Tag Archives: Wilshire planters

Wilshire Planters Atop Lofts at River East

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In the July/August 2017 issue of Retrofit Magazine, Tournesol Siteworks‘ product was featured in an editorial regarding a large project in Chicago, and we were thrilled! The article written by KJ Fields, titled “Lofty Gathering Spot” (pages 72-77), pertains to Lofts at River East: a roof deck offering the apartment dwellers a restful spot for entertainment, social gatherings and relaxation.

‘Chicago is a very industrial city, so it’s helpful
to have outdoor spaces where people can
gather,’ remarks Hana Ishikawa, design principal
at Chicago’s site design group ltd., the firm
that performed The Lofts at River East’s rooftop
landscape architecture. ‘Roof decks on apartment
buildings are very popular in Chicago and
they’re becoming increasingly elaborate. This
renovation has beautiful loft units and it really
needed a nice roof deck to complement them.’

Architects from Chicago firms Fitzgerald Associates Architects and Ghafari Associates collaborated with Landscape Architect, Yuki Takeshima, with Site Design to create the 10,000 sq. ft. amenity space atop the roof deck. The building owner requested many stipulations, desiring to make the deck luxurious and inviting. The landscape architect faced many challenges designing the space. The roof top holds a varying range of grade changes due to the building’s main duct-work and air-handling units being on the roof. The environment had to span over the mechanical and electrical units. Site used the levels to their advantage by creating outdoor “rooms” using landscape and plants for division so the separations did not feel forced.

Wilshire planters at Lofts at River East, Photo by Scott Shigley

In one of these “rooms,” site specified our Wilshire Collection planters  with matching container irrigation.  From Glenview, IL, Intrinsic Landscaping Inc. installed the planters, manufactured from FRP Fiberglass material in our smooth T-0 texture (shown in the image above). They chose MMP Aluminum for the planters’ color; the MMP color mimics the look of our more expensive metal-infused pots, yet the MMP painted colors won’t change over time, unlike the real metals. This continuous color provides predictability for commercial applications.

The Lofts at River East is fabulous and enjoyed by tenants, their friends and families. One last quote from the article  states,

Although the generous views to the
water and Chicago skyline are expansive,
the designers kept the scale human with
the outdoor rooms, diverse-sized furniture
groupings and plant selections.

Taking care of (someone else’s) business…

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One of the most important things that Tournesol Siteworks offers is the promise to make sure that things are correct. Recently a project came to our attention that demonstrated that commitment.

The project in question was a mixed-use development in Oakland, completed in the Summer of 2016. Our Wilshire Collection planters had been specified both on a second-floor terrace area as well as along the corners of the main structure.

Wilshire Collection Square and Rectangular Planters

Northern California has had quite a rainy season so far. Shortly after it started, our regional sales manager Troy Nottingham received a call from the landscape contractor on the project, complaining about leaking and deforming pots. We quickly contacted our local distributor to figure out exactly what we sold on the project.

Before we got the information from the distributor, the general contractor escalated the issue by emailing us, the specifying landscape architect, owner, and everyone else. Troy adjusted his schedule and visited the project the next day to assess the situation.

Wilshire Collection Rectangular and Square Planters

It was a fairly simple answer – there were 60″L x 18″W x 36″H planters at the corners of the project, and the ones facing west had nothing to block the rain. The pots were plumbed for irrigation, but not drainage, and were filling up with water. As they filled, the walls flexed out significantly, something that won’t typically happen with our containers. In addition, the caulk seal around the irrigation penetration wasn’t holding, and water was leaking out.

Troy followed up the site visit with a full report to the landscape architect, general contractor, and landscape contractor. He gave an analysis of the problem, and provided several suggestions to relieve the stress on the containers and solve the problem.

The next week he called the project manager for the landscape contractor, and asked about the next steps. Sheepishly, the contractor admitted that Tournesol had provided the pots for the second-floor terrace (which were doing just fine), but that they had gone to another manufacturer for the ones on the ground floor(!). He hadn’t realized it initially when calling us, only finding out after speaking with their purchaser.

We were of course relieved to know that it wasn’t our product that was the issue. It’s also good to know that when contractors feel that something is wrong, they can count on us to make it right. However, we’d prefer not to have to troubleshoot someone else’s problem!

 

San Francisco Shipyard Coming to Life

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The Hunters Point Naval Shipyard area in San Francisco, CA, is being transformed and will eventually be a residential extension of the Bayview neighborhood. This part of the city is up and coming, and is part of the city that outsiders see most rarely. The first phase of construction began in 2014, and first completed was a beautiful park for the community to enjoy. There will be residential housing that encompasses 800 units, and 20 acres of parks. Five residential units have been completed so far in this construction zone, and three more are underway, designed by four different architectural firms.

Block 51, Wilshire BOx Hanging Planters

One of the firms, Ian Birchall and Associates, specified Tournesol Siteworks products for the four-story condo building they designed. We referred to the project as Block 51 which has a large courtyard, accessible from the street. Inside the courtyard, IBA designed a modern wall of green vegetation beginning with our Wilshire Box Hanging Planters. Landscape contractors Shooter & Butts, Inc. installed the hanging planters on a metal wall with metal trellises where vines grow/climb up the wall.

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Courtyard of Block 51, Wilshire Box Hanging Planters

We design the hanging planters so that the product doesn’t take center stage – we prefer the plants steal the show. The hanging brackets are powder coated with stainless mounting studs. The brackets tuck into the back of the box, so the planter can snug up next to the wall.

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The plants quickly grow and expand onto the trellis screens. Using our WB-1218 (12″W x 18″H in, 72″L and 96″L) boxes maximizes the room the plants can grow. Typically, the more soil there is in a pot, the bigger the plant will get (the roots expand as much as the upper part of the plant will). IBA also chose various sizes of our lightweight FRP Fiberglass planters from our Wilshire Collection now located around the perimeter of the building.

The installation looks amazing and we’re sure the tenants will enjoy their surroundings full of warmth and color.

 

 

Roof Deck Planters with Cast-in Accessory Pockets

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Many commercial, retail and even residential building owners in San Francisco are desiring rooftop decks and amenity spaces. The roof deck rage may be attributed to a brilliant use of space (which is a luxury in SF), possible city views, and the social aspect. Developers at DDG Partners agree with the modern inspiration of the roof deck and have collaborated with Marta Fry Landscape Associates (MFLA) on a few projects in recent years. Marta Fry has specified Tournesol Siteworks products on these projects – located at 8 Octavia St., 400 Grove St. and another at 450 Hayes St. in SF.

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450 Hayes St., SF; Photo courtesy of DDG Partners

Hayes St. is situated in Hayes Valley, a small, popular neighborhood in San Francisco styled with modern eateries, dog parks, and hip shopping boutiques. We’re highlighting the project at 450 Hayes to present our Cast-In Accessory Pockets, one of our Planter Options.

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Wilshire Collection rectangular planters on 450 Hayes St. roof deck

While designing the landscape of the rooftop of this luxury condominium complex, MFLA wanted to include lighting accessories inside planters but was uninterested in the look of the standard cast-in concrete pockets available. Knowing our Cast-In Accessory Pocket capabilities, MFLA specified our planters for the project due to the success of previous installations.

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Exterior accessory housing

MFLA collaborated with landscape contractors from Native Sons Landscaping, out of San Ramon, who completed the installation. Tournesol Siteworks customized the Wilshire Collection planters with pockets to hold lighting/electrical boxes since MFLA wanted the lighting to be hidden – our accessory pockets were a great solution.

Pocket crop

Prior to the installation, our engineers required the housing (back) of the lighting fixture/electrical outlet, so they could obtain the exact measurement of the cast-in pocket size required. MFLA requested specific placement of the pockets (on either long edge or short edge of the rectangle), by determining the height of the pocket from the planter sides as well as the top and bottom of the planter. A total of 48 planters were made of FRP Fiberglass,  in a smooth T-0 texture and in one of our standard colors “Puddle.” Each planter measured 96″L x 30″W x 30″H, and was fitted with light pockets per specifications.

This is an outstanding roof deck installation and is widely used by the condominium tenants for a smart, social gathering place.

 

Rockin’ the Rooftops in Emeryville!

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Along the San Francisco Bay, sits the small city of EmeryvilIe, squeezed between Oakland and Berkeley. The city has risen from an industrial wasteland to a city encompassing major retailers, life science companies, fine dining, shopping, theaters, and pleasant neighborhoods. Emeryville’s economic growth has increased the need for multi-family development. One recently developed apartment community is located at the corner of 64th Street and Christie Avenue. The 190-unit, 5-story residential  complex was completed in 2014. We visited the project two years later to show you Tournesol Siteworks’ pots and planters highlighted on the rooftop, amenity deck and entrance to the building.

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The property was creatively designed by Steinberg Architects, who collaborated with landscape architects from The Guzzardo Partnership, both San Francisco-based firms. Guzzardo specified Tournesol Siteworks products for the project which required multiple planters from a few of our collections. Golden State Landscaping installed the planters and filled them with lush greenery and succulents for the tenants to enjoy.

From our Wilshire Collection, Guzzardo used 51 FRP fiberglass square planters – 24 in the color Royalty, 13 in Ivory and 14 in a custom color “Oxide Red.” For the texture, they chose the smooth, conventional finish of T-0. The red planters gracefully enhance (as shown below) the space on the rooftop.

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Also from our Wilshire Collection, they specified 38 of our Fiberglass FRP rectangular planters – 12 in the color Pitch (texture T-0) and 26 in Shadow. The rectangles in Shadow were placed along the perimeter of the roof deck and produced in the T-1 finish, which enhances the durability of the planter and helps to resist scratching.

From our Urban Collection, Guzzardo chose 17 square planters – eight in the color Pitch and nine in a custom color “Traffic Yellow.” The yellow planters have a T-0 smooth finish and were placed at the building’s entrance, offering a bright, colorful entry (as shown below).

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Our Downtown Collection FRP Fiberglass round planters, displayed in the photo below, were also ordered in “Oxide Red” (the same color used above) and Shadow with the T-1 texture (33 and 13, respectively).  The distinctive shapes were placed along the amenity deck and walls of the complex.

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Emeryville is rocking with this creatively designed, multi-family residential apartment building and we were thrilled to be part of such a large installation. It’s nice to revisit this project after a few years, to know the tenants are happy and to see that everything still looks great!

Cambridge’s Custom Benches & Planters

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In the heart of Cambridge, MA (formerly Newtowne from 1630-1703), is Kendall Square – an exciting place for the expanding Technology/Biotechnology market. The neighborhood is full of shops, restaurants, and movie theaters rubbing elbows with institutions and corporations including MIT, Google, Amazon, and Twitter, among others. In the heart of Kendall Square is 50 Hampshire Street, holding the largest block of adjacent space in the square. Recently, 50 Hampshire Street underwent a fabulous lobby renovation and new exterior landscape design.

Photo Courtesy of Copley Wolff Design Group

Local firm CBT Architects collaborated with Boston landscape architect Copley Wolff Design Group to create an extraordinary design which included custom made wooden benches and planters. Copley Wolff specified Tournesol Siteworks for the construction of the planters and 20 custom Boulevard thermally-modified wood benches. The benches were fabricated in Tournesol Siteworks‘ Northern California facility and locally installed by landscape contractors  Brightview (formerly Valleycrest) of Boston.

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The custom dimensions of the Boulevard wood are 72″L x 24″W x 18″H with the wood running the length of both bench sides and tops. Our Boulevard 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 Cambridge’s varying weather) and makes Boulevard wood resistant to warp, twist and other movement.

Photo Courtesy of Copley Wolff Design Group

Along with the custom benches, we created 11 custom FRP Fiberglass Wilshire Collection planters in rectangular dimensions of 72″L x 24″W x 36″H, and 2 tall square Wilshire collection planters sized 24″Sq. x 48″H. Copley Wolff required that the planters be anchored to the ground, so they specified the reinforced bottom option and pre-drilled drain holes. A planter with a reinforced bottom contains a strong piece of plywood between layers of the fiberglass on the base, which provides a solid panel to anchor to the ground and spreads the load should the planter move.

All of the planters are outfitted with our CWM Modular Container Irrigation to fit the shape and size of each planter. The CWM system gives the ability to store incredible amounts of water and reduce maintenance.

Photo Courtesy of Copley Wolff Design Group

We’re thrilled to take part in this project, just down the street from the 200 Sidney project. The Boulevard wood is coming to Boston!

 

 

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.

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!

Iconic 101 California St. in the City By the Bay

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101 California Street in San Francisco is an iconic, 48-story building in the heart of the Financial District. The interior lobby is a thing of beauty in itself, an atrium with the first seven stories enclosed in glass. Tournesol Siteworks was fortunate to be contacted by Gensler, San Francisco, when they were recently  working on the lobby renovation.

Gensler received an internal referral recommending us for the project after we worked with them on the rooftop of the Dolby headquarters building, also in San Francisco. On the Dolby project, Tournesol Siteworks worked from the architect’s initial concepts to create products that could be manufactured off common tooling wherever possible.IMG_7940

For 101 California Street’s lobby redesign, Gensler had a very specific concept for the lobby planters. They wanted metal planters with stone on the front face. The design was rather complex, and involved a FRP liner as well as an internal metal structure. We were able to simplify the design with a Wilshire Square FRP pot, which eliminated the need for the internal frame. We collaborated with Design Workshops in Oakland, who created the decorative outer element as designed.

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Design Workshops clad the outside of the pot directly. Our Wilshire square planters are made to withstand the pressures of the soil, water and interior preparation for what the designer wanted to display, and for the lobby to be protected from the elements. The collaboration brought the overall cost of the project down – a win-win for all involved.

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