Eberly & Associates
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Eberly & Associates
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Rooftop amenity spaces can be designed for a wide range of projects and uses. Installing a green roof is an especially attractive option as it can diversify the designed elements of an amenity space, and provide many benefits such as increased building energy savings, pollinator habitat, and improved air quality. Eberly and Associates is currently leading the design of a large-scale green roof in West Midtown at the Star Metals Office Building. Green roofs will be featured on nine out of 14 levels for an approximate total of 34,000 s.ft. The green roofs on each terrace will enhance the user experience of the amenity space and provide year-round blooms, which is great for pollinators and users alike. Beneath the trays on several levels there will be a Roof Blue system by LiveRoof that can capture and store up to approximately 56,890 gallons of precipitation.

Each terrace will cantilever from the building. This site condition required careful consideration while selecting an appropriate plant palette due to the varying environmental conditions. The plant palette had to be versatile enough to handle different sun, shade, and wind conditions on each side of the building under the cantilevered terraces. On each level, the green roof will be comprised of trays by LiveRoof of varying depths of soil including 2”, 4”, and 6” trays. The 2” trays will feature a wide variety of smaller plants including succulents, flowering perennials, and groundcovers such as ‘Autumn Sunrise’ white stonecrop (Sedum album ‘Autumn Sunrise’), maiden pink (Dianthus kahori), and ‘Chocolate Chip’ bugleweed (Ajuga reptans ‘Chocolate Chip’). The intermediate-sized 4” trays include a mix of flowering perennials, ornamental grasses and groundcovers including ‘Walker’s Low’ catmint (Nepeta x faassenii ‘Walker’s Low’), blue fescue (Festuca glauca), and ‘Blue Moon’ woodland phlox (Phlox divaricata ‘Blue Moon’). The 6” size tray will host flowering perennials and ornamental grasses including ‘Salsa Red’ coneflower (Echinacea x hybrida ‘Salsa Red’) and pink muhly grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris).

The Star Metals Office Building green roof will help compliment Atlanta’s moniker, the city in the forest. We are proud to have contributed to the greening of Atlanta, and plan on continuing this legacy. Our expertise with green roofs can help elevate any project and as landscape architects, we understand how to ensure a positive user experience with these landscape features. We are proud of our work and are more than happy to set up a tour of the green roofs that we have designed upon request.

The out-of-doors is certainly having a moment. In this time of a worldwide pandemic due to COVID-19, the likes of which the vast majority of us haven’t seen in our lives, our need for open space and nature is certainly amplified. The best practice of social distancing has permeated how we live, work, and play. As such, how do we rethink and repurpose our existing physical world, and design for future use, to assist in combatting the virus and enhance our lives and communities?

With the Urban Land Institute’s recent release of “Creative Placemaking: Sparking Development with Arts and Culture”, we’ve been thinking of these methods, specifically in achieving good design, and also in a post (or ongoing) pandemic world.

We are already seeing many design responses across all markets – education, healthcare, office, and retail. Truly, all places that we live, work, and play are affected.

How do we strike a balance of being social safely while creating a sense of community and connection?

We’ve been thinking of some aspects that we believe will be more important as we plan for the future:

Physical Space – how many people or groups do we want to accommodate and how? Are we looking at square footage counts for potential distancing recommendations?

Flexibility – allowing for evolving formats and programming. Identify ‘outside of the box’ open space; what patches of exterior space can do double (or more) duty? Think open streets, parking lot pop-ups, gated schoolyards and fields, easements, etc.

Inclusivity – In claiming and reclaiming exterior space, we have opportunities to ensure a more inclusive and equitable access to green and outdoor space. How do we ensure this?

Economy – how can we provide more and more space, but keep maintenance costs in check?

Comfort – how do we provide for all-season and all-weather use of outdoor space?

Identity – how do we maintain a sense of place, and integrate cultural opportunities?

Right now, we’re thinking about these questions as part of the design team for Lee + White, a 23-acre revitalization of warehouse uses in Atlanta’s Historic West End, and in particular, a planned 36,000 SF central food hall. The design includes extensive flexible exterior space directly engaged with the Atlanta BeltLine, and continues to evolve. Stay tuned for this exciting development and how it employs creative placemaking in today’s world.

All projects begin with a unique set of site challenges regardless of the compact urban site’s project type and location – greenfield, brownfield, adaptive-reuse, redevelopment or renovation. Greenfield sites require designing infrastructure, while other urban sites require changing the existing infrastructure to work with the site’s new use. Existing infrastructure includes utilities, stormwater management, surrounding roads, and trunk lines. Our team has creatively addressed each of these challenges.

Street realignment to create a more pedestrian friendly development and safer intersection.

The intersection of Third and Watkins Streets in West Midtown Atlanta was misaligned, creating obstructed lines of sight, difficult turning radius and often unexpected slowing of traffic along 8th Street, a connecting artery between Howell Mill and Northside Drive. The new 180,000 s.f. office building along the west side of Third Street and the 265-unit apartment and retail development along the east side will generate a significant increase in both pedestrian and vehicular traffic along the street and through the intersection.

With no planned stop signs or stop light, the increased traffic was a significant concern for the two separate property owners and City of Atlanta. Our civil engineering team designed the realignment to create a perpendicular intersection with better lines of sight and safer vehicular and pedestrian circulation.

Because the development had two different property owners, the intersection realignment required a complex real estate transaction between the two property owners and the City of Atlanta. Once the real estate acquisition and land transfers were completed, the intricate civil-site design efforts were engaged to relocate all of the City of Atlanta public utilities to the new right of way.

Third Street had limited traffic prior to this development allowing the contractor who was simultaneously working on the building and the roadway construction to close the street and use it for construction staging.

The resulting intersection with a safe and traditional traffic pattern creates a more walkable community and provided the opportunity for the 8West Office building developer to add public facing amenity space.

Existing storm and sanitary sewer infrastructure.

For many years Ninety-Five 8th Street was not able to be developed. A 60-inch combined trunk-line ran diagonally across the site. The prescribed easement created a 65-foot swath across the middle of the property where nothing could be built. From an engineering perspective, the adjacent streets had several conflicting utilities in the right-of-way and the shallow a pipe slope limited relocation options.

With the resurgence of Midtown Atlanta and the prominence of this site along the 75/85 connector, our team was challenged to find an engineering solution to create a buildable site. In meetings with the Department of Watershed Management we investigated the potential of relocation the trunkline to the right-of-way. We designed a best-case scenario path and alignment then worked with the City to model the optimum size. Upon approval, our engineers carefully monitored the relay of the new trunk alignment and connection with existing system. The result was a site free and clear of the infrastructure burden and available for development.

See what is on the site now.

Stormwater Management Systems within on a tight urban site.

Underground stormwater management systems are the norm on tight urban sites. These systems can be designed and constructed as cast-in-place facilities or as modular systems built within or around the foundations of the building. Each system is typically selected based on their respective benefits.

While coordinating with the other design and engineering disciplines working on the Grady CASS building, the team worked through many design options for the stormwater management system. Given a tight project schedule for this large hospital expansion in downtown Atlanta, our team chose a StormTrap pre-cast modular system. Our team designed a five-vault system to fit within the limited building footprint. Three cisterns are used for detention and two for rainwater harvesting. The rainwater system captures the first one inch of rainfall from the roof and then pumps the treated water for use in the building’s cooling tower. The team modeled the modular vault and worked through clashes with a 3D design management software to ensure there were no conflicts with other disciplines prior to installation.

Due to close proximity of the building foundations, the lateral forces from the adjacent foundations required a specially design vault system.

Lateral Surcharge

In the case of Grady CASS the lateral forces were generated by wind and seismic loads. When these loads are applied to the side of the building the foundations resist the load and hold the building in place.  The foundations then transfer that load to the adjacent soils. Since the pre-cast vaults are only 2’ from the side of the foundation, the soils will then bear on the side of the vaults. Coordination with the building structural engineers, civil engineers and StormTrap engineers led to the sides of the vault being thickened and reinforced to resist these lateral forces.

See our other healthcare experience.

Landscape Architecture, now more than ever, plays a vital role in education design. From the youngest minds to the most elite, it is clear that design can positively impact the overall experience and health of those attending these schools, and allows students and their teachers to come together.

Access to outdoor environments has a direct effect on our health. Fresh air, places to walk, play, and exercise have shown great benefits in many arenas. Specifically, in education we are able to use creative design to better impact, and assist students and their experiences. Focusing primarily on trends we may see stem from COVID, use of outdoor space aside from recreation is now more than ever needed.

Outdoor classrooms are seeing a resurgence. During COVID, the demand for outdoor classrooms has skyrocketed. Any campus without an outdoor teaching space is now at a loss. One area for users, and another for the educator. Highlighting this spatial division between students, and teachers can be an important COVID prevention consideration. Benefitting the health of both the educators and students. Infill can also be achieved on campus by retrofitting a steep slope, or unused outdoor space. Large or small, the benefits of outdoor classrooms are endless and create a pandemic proof learning environment.

A non-traditional amphitheater can also provide COVID retrofitting versatility. The Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College’s newly constructed Fine Arts Building included a future phased plan for an outdoor performance space. The performance space incorporated a simple yet impactful space-defining layout. A simple two-foot-wide cast stone paving band defines the space, forming a circle, flush with the flat South Georgia terrain. The performance space within the paved band is an open lawn which can be programed infinitely. Single seating, double seating, and more are all options. When not being utilized as a performance space, it can be used for lounging or exercise. It transforms into the simple type of campus gatherings and experiences you remember after you graduate. Future innovations in amphitheater design and layout will be exciting and new. An amphitheater goes beyond just being a site feature responding to COVID. It tears down barriers between an artist, art, architecture, and outdoor space.

We are also seeing these non-traditional amphitheaters in other school settings aside from higher education. At The Children’s School, we assisted in enhancing an outdoor area allowing for the same versatility. A beautiful space to gather safely and learn safely, for both students and their teachers. Although designed prior to COVID, these spaces prove useful today.

Another creative and multi-purpose idea is upgrading an entrance. This can add tremendous value to any development. Many times, the design is prototypical, consisting of a transitional space, with maybe a bench or two, and of course, a funky colorful planter stuffed with purple fountain grass. Especially due to COVID, these spaces need and can transform into dynamic spaces. Stairs and entrances can perform double duty as small amphitheaters or platform seating. Walkways can grow into small plaza space for socially distanced gatherings. The entry can be a collaborative effort to create transformative, site-specific spaces for its users. Now, users aren’t meeting in the indoor space; they are meeting outside the building entrance. Dynamic entrances moving away from singular programmed uses will be some of the most successful cost-effective, post-COVID outdoor spaces.

Greater access to outdoor space is a foundation for strong education communities and communities overall. This can come from both previously underutilized spaces like an entrance to larger more out of the ordinary like an outdoor amphitheater. As we celebrate World Landscape Architecture Month and take a closer look at this year’s theme “Growing Together”, it is important to look creatively at what this can mean. Now more than ever, our landscape architects are helping build safe spaces all around us, giving us peace of mind and allowing us to stay connected and thrive.