Near the Brooklyn Bridge in New York, stands an old manufacturing building that has been refurbished to shine in the Dumbo Heights neighborhood, an emerging area for entrepreneurs and technology firms. The building sits at 175 Pearl Street, has eight stories, was built in 1918, and has 87,000 sq./ft of office space. Tournesol Siteworks was specified by A + I, Architecture Plus Information, and had the opportunity to collaborate with landscape architects from The Organic Gardener, from New York City, on the project. When they reached out, we were able to address their issues regarding fabrication complications and quality of materials required, with solid answers and solutions. This project involved our Customworks group as the products specifically required extensive custom engineering.
In this phase, the unique design of the project included elevated platforms to accentuate the view of Manhattan and build one of the only bi-level terraces in New York. To meet with the tight customer deadlines and construction schedule, the first products designed were two large, raw, stainless-steel custom tree planters, 48”Sq. x 36”H with level tops, installed under the decking. Also, three more large, raw stainless-steel custom tree planters were installed below the decking, yet they required sloped tops at 48”Sq. x 36"/30.5”. All five planters contained tree root ball anchors welded to the internal structure and had to be installed early in the process to ensure the decking was built correctly on top.
Continuing the project, our Customworks team coordinated closely with The Organic Gardener on large, 12-gauge, powder-coated mild steel planters bolted together to create immense planting areas. As the customer was building at the actual site, our engineers were learning about slight changes to the design that affected production and were able to immediately address the differences that were needed. Being custom-made, the sizes ranged from measuring 13’L x 48”W x 24”H, to a whopping 32’L x 72’ and 1082”W at the large end x 42”H.
To encompass other large shrubs, the design specified nine planters that were custom-made in raw stainless steel. Beginning with standard 24”Sq. x 24”H Wilshire Collection planters, engineers removed the standard turned-in lip and instead added an external shelf or rim 1.5” down from the top around the entire outside perimeter of each.
Bringing the terrace together, seven large custom White Oak wood benches were built and assembled – one being an “L” shaped bench with a four-foot and a 10-foot section. Four of the benches had a built-in umbrella access for the sunny days and the rest were without umbrella access, some backed and others backless. (See images). The benches were assembled with metal frames and powder-coated to match the planters.
Customworks’ engineers collaborated with the on-site fabricator hired by The Organic Gardener, to build the frame to which vertical, steel fascia panels were mounted along the entire perimeter of the large planting area. The on-site fabricator is also a cabinet maker and very precise; he sought to build the frame as close to perfect as we were able. The team worked together closely with our customer and the fabricator on the challenges and compromised to ensure our products would blend as planned. Utilizing a Z-Clip system for attaching the fascia panels, the hardware was hidden and finished the deck with a sleek, clean look.
The outcome of the project is the pearl of Pearl Street - a stunning terrace which enunciates the beautiful skyline of Manhattan and is remarkable because of the precision of the custom components. Tournesol’s Customworks team rose to the challenge of frequent design changes and tight project timelines, by responding with valuable solutions that met The Organic Gardener’s approval and brought the design to life – we partnered in their success.