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.
The Women’s Center, a project in Grant’s Pass, Oregon that houses both the Women’s Health Center of Southern Oregon and Asante Women’s Imaging project is close to complete, as winter weather falls (see recent updates here and here). In the past month, finishing touches on stormwater facilities, stonework and entry water feature were completed. A gray day makes for not the best light, but occasionally a rainbow or two, but here are a few photos of the completed project.
A swale to convey stormwater runoff from parking areas is placed along the front facade of the building, with crossings for pedestrians to connect to the larger hospital campus seen in the distance to the north. There are a series of stone weirs that hold stormwater and connect the site to the building.
The swale connects to a large, sculptural raingarden to manage all of the site runoff. Bisected with natural stone walls, this stepped series of vegetated pools cleans and detains runoff, also aiding in acheiving the LEED certification. A patio overlooks the garden, along with an overlook from the curved access path.
The entry plaza provides seating (using large glu-lam beams), and a place to sit and soak up some Southern Oregon sun – in close proximity, but separated from the main entry walkway (under the canopy) from the landscaped parking area. In the distance you see some of the amazing native Oaks that were saved on-site during construction.
The water feature at the entrance evokes the power and sound of the Rogue River, which flows through Grant’s Pass, with a sequence of spring, meander, riffle, falls, and pools that provide a range of acoustic interest and textures as water passes through. The ‘Micro-Rogue’ runs the length of the plaza, flowing underneath the sidewalk to the other side of the pathway.
It should look pretty amazing in spring and summer, so will post some updated photos then. Also, stay tuned for a video of the water feature – to see the Micro-Rogue in action.
Terra Fluxus was in the news again, with a DJC Oregon piece by Lee Fehrenbacher on the green roof industry quoting owner and Principal Landscape Architect on some of the challenges of getting green roofs built in Portland. The industry has a positive outlook overall – which bodes well for the firm, which focuses on green roofs in addition to other ecological design and planning strategies.
As mentioned in the article:
“Jason King, principal of TERRA.fluxus, a Portland design firm specializing in eco-technology, launched his business in
2008. (2010) It endured the recession with the help of several large green roof projects at OHSU and the Bonneville Power Administration headquarters in the Lloyd District. King said the public sector has been the biggest market for green roofs, because the long-term return on investment pencils out easily. According to a 2008 cost benefit analysis by the city, the net benefit to a private owner of a green roof after 40 years is $404,000. After just five years, however, the net benefit is minus $129,000.
That latter number makes a green roof a hard sell to a developer who builds and sells in the short term, and King said other systems like bio-swales and impervious pavers become alternatives. He questions what would happen if the city’s $5-per-square-foot incentive were to expire. Burlin said the program has enough money to offer incentives through mid-2013.
“I don’t think we’ve gotten there yet,” King said as to whether green roofs can pencil out without incentives. “I don’t think we’ve looked at the life cycle costs and made the financial case to owners, particularly those … developing in the short term.”
To elaborate a bit, there’s a direct financial incentive for public owners (such as the GSA, which owns the BPA building shown above) because they can absorb a longer return-on-investment and reap significant gains. This isn’t to say it doesn’t make sense to others, but it’s a more difficult sell to add to re-roofing or structural upgrades, when the remaining financial incentives (reduced stormwater fees) are relatively small. We may see more of the externalities start to have some specific price tags, such as incentives for habitat, heat island reduction, or aesthetics – but that’s definitely My concern isn’t whether the $5 / square foot incentive will mean the death of green roofs in Portland. I think the industry and the types of developers, along with some of the other incentives such as FAR bonus, will continue to install green roofs.
We need, as an industry, to get real about some of the costs and the appropriate types of installation – rather than a standard ‘product’ applied any project as a commodity, the idea of designing for the specific needs of a project makes sense for two reasons. The first, is that you are designing for the specific needs of a client – and for the configuration of the roof, which eliminates unnecessary edging, layers, plastic trays, and other items that folks use to generate money at the expense of the building owner. This should mean less cost (and less waste), and inevitably more green roofs.
Second, it breeds innovation, and allows for constant refinement of process, to improve every time – rather than continually churning out the same product over and over. Using our shared knowledge and appropriate experimentation, we can improve through innovating new details, materials, and methods. And innovation, inevitably, it was makes the industry thrive.
Link to a full PDF of the article here.
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.
A follow-up visit of some OHSU green roofs show them filling in nicely – which is pretty good progress for projects after a full season and a winter or two. We had difficulty with some early plantings, a quick deep freeze killed some of the plants, and summer issues including fine-tuning the irrigation, some construction traffic, and other issues kept the roof from getting established quickly. What happens with sedum cuttings (and sedum species in general) is to shift from green to red. While some species are always reddish in color – others are green and shift to red when stressed (which is why many roofs look more red in the late summer). At some point, and typically with cuttings, addition of more water won’t shift back to a healthy green. The evolution over the past year and a half for the CDRC is telling – as the evolution roof to go from newly planted to red, sparse, and through irrigation, fertilization and some supplemental cuttings, back to healthy.
The issue with CDRC has been found at a number of local roofs, and leads many roofs established with cuttings to move towards a more ‘stressed’ condition of red foliage, and some plant sparseness. The C-Wing project at OHSU, now in its second season, is going through a similar issue, and will benefit from some early spring fertilization, which should make the sedums pop while still maintaining the color bands and texture difference.
The HRC Project has a somewhat different issue… as it is shady and hasn’t had the amount of stress. The roof is looking really nice even with the lack of sunlight during winter months, and ferns, strawberry, and other shade-loving plants are thriving. There are a few sedum species that tolerate shade, and these are doing ok, but are slow to fill in. The plan is to take some of the plants that are doing better and supplement other areas to provide more soil and to allow areas to fill in more. This amount of shade was definitely a challenge, but overall has been a success.
Strawberry and ferns are lush in contrast with the blue glass ‘stream’ meandering throughout the roof.
At the upcoming Ecoroof Symposium, OHSUs Chad Sorber will be presenting lesson’s learned on maintenance of rooftop projects at OHSU, which will include many of these projects. As we have shown, the learning curve and accumulation of knowledge on all of these projects is on-going, and requires good communication between designers, manufacturers, contractors, owners, and maintenance staff to keep projects looking good and functioning correctly. The fine-tuning and course corrections on projects doesn’t happen by merely planting and walking away – but by continual study and adjustments using everyone’s collective knowledge. The results, however, speak for themselves.
There’s been a lot of buzz about the new Futsal Court planned by Hacienda Community Development Corporation, located in Northeast Portland. TERRA.fluxus, as part of the Green Above Ground collaborative, is designing the green roof portion, and incorporating stormwater management strategies along with Cushing Civil Engineers. We are working with the rest of the design team, including Hacienda, Scott | Edwards Architecture, and general contractor LMC Construction, along with a range of other partners.
The Oregonian mentioned the project as well, along with a mention in the Daily Journal of Commerce, along with a recent announcement of donations from both Adidas and the Portland Timbers. A view from Killingsworth shows the configuration of the roof, which will include 4,000 square feet of vegetation along the south side.
The project will be funded by the City of Portland Ecoroof Incentive as part of the contract with the Green Above Ground team that includes Snyder Roofing of Oregon, Teufel Landscape, and Verde. A major component of our project will include mentoring and workforce development for green roof construction and roofing through project partners to give minority workers additional skills in the sustainable industries.
KPTV Channel 12 also had a longer story about the court, showing the need in the neighborhood. Stay tuned for more buzz as the project continues to take shape.
A recent article on Greenroofs.com by BES Landscape Architect Casey Cunningham mentioned a couple of current TERRA.fluxus projects here in Portland. The short essay delves into the more than 100,000 square feet of green roof built in Portland in 2011. Amongst the many project featured comments about the BPA 905 Building project, as well as mentioned retrofits at OHSU including the C-Wing, and the Hatfield Research Center – shown below.
This makes me excited to update the previously developed infographic from September 2010 which showcased the overall total square footage of rooftop projects that I have worked on throughout the years – which doesn’t include many of the projects from the last two years.
Look for an update of this soon – as we have peaked above 3 acres of built work, and are well on our way to 4 acres!
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:
Starting off 2012 with a bang, TERRA.fluxus is proud to announce two new projects, working with some of our great existing clients. First, we’re continuing work with the great folks at Asante Health System, this time building on the work at the Women’s Center and the masterplan for the Three Rivers Community Hospital (TRCH) in Grant’s Pass, in addition to the Genesis Campus Master Plan in Central Point, and the Asante Court Park in Medford. After working on a small parking lot expansion at TRCH last year, we are beginning the next phase in the overall campus building, working on a new Outpatient Center (with TVA Architects leading the efforts, and continuing work on site issues with KPFF Civil Engineers) which will include in addition to the new building a parking expansion, stormwater facilities, and artwork. Some preliminary rendering of the building can be seen below:
Following up the successful endeavor at Move the House Apartments, we will be working with the great team at Urban Development Partners again, moving down the block at bit to another location along Southeast Division street at 33rd Avenue. The project has a different configuration and architecture, and we’re happy to be collaborating with the talented designers at THA Architecture to make this project a reality. A quick snapshot of the concept plan shows some of the interesting features, including stormwater planters, permeable paving, green screens, and vegetated green roof areas.
The project will certainly evolve, so more on both of these projects as they progress.