used with conventional expansion or epoxy anchor systems.

We were happy to be specified for the Quarry Park project and cannot wait to see the park completed in the next couple of years.

 

 

 

Starbucks’ Greenwall, Disney and Us!

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A few years ago, Tournesol Siteworks had the opportunity to work on a unique, one-of-a-kind project in the land “where dreams come true” – Disneyland! We recently revisited the living wall installation at the Starbucks location in the Downtown Disney District at  Disneyland Resort. After two years, with loving care and maintenance, the green wall has fully grown in and continues to look amazing.
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Architects Orange and LandStudio 360 with David Ling, designer, brought unique elements to this specific Starbucks store. Greg Wallace, the grower from Instant Jungle, initially installed and has now maintained the greenwall over the last two years.  We spoke with Greg this week regarding the maintenance. He shared a few of his challenges with this project.

The wall is north facing, so there is some morning sunlight and the temperature gets really hot in this location, despite what they expected. Greg’s initial plant choice was Mondo grass, a small grass that is a drought resistant plant, yet didn’t grow to fill the module well. Mondo grass prefers mostly shady conditions, and the heat caused the grass to brown out. He needs to use drought resistant plants that like the heat, some sun, and shade, and is challenged to find greenery that can coexist in the living wall. Greg replaced the grass with Cenecio, which is more of a succulent with a slightly blue color, under Spider plants.

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Another challenge is the location of the wall, as the public can touch the greenwall since it is close to the entrance of the Starbucks with seating in proximity. Being in Downtown Disney children are everywhere and tend to pull at the plants and have actually pulled the modules from their placement in the VGM System. Instant Jungle maintains the wall by replacing the plants that are broken or damaged by the public, and adjusts the modules back into place where they belong.

Greg says that continued maintenance of a greenwall involves being aware of heat issues, having to exchange bottom plants periodically and to vary the wall with plants that can adjust to the weather. Both Disney and Starbucks are adamant about displaying the design so, in turn, Greg works hard to make sure the plants are happy.

“The key to a long-term, flourishing greenwall is the investment in care and maintenance. Treat the greenwall as a living wall, an actually ‘living’ project, needing routine checking on, caring for, and feeding of the plants over time,” shared Greg. “It’s important that whoever is in charge of the plants after any installation, understands the choices and varieties of greenery; the plants need to coexist. Tournesol Siteworks’ VGM Modular Living Wall system is the best solution I could have used on this particular application, and I’ve looked at many other systems for my living wall projects. This was the right product, at the right time, for the right place.”

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With the VGM System, root growth isn’t limited by restricting cells or baffles, thus plants grow healthier and stronger. Without maintenance from a grower, the overall health and beauty of the living wall is not sustainable and the greenwall will more than likely wither and die.

Due to a great partnership with Tournesol Siteworks, Greg has had many other client referrals and requests for project in southern California locations, and is currently working on four other living wall installations.

For more information on the initial installation, read here. We are happy to be part of the “magical” atmosphere in the Downtown Disney District with Starbucks and Disney- two companies known for providing their guests with an excellent experience.

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!

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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

 

 

 

Slabtown Comes Alive in Portland

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Slabtown Marketplace in Northwest Portland, Oregon, is part of a larger adaptive reuse project proposed by GBD Architects and Holst Architecture, both of Portland, and adopted by the city in 2012. The Master Plan for the area will include mixed-use development with current office and warehouse buildings, and hopes to be the hub for Portland’s newest neighborhood, the Conway District.

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©2016 David Papazian: David Papazian Photography

Slabtown Marketplace was originally built in 1952 as a 36,000 sq. ft. concrete shipping warehouse that has now been converted into three separate retail spaces.

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GBD and Holst collaborated with Lango Hansen Landscape Architects to create a pedestrian walkway, as well as a beautiful gathering space and focal point to inspire community interaction. On the side of the wall facing the walkway, Lango Hansen utilized Tournesol SiteworksVGM Living Wall System and a series of Cor-Ten steel panels for visual interest.

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Teufel Landscape, out of Hillsboro, Oregon, was responsible for pre-growing the plants and installing the living wall modules. The VGM3 system consists of 100% recycled plastic planting modules attached to stainless steel hanging rails. Each planting module, made of 100% recycled polypropylene, has a generous 4” or 8” soil profile. Because root growth isn’t limited to small cells or baffles like in other systems, plants grow healthier and stronger, which means lower maintenance yet more spectacular results.

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Modules were shipped broken down to the jobsite, where they were assembled, filled with  VGM media block, and planted by Teufel Landscape. Grow-in was greatly accelerated using the specially engineered media block. The stainless steel rails require minimal penetrations and mount to the structurally sound wall. The installation was a success – and we love it when the designers each use the image on their own webpage!

 

 

 

Greenwall Climbing the Tower

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The L’auberge Casino Resort, built in 2012, is an expansive southern Louisiana retreat designed to capture the rich culture of Baton Rouge. The project was designed by Marnell Companies, with landscape architectural support by Lifescapes International.

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Recently our partners at Ewing Irrigation had the opportunity to visit the resort, and captured photos of a fully grown living wall that was installed on the project by contractor Rotolo Consultants  from Slidell, LA.

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This wall utilizes a hybrid of our Tournesol VGM3 living wall modules together with our VertiGreen 3D trellis product. In the project drawing below, you can see the individual VGM3 modules (shaded in green), which were mounted on stainless steel rails behind. The VertiGreen 3D trellis panels were custom cut widths that would complete the wall section.

 

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When planted together like this, the vines located in the VGM3 modules quickly expand onto the VertiGreen 3D trellis (the concept behind our VertiGreen Hybrid product) and make for a thick, low maintenance living wall system. This one has been installed for a little more than three years, and looks as beautiful and dense as the day it went in! We couldn’t even tell what type of product it was when the images arrived.

 

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Mounting the trellis next to the VGM3 modules was done with fixed-distance wall mount brackets (which held the back of the 3D trellis 6″ from the wall), keeping the front flush with the living wall modules. Because of the integration of the less expensive VertiGreen 3D Trellis product with the VGM Modular System, the  overall cost of this living wall was reduced by half!

 

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