Tag Archives: Seattle

Just Like in the Amazon – a Green Wall!

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The South Lake Union district of Seattle, WA, is a popping neighborhood being the “7th most walk-able” in Seattle and housing the headquarters of Amazon. All around the neighborhood there are beautiful spaces, restaurants and areas to build community and just hang out.  About four years ago the Amazon block building at 207 Boren Avenue in Seattle was completed with one of our very early VGM Modular living walls. We revisited the site recently, and thought we’d share what a green wall looks like after a few years.

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Revisit this year

 

Tournesol SiteworksVGM3 Modular Living Wall was specified by Callison RTKL Architects in collaboration with landscape architects from Walter Macy to be installed on an Amazon building wall that faces an open plaza. They created an immense green wall design that was expertly installed by landscape contractors from Teufel Landscape. Teufel was also responsible for pre-growing the plants, and installing the living wall modules once the plants had taken root.

Interestingly, the green wall has been through a few plant replacements, due to the placement of the wall to the sun, and a few plant types that were unhappy with their environment. Due to an irrigation issue, the entire wall needed to be replaced once- the maintenance crew discovered a leak in the irrigation and the building manager turned off the water to the entire green wall. The issue was with one of the modules and not the entire wall. Unfortunately, the wall failed without water to irrigate the plants, and the plants had to be replaced.  The replacements are fairly easy, but maintenance is key to the life of the green wall – after all it is a “living” wall.

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The green wall contains VGM3 modules, 6 rows high by 23 rows wide, with each module requiring two left and two right mounting brackets. The brackets attach the VGM3 system modules to stainless steel hanging rails which require minimal penetrations and mount to the structurally sound wall. Each planting module, made of 100% recycled polypropylene, has a generous 8” (in this project) 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.

Our partners at Ewing Irrigation have produced a video displaying the ease of mounting and installing our VGM Modular Living Wall System  – click here to watch the video.

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Photo Courtesy of Google Maps

The green wall on the Amazon block hopefully will continue to be enjoyed by those walking, riding their bikes, resting in this plaza, working near this building, or just strolling by for years to come!

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!

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!