Some rough footage of the water feature at the Women’s Center of Southern Oregon, which was completed in the fall of 2012. I put together a compilation of some clips from the feature in action, which takes the Rogue River as a analogy for the design, particularly the variation of textures and depths which articulates subtleties of light and sound.
A great article in today’s Daily Journal of Commerce discusses the ground-breaking for the Three Rivers Community Hospital (TRCH) Outpatient Center project for Asante. The project is designed by TVA Architects, and includes an all-star team of consultants. TERRA.fluxus is thrilled to be providing landscape architecture for the project, including respite areas, stormwater management, entry plaza, parking, and other site improvements. This continues a long line of projects including the Women’s Center of Southern Oregon, along with Creekside Clinic, Asante Court, and the Asante Genesis Campus.
The landscape for the site modulates between the urban and the natural, aiming to be an extension of the architecture. Key moments through the site provide a visible statement of Asante’s commitment to sustainable design including swales in parking areas, flow-through planters along the entry, and street frontage building swales. As mentioned by TVA Principal Monty Hill in the article, the building “…objective was to improve the patient experience through architectural design. He said the outpatient facility’s interior will feature lots of natural materials like stones and woods, which people inherently respond to positively. So it’s more like a nice hotel,” Hill said. “It’s a critical time in your life and so you need to be treated well and you need to have a comforting space.” Hill said the design also would use a lot of natural light and provide numerous smaller, intimate waiting areas to give loved ones more privacy in challenging situations.”
Another interesting feature of the design is slated for the entry way, where a Rogue River inspired water conveyance will express roof runoff and carry it to a series of linear stormwater planters. Positioned by the front entry, the feature will also allow for seating, engaging users with the landscape in a site specific way. Some early renderings of the feature show the overall configuration of the design.
Inspired by the braided channels of area streams, along with the variation of flow rates from minimal to torrential, the feature includes a tracery of pathways with low, medium, and high flow. The entire feature will be ringed with a trench drain to convey water as it spills over the edges.
A close up shows the channels, with a surface flow, and a textured high volume flow that will create sound as water rushes past. Materials will be local stone veneer from area quarries.
Inspired by the concepts of urban nature from Wild in the City, we developed artwork and interpretive signage at Move the House that shows people opportunities for providing food, water, shelter, and other elements for a number of beneficial critters that can accommodated, even on a dense site like this. We’ve previously showed the living wall and the vertical wetland, so these are smaller installation that have habitat value and liven up the site along the south property line. The overall signage outlines in simple prose some of the beneficial elements. Located near the main residential entry, the signage provides a roadmap for the site elements.
Zooming in a bit, you see some of the detail of raised metal cutouts, and some of the simple habitat-friendly sentiments.
The features themselves are simple, but illuminate four major elements. First, is the ‘Stick Stack’ which is created to provide habitat for small insects and other macro invertebrates that reside alongside us in the urban realm.
Second is a simple stone birdbath, which provides water for many species, including birds and small mammals.
Third is a tall snag log, which also has been drilled around the trunk to provide nesting spaces for mason bees.
Finally, a red-flowering sculpture will house hummingbird feeders, and augment the attractions of the native plantings on the planting areas and living walls.
All sculptures and metal work by Ivan McLean, with words from Metro, and graphics by TERRA.fluxus.
A preliminary rough cut of some footage of the Move the House Apartments in Southeast Portland. I took the opportunity to capture a bit of video on a windy day that offered a significant downpour that activated many of the site features. See it in action below:
The living wall installation is complete at the Move the House Apartments (see in progress shots here) – with all of the 20 species of plants placed in waves through the galvanized metal troughs around two sides of the short structure. The structure conceals the interior of the trash enclosure, which is accessible through the sliding wooden doors seen below.
The plantings are planned in waves, moving from the upper left towards the lower right, with a range of colors and textures that will last throughout the four seasons. The arrangement takes into account the different moisture gradients that will occur from dry to moist to wet from top to bottom. Although just planted with 4″ pots, some of the bands are starting to become legible. The accessibility of the plantings to the users is also important, as some are meant to be activated with aromas as people brush past them, particularly near doorways to the trash and recycling.
A few more photos shows the variety of species and the details of the simple structure of the living wall, which measures around 160 square feet of area total. Plantings will wrap around the front corner, softening the edge that protrudes into the pedestrian space.
Even newly planted, the vegetation is starting to attract bees and other pollinators, as seen on the subtle flowers of the Origanum ‘Kent Beauty’ in bloom. Butterflies have also been spotted in the past day or so. Not bad for a project that is literally days old.
As with all of our projects, we will be monitoring the evolution of the plantings over time, and adjusting some of the configuration. Also important will be maintenance, as the predominant form of these plants is to drape rather than climb, so the overall composition may shift as certain plants fill in and others shift. But that’s part of the fun… stay tuned for more.
Lots of activity on the Move the House project, as artwork and landscaping along with final site elements come together. The sidewalk has been poured, and street trees installed, green canopy planters on the first floor, along with the artwork and relocated tree along Division. Contractor Lorentz Bruun along with landscape contractor Landservices of Oregon has done a great job of dealing with the unique complexities of the site and landscape elements and realizing the beautiful structure design by Francis Dardis of Stack Architecture.
The relocated tree was moved in a couple of weeks ago, a 25′ Japanese Maple that previously sat on the site near the house that was moved. Developer and owner Urban Development Partners (UD+P) had the foresight to have the tree moved and stored off-site by Big Trees Today, then brought back to provide instant green along the street. To accommodate the move, the root ball measured 100″ diameter, as seen in the photograph below.
The tree sits adjacent to the new cor-ten metal sculpture by Ivan McLean, which acts as a vertical wetland to capture water from building roofs and express the movement prior to conveyance back to the larger flow-through planter. The sculpture itself measures 10’x10′ and provides a thin wedge that is both substantial and airy. Below is the sculpture arriving on-site.
And it being located in it’s spot adjacent to the building along Division, where it will act as an iconic marker for passing traffic. Plantings will be located on top, inside, and along the front edge and water will travel vertically throughout these zones prior to overflowing.
The eventual route for stormwater comes to the extensive flow-through planter, located along the rear property line, which provides stormwater management for the site per City of Portland standards, which is particularly crucial as the site is located in a Combined Sewer Overflow area, so this site will hold water on-site for longer, alleviating pressure on the system in peak flows, and ensuring better water quality for our regions streams and rivers. This infrastructure on-site is augmented by permeable paving in all other site locations – shown in the irregular patterning of gray and brown square unit pavers.
The other piece coming together is the living wall that will wrap the exterior of the trash enclosure. This innovative feature, one of many funded by Metro as part of their Green Innovation Grant program – including the vertical wetland, green canopies, wildlife art, and signage. The initial structure was built, which will house recycling and garbage but will be transformed into a significant site amenity.
Due to the central location, the concept calls for a series of troughs that wrap around two sides of the structure – designed by TERRA.fluxus and fabricated by Ivan Mclean – which will provide for a tapestry of vegetation that will provide color, texture, and scent to this area. The initial armature has been welded in place, and you can see the structure along with a close-up of the troughs – which will hold soil and plants, and be irrigated with linear drip tubing.
The plans for the Move the House Apartments are taking shape, including a change in the configuration of the Vertical Wetland (previous version here). Working closely with artist Ivan McLean, we have reconfigured the vertical wetland to address some concerns about durability and the capacity to handle large amounts of water. The reconfigured version is a corten steel ‘wedge’ that will fit into the existing plant bed, seen in the revised images below:
A detailed cutaway shows the way water will move through the structure, with a primary flow traveling along the front edge with planted pockets of vegetation and soil. A secondary overflow allows water to escape down the back side and inside the planter. In a torrential storm, water will overflow the circular ring inside the top of the planter and fall inside the vegetated zones. All water off the roof will be captured inside the vertical wetland feature, and will overflow to a subsurface pipe that runs to the larger site flow-through planter to the south. The structure is also elevated slightly above grade, allowing the art to float above the planting surface. This will assure a dynamic feature visible from within the site and along Division Street.
As part of the work on the innovative features for the Move the House project (previously featured here), one of which involves design of a ‘Vertical Wetland’ that provides a vegetated cascade of roof water from the building through a series of cells that contain soil and plantings. The 12 foot tall features spirals from above grade to outlet in a drain, where it is conveyed to a larger flow-through planter for additional quantity and quality control. The functional art piece provides visible expression of water and will be visible from Division Street pedestrians and vehicles.
Some additional detail shows the configuration of cells radiating out from a compact base. Clearance from higher planters extend out over pedestrian zones, and lower ones are within planting zones, which also makes them visible from within the storefront windows.
The abstraction of natural features in a urban context is vital to connect people to the underlying processes surrounding them. The Vertical Wetland will provide an educational opportunity and activate the adjacent plaza area and streetscape. And thanks to Michael Yun for the great sketchup work on this complex geometry.
Under development is a project along 38th & Division in Portland, Oregon – an infill mixed-use apartment complex developed by Urban Development Partners and designed by Francis Dardis with a range of sustainable features. A few renderings of the proposed project gives you a feel for the style, which provides a modern twist along this southeast Portland street. The major features include moving an existing house to the back of the property, and a split building that spans overtop a community courtyard that drifts through the property.
The project includes permeable paving and flow-through planters to accommodate stormwater management, which is beneficial as the project is within a combined sewer overflow (CSO) area, so additional measures were taken to relieve the pressure on the City infrastructure through this development as part of the Stormwater Management Manual. The challenge in meeting all of these requirements is to avoid stormwater becoming a problem and to treat it as an opportunity. A view of the site plan shows additional features that add to the vibrancy of the project, including artwork and landscape beds integrated through the site. In addition, the project is getting additional funding from Metro to provide innovative development approaches, which added some great ideas to an already cool project.
The canopies around the perimeter of the project will include vegetated planters to soften the building edges and provide an amenity from street level as well as from units. The following sheet shows the configuration of these ‘Green Canopies’ along with their detailed specifications and locations.
Another feature is a living wall that will surround the trash enclosure area, turning what could be a difficult area into an amenity. The design will use a custom metal fabricated system of vertical trays that will hold growing media and a number of perennials and herbs to provide color and texture throughout the seasons.
On the south portion of the property, we are incorporating a number of habitat art elements, including areas for mason bees, hummingbirds and songbirds, micro-invertebrate habitat areas, and a bird-bath feature, along with interpretive information.
The habitat is closely aligned with the site plantings, which is densely configured along the south of the property and includes screening and a large flow-through planter which will include a number of habitat-friendly species that provide shelter, food, water, and other inputs to a range of insects, birds, mammals, and potentially amphibians or other species. For a small site, this concentration of planting area creates a significant patch, especially due to its adjacency to the Ivon Community Garden.
A visual matrix of species associations shows the benefits that come from the site features, and it is interesting to note how particular species are beneficial to multiple different types of habitat from invertebrates to birds and mammals. It will be fun to see the the success of the site in attracting wildlife through art and landscape as it matures.
The site is currently under construction, and additional features are being developed, so stay tuned for updates.