Tag Archives: Washington

Past Blast: Tacoma’s Dome District Benches & Bollards

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Since our acquisition of FairWeather Site Furnishings, (facility located in WA,  which is now our base for metal and wood fabrication) we’ve enjoyed sharing the stories of projects and installations. A few years ago, the City of Tacoma, WA, wanted to improve the amenities in the various city districts, including the Dome District. The Dome District in Tacoma emerged in the 1880’s but was originally known as the East School neighborhood due to a large elementary school. Railroad access eventually transformed the district bringing transportation, cars, gas stations, shops and restaurants. Renamed a few times, “Dome District” stuck when the Tacoma Dome was eventually built.

The dome brought life to the district and many older buildings were revitalized, namely Freighthouse Square. For the Dome District revitalization project, the City of Tacoma wanted benches and receptacles installed along sidewalks and building fronts throughout the district, including in front of Freighthouse Square. 

FairWeather was specified by the City of Tacoma desiring the Tradition Collection benches; Victorian-style benches with refined, full contour seat sections made with Ipe wood (optional) and enhanced by the circular details of the ductile cast iron end frames (shown above). Ipe is a hardwood that works well for exterior use and was useful for this project, since the weather in the Pacific Northwest tends to be fairly wet year-round. The city also wanted three Plaza Collection Steel Strap Receptacles, which are manufactured with open tops, and rings at the top and bottom of the receptacles. Tacoma chose domed tops to finish off the look of the Plaza receptacles which included 35 gallon black Polyethylene Liners.

Later, the City of Tacoma specified our B-5 Bollards which were installed by Gary Merlino Construction Company. Our steel B-5 Bollard Collection features decorative steel bollards with an asymmetrical top and collars for a sharp, distinctive look (shown in the image above).

Of the three mounting configurations available (removable, permanent embed or surface mount) Merlino Contstruction installed the steel B-5 Bollards with a concrete fill cap and heavy schedule 80 steel pipe as permanent embed. The bollards are used for security purposes and force protection on various streets and in front of the dome (shown above).

 

Custom Metal Designs – Percival Landing Park

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In January 2017, Tournesol Siteworks acquired FairWeather Site Furnishings, with a facility located in Port Orchard, WA. With the acquisition comes new products and installations from across the country that Tournesol can now provide. The Washington facility will be our base for metal and wood fabrication. As we’re getting to know FairWeather, we’re enjoying and sharing the stories of projects and installations.

Percival Landing table and chairs with custom branded design

The City of Olympia Parks and Recreation Department, in Olympia, Washington, undertook a revitalization project to Percival Landing Park. Percival Landing is one of three waterfront parks, located on the southern-most tip of Puget Sound. The park is a wonderful community meeting place for social interactions and celebrations, with a playground and boardwalk along the shoreline.

Per the City of Olympia’s website:

“Percival Landing Park was named after the old commercial steamship wharf, a well-known maritime landmark in the Pacific Northwest. The original dock, built by Sam Percival in 1860, was operated by the Percival Family. The first phase of Percival Landing, as we know it today, was completed and opened in 1978, phase two in 1985, and phase three in 1988.”

Kip Summers, Project Engineer for the City of Olympia Parks & Rec Dept., wanted to make products specifically for the Percival Landing project. Kip collaborated with FairWeather engineers to customize the Terrace Cafe’ Collection tables and chairs with “Percival Landing” laser cut into the table tops and the chair seats (shown below). The laser cut metal option is a wonderful addition to Tournesol Siteworks’ product lines, including memorial plaques, logos for decoration and customized additions.

Laser cut design

Many Terrace collection benches were installed in the playground area of Percival Landing, yet were specifically customized. The city project engineers wanted to ensure playground safety so the lengths of the benches legs were extended and mounted to the subsurface ten inches beneath the playground safety surface.

The community of Olympia enjoys the waterfront park’s restoration and were thrilled to maintain its historical significance. Percival Landing brings a peaceful environment that is welcoming and restful.

Tournesol Siteworks Acquires FairWeather Site Furnishings

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Tournesol Siteworks of Union City announced that it has acquired the assets of Leader Manufacturing, Inc., based in Port Orchard, WA. Leader has been selling a wide range of metal and wood site furnishings since 1980 under the FairWeather brand name.

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Tournesol Siteworks has become one of the largest manufacturers of commercial-grade pots, planters and other landscape accessories in the country, and has experienced four years of 30% sales growth. This year, it was nominated for the Association of Corporate Growth “Outstanding Growth Awards” by the Bay Area chapter. Tournesol currently operates plants in Union City, El Paso, TX, and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The Port Orchard facility will be the base for metal and wood fabrication for the company. Several current activities will be relocated to the new facility.

Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL

FairWeather is a vertically-integrated manufacturer with an experienced production team, which complements Tournesol’s current capabilities in FRP fiberglass and lightweight GFRC concrete. With the acquisition Tournesol will gain the capacity to competitively manufacture products for the commercial landscape marketplace in any commercially-required material.

According to Christopher Lyon, President of Tournesol Siteworks, “this acquisition makes us into the broadest-category manufacturer in the commercial landscape marketplace, and will allow us to open up a whole new front for product development. The existing FairWeather focus on product quality and customer service fits well with ours, and should simplify the integration.”

Richard and Cathy Flaherty, co-owners of FairWeather, are delighted with the opportunity that Tournesol Siteworks presents to its employees, and potential growth for the FairWeather and FairWinds brands of site furniture. While the Flaherty’s have been approached, several times regarding acquisition, Tournesol was the first company that presented the size, vision and culture that was a strong fit with the principles and ethics they had set for the past 27 years. The sale to Tournesol was a natural next step for the evolution of the brand.

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Employees at both locations are excited about the new opportunity. We’ll feature more FairWeather furnishings in future blog posts – stay tuned to find out more!

VersiJack Pavers Make a Residence Shine

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Our pedestals are usually specified for commercial installations, yet sometimes we also have the perfect solutions for residential projects. In Bellingham, Washington, we were specified by Molly Maguire Landscape Architecture for a private residence. The owners wanted to build a deck for a few reasons 1) they wanted to have a deck to enjoy for parties, daily living and also relaxing, and 2) to raise the deck and conceal the unsightly concrete with a more polished look.

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VersiJack Pedestals shown during installation beneath the pavers. Photo courtesy of John Sweeney, Northwest Rain Solutions

Molly Maquire worked with Northwest Rain Solutions on the installation. Contractors from Northwest Rain Solutions used our VersiJack Adjustable Deck Pedestals, which are twist-to-adjust height pedestals, needed to accommodate this project for heights from 4-7/8″ to 7-7/8″. The pedestals create a broad, stable base that can support more weight than any other pedestal system. Due to unevenness and slope of the deck base, they required our Platform Slope Correctors which can correct from 0% to 5% slope at 1% increments. Because this type of corrector sits on top of the pedestal, it is faster and easier to adjust to the correct slope, as well as being less expensive than a bottom slope corrector.

The contractors also installed our Paver Spacer Tabs to provide the same exact distance between each of the pavers that were laid atop the VersiJack pedestals. To stabilize the pavers on the concrete, Neoprene shims were placed under the pedestals for fine tuned leveling and cushioning.  Alongside the pavers on the deck, Molly Maquire also designed a green roof with low succulents to accent the level of the deck, which can almost be viewed as a deck lawn.

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Completed deck with VersiJack Support Pedestals beneath. Photo courtesy of John Sweeney, Northwest Rain Solutions

The project was challenged by the wet, rainy weather of the northwest but the installation was fairly straightforward and looks wonderful!

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!

Project Manager in the house!

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Tournesol Siteworks is pleased to announce that Geoff Neary has joined the team as inside salesperson for our Northwest region. But, even more exciting for us, he will also be acting as our first dedicated Project Manager, responsible for estimating, providing technical support and coordinating manufacturing for large, complicated projects throughout the country.  We’re excited for him to make an impact quickly, providing support to customers on especially difficult jobs.
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His background as an estimator and project manager for Green Effects in Seattle (where he worked with Tournesol Siteworks on several large, complicated projects) makes him uniquely qualified. Geoff also brings an insider’s perspective to the job having worked in the landscape industry for over 30 years. He hopes to “close the loop” having been on both sides of the process and raise the bar on the manufacturing end.

 

Geoff’s experience allows him the ability to analyze clients plans efficiently and with an eye toward production. Here, he can help our manufacturing team work with a customer’s specs to see what will work, what might not, where might there be issues, how can we build it better and make sure it is right. 

 

“I want production to double check everything. I am there to make sure there aren’t any surprises for the guys in the field. When you are installing a project on a downtown high-rise with a crane, you need to get it right the first time.” From an childhood in New England to raising his own family in Seattle, Geoff knows that from coast to coast competition is fierce and we need to make sure that the quality of our product is top notch from design and production to delivery, installation and years later on site!

 

Geoff is looking forward to working for Tournesol Siteworks. As he says it, “it is not a planter company, not an irrigation company, not a green wall company –  it’s all of them. Chris (Lyon) is not afraid to move into new areas, be it bike racks, recycling bins, or wood decking and tiles. It is exciting to be a part of company that has its eye on the horizon. And, not a small segment of the horizon, but 180 degrees.”

 

Geoff is particularly excited about any projects that bring landscapes into downtown areas and enhance city livability. And, as we all like to hear, Geoff is excited “to be a part of a company that is constantly growing – it’s a cool place to be!”

 

“We’re fortunate to have Geoff join our team”, says Chris Lyon, president of Tournesol Siteworks. “He was a loyal (albeit demanding) customer, and understands what it takes to run a project smoothly. He’ll be able to raise our game immediately!”

 

You can reach Geoff at extension 158 at our office (800.542.2282), or contact him via email – gnearyattournesolsiteworks.com

Customize it!

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Wilshire Collection Rectangles, made in FRP fiberglass, are our most popular planter. They are most commonly used in applications like the one shown at 120 Howard St. in San Francisco below. This installation, owned by the Shorenstein Company and installed by our good friends at Allbay Landscape, was completed in 2012 when the building, originally constructed in 1972, underwent a major facelift.

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One of the biggest benefits to our customers is that we always have a lot of rectangles in inventory. The owner decided to add these as a component of LEED certification, and there wasn’t a lot of time to get them delivered. We had most of the material in inventory, and could produce the order quickly – which, in this case, meant 40 planters (8′, 4′ and 36″ square) on site in 3-4 weeks. We will always do our best to meet your deadline!

IMG_4216Our ability to customize product for our clients is another of the exceptional advantages of working with us that doesn’t get much “press.” To us, it’s just part of working with the specifier community, but to our customers it can be the best possible answer to a vexing concern.

We ran into that situation at the Joseph Arnold Lofts in Seattle, a premium, modern loft apartment building situated in one of the city’s most desirable residential locations; boasting unobstructed water and city views with sophisticated apartment living. 

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You can see from the image above that they used our Wilshire Collection rectangles to add landscape to the entrance of the building, a very common usage. The challenge here, as designed by The Berger Partnership and installed by Green Effects, was that it was on a dramatic slope and had irregular access.  They wanted a planter to define the diagonal walkway from the driveway. We had to create a custom FRP planter with a 46° angle wall. Because we were pressed on time for this project, our tooling team figured out how to create both parts from one somewhat complicated tool.  It was a creative solution that saved a few extra days in tooling and casting!

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Unusual, but still pretty straight forward.

We’re in the process of fabricating a custom solution for the multi-family residential building at 2300 Harrison St. in San Francisco, designed by landscape architects Van Dorn Abed. In addition to a number of our standard Aquarian Collection planters, designer Whitney Miller came up with a “wave planter” design, which features 5 different pots to create a highly unique element. Again, what could have been a leadtime nightmare was turned into a huge save by our tooling group, who were able to modify each mold after the necessary parts were cast. Here are the elements, waiting to be painted yesterday.

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We joke around here that we’ve never seen an architect design the same building twice – which is why we see so many customizations. Seriously, we consider custom capabilities a core strength, and will continue to suggest creative ways to allow the designer to express their vision.