The landscape design intent is to emphasize the best aspects of the site. To achieve this, the typical approach would be to design around the structure and paved areas. However, the design may be viewed as the hardscape spaces being carved into the landscape, alluding to the experience of working in a meadow. By working within the existing landscape, we are creating meaningful gathering spaces for outdoor working, meeting, breaks, eating, playing, hiking and running. To further the connection with the site, the design utilizes planting with plant communities native to the region; restoring and maintaining existing disturbed areas including the wetlands.
The native plant communities that exist, or that may have existed on the site, such as wetlands, willow scrub, woodland, Diegan coastal sage scrub, Southern coastal bluff scrub and native grassland will serve as inspiration for the new landscape. This provides an authentic look and feel, as these plantings are visually and ecologically compatible with the larger context. They also serve practical functions by providing habitat, serving as an educational resource, and, since they are fully adapted to the region, will be low maintenance and conserve water.
Comfortable outdoor meeting and resting places will be provided for informal gathering, or as ‘living rooms.’ Green roofs will vary in design based upon adjacent interior uses. The entry plaza will showcase a seasonal water feature, displaying the importance and positive impacts of stormwater management.
At the core of the landscape will be the central courtyard, integrating and enhancing the existing wetlands. The presence of wetlands, willow scrub and woodland presents an opportunity to detain and filter stormwater. This will conserve water, minimize run-off, remove pollutants and can provide seasonal interest during the winter and spring when they may hold water, thus serving as natural water features.