Tag Archives: GFRC

Fountains for Queen of Heaven

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In Lafayette, CA, the Queen of Heaven Cemetery provides a peaceful resting place to hold and honor the deceased. Once a family owned walnut orchard, the 200-acre grounds still hold the original family home, barn and small cottages which the cemetery maintains.

Recently, Catholic Management Services (CMS) constructed a new “Funeral Center” at the cemetery to hold services and memorials. As part of the landscape design, they wanted two Tournesol Siteworks turnkey fountains – one at the entrance to the building and one behind the building, where outside services would be held.

Barcelona Basin Fountain at Queen of Heaven Cemetery

To start the process, CMS choose one of our four decorative basin profiles. Each basin is manufactured in our lightweight GFRC concrete and is delivered to the site as a package including everything that is needed for installation. Both fountains were installed by California Waterscapes, and both locations (front and back) feature 10′ round Barcelona Basins in Tier 1 Sandblast texture.

Spray Ring Water Feature

Fountains are available in any of our GFRC colors, of which CMS picked Italian Terra Cotta. The Barcelona basin has a classic belly profile featuring a bullnose return at the top. Inside the front basin, they chose the Spray Ring water feature which contains multiple spray nozzles directing an arch of water 360 degrees from the center (shown closely in the image above).

For the fountain located in the back of the new building, CMS picked the two-tiered Crystal Bowl element for the center feature with two bowls – one 36″ diameter and one 24″ diameter – topped with a finial for completion. For the color of the Crystal bowls, they used a contrasting color of Shark. The complete fountain’s foundation (the center platform) contains the pumps, lighting, electrical, fixtures, and controls.

The cemetery is located on a beautiful piece of land exuding a peaceful atmosphere and environment for visiting. For the Grand Opening Celebration of the Queen of Heaven Funeral Center, back in October, the cemetery was honored by Michael C. Barber. the Bishop of Oakland, CA.

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.

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.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

TWIG comes to Redwood City

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There is nothing quite as gratifying as doing work that goes into your own hometown. I live in Redwood City, CA, a smallish town in the middle of the San Francisco peninsula. Just recently a large new office building opened downtown. Box (the cloud storage company) is the major tenant.  I took these photos last weekend when walking downtown to see a movie. This plaza is just down the street from the theater.

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On the plaza in front of Box, several of our TWIG benches have been installed by Shooter and Butts landscape contractors . The project was designed by Korth Sunseri Hagey architects, and our friends at the Guzzardo Partnership (landscape architects). In addition to these three benches on grade, there are 10 more on the upper podium level, as well as 8 of our 60″ diameter Downtown Collection lightweight concrete pots. For the on-grade TWIG benches, Guzzardo specified our specially-made stainless steel skate stops. Our partners at Street & Garden Furniture in Australia would be pleased to see the complete installation!

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Redwood City is a rapidly redeveloping part of the peninsula – in addition to Crossing 900, there are many apartments and condominium complexes being built. We’ve had products specified in many of them. Downtown Redwood City is right on the train line into San Francisco and, up to this point most, development has been going south towards Palo Alto and Silicon Valley. We’re finally catching up – with a vengeance. I’m proud of the work we do, and it’s fun to be able to point out projects we work on to friends, especially when you can see the results. They’re always surprised with what I do for a living!

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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.

CCC Nebraska

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.

Anna Head Housing TWIG 2

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.

Expanding Central Park…

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IMG_6216Central Park Plaza in Valparaiso, IN, that is.

Central Park Plaza is the centerpiece of the revitalization of downtown Valparaiso. It was developed in 2011, with a significant expansion in July 2015.  We were pleased to be able to provide the pots, planters, and trellis for the recent expansion, designed by Shive Hattery of West Des Moines, IA.

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We provided the project with lightweight GFRC Wilshire Collection rounds (36″dia. and 60″ dia.), and Wilshire Screen GFRC rectangles (72″L x 18″W x 36″H). All the planters had to be movable so that the City could relocate them a throughout during the Summer for events held at the park.

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The Wilshire Screen planters needed to provide 12-feet of vertical screening to hide the utilities behind them. The decorative metal screening (see image below) was attached to two 4×6 Tournesol Siteworks VertiGreen trellis panels mounted in landscape orientation on specially engineered brackets. The brackets had to be designed to withstand significant wind loading. The Wilshire Screen planters also used Tournesol’s CWM Modular container irrigation system to make maintenance easy.
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A visit to El Paso…

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IMG_3268Last week I had the opportunity to visit our new plant in El Paso, TX, meet many of the people we have working there, and see some of our newest products.

They’ve already begun producing many of Tournesol Siteworks’ GFRC products (planters, TWIG and Rune benches, garbage cans, etc.), but there is a full line of Stonewear products that I wanted to learn about.

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Antonio, moldmaker extrordinaire and operations manager of the Juarez facility along with Isaias, operations manager of the El Paso facility.

We have complete mold-making capabilities in the new-to-us facilities, so we’ve been working to coordinate how we exchange information between our California engineering staff and the toolmaker. Because everyone builds their molds differently, we’ve had to get used to their process (and vice-versa). Things are progressing as well as we could hope.

Planter Barrier
A planter barrier, showing the internal barrier mold – just add concrete!

The planter barrier products that Stonewear has offered for the past decade is something we’re looking forward to promoting. While other manufacturers create a barrier by simply pre-casting a massively heavy planter and shipping it cross country, Stonewear figured out a better way. The barrier products are all light weight GFRC and designed to ship anywhere across the country. Each barrier integrates a lightweight internal mold and rebar system that lets the local contractor add the weight using inexpensive premix concrete. For a simple barrier inside a round planter (shown above), the form creates a jersey barrier inside the planter that will stop 4,000 lbs moving at 50mph!

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Stops vehicles in their tracks – a maximum-security planter barrier

For maximum security applications, Stonewear designed a planter barrier to the US government’s DOS K-4 standard. Buried up to the base in the soil and then filled with premix concrete, it can stop 15,000 lbs. moving at 50mph – adequate for most government buildings. There aren’t many easier, more attractive ways for a designer to integrate a maximum security barrier into a project!

Decorative bollards
Typical lightweight concrete bollards

We’ve offered metal bollards and bike racks from our partners at Street & Garden Furniture in the past, but Stonewear bollards introduce a new element into our line. Either as a high security bollard cover over 8″ steel pipe that can stop 5,000lbs moving at 30mph, or simply decorative bollard covers (as seen above) that sit over 6″ steel pipe – we now have an answer for any application.

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Packaging up several Downtown Collection GFRC pots

Of course the largest component of what Tournesol Siteworks does (and what Stonewear did) is make pots and planters. We’ll be producing all of our shapes and sizes, and most of the offering that Stonewear has had over the years. It’s a great fit – a little overlap, but our offering will grow dramatically in GFRC. We’ll also be introducing many of their shapes in FRP fiberglass over time as well.

Stonewear Fountains
Isaias and Raoul trial-fit the seat cap on an 8′ fountain basin. Looks perfect!

And finally, fountains! I spent quite a bit of time working to understand the turnkey fountain products. While somewhat complex with lots of options, Stonewear turnkey fountains offer exceptional value for a complete fountain system. They have hundreds of impressive installations across the country, proving the reliability of the system design.

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!