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ASLA-NCC

2013 Awards

Merit Award

750 Second Street
San Francisco, CA
GLS Landscape Architecture
Principal: Gary Strang
Project Team: Gary Strang, Justin Frodesen and Eric Boucher
Client: Gould Evans

There are alternating bands of planting and stone, with six ball and burlap multi-trunked Paperbark Maples (Acer griseum) from Oregon.
Solid cast glass cylinders are embedded in the tall property line wall to provide backlit relief and abstract views of neighboring buildings.
The basalt ‘throne’ seat is polished to a black glassy finish, and is naturally shaped to collect water and hold it for a few days after a rainstorm.
The view from 7 floors of condominiums above reveals the simple organizational idea of subtly angled stepping terraces.  Starting from the top, the materials are glass tiled basin, stainless steel wall cap, bush hammered concrete wall, galvanized steel overflow scuppers, linear LED signage lights, Liriope ‘Silver Dragon’ groundcover, painted steel plate planter wall, basalt gravel, bush hammered concrete planter wall, Ophiopogon groundcover, painted steel plate planter wall and reflective stone paving.  Cut and polished basaly columns are used for water receptacles, splashblocks and ‘throne’.
Simple concrete walls have been bush hammered to provide a ‘burlap’ pattern that catches the morning sun.
Rainwater from the roof is directed through into a 3’-deep basin. Over the course of days, the water is released, a drop at a time, through a copper pipe into basalt vessels. During large storm events, the basin may overflow through galvanized steel scuppers which direct the water onto basalt splashblocks. From the basalt vessels the water slowly permeates into the soil of the Paperbark Maple planter, where it is filtered through 3 layers of sand, gravel and soil.
An unadorned galvanized pipe carries large volumes of water from the roof to a glass tiled basin, where the water is slowly released through tiny copper pipes and galvanized steel overflow scuppers.
The Stormwater Garden steps up to the property line in order to provide views of greenery from inside the units, as well as to provide soil depth and the filtering media for stormwater treatment.
The site is located 1 block from the Giant’s Ballpark in San Francisco, in an area that only 20 years ago was a partially abandoned light industrial area.
Adjacent brick buildings are evidence of the area’s industrial past.  A basalt ‘throne’ is positioned to take advantage of clear views to the sky and the Giant’s Ballpark.

The Stormwater Garden at 750 Second Street is located in a formerly industrial neighborhood near San Francisco’s Giants Ballpark. Rainwater from the roof is captured in a glass tiled basin and slowly released, a drop at a time, over a period of days, into basalt vessels converting a brief rainstorm into a seasonal fountain that operates without pumps or chemicals. Paperbark maples combined with native California basalt, cast glass cylinders, tempered glass rails, bush hammered concrete and plate steel walls make a richly textured landscape seen from adjacent units and balconies above.

The water display is active during the wet season and dormant for many months during the dry season.  The intent is to show that the California climate has a logic and beauty to be celebrated, and that the period of ‘abstinence’ or dormancy makes the wet season all the more appreciated.  Reliance upon power and chemicals to animate California gardens is unnecessary.