Lincoln Properties Brings Biophilic Design to the Forefront of its Development
In December 2019, longtime Plant Solutions client, Lincoln Properties, was looking to incorporate nature into its newest venture, The Grand at Papago Park Center. This Class A office building is located at the border of Tempe and Phoenix, standing nine stories and comprised of an impressively bold mix of concrete, steel and glass. To offset the sleekness of the space and make the environment feel more inviting and friendly, the client worked to intentionally incorporate nature into various landscaping features around the property. From a massive water feature to welcome employees and guests, to sprawling green zones and a multi-use path along a central canal, this office boasts outdoor areas that provide employees with valuable opportunities to unplug and connect with nature. To add to the aesthetic, the steel artwork of local sculptor, Pete Deise was also incorporated as part of the design. Deise weaves in the relationship of art and nature through his writings, drawings, paintings and sculptures absorbing information from nature and expressing it through his work.
But the client also wanted to incorporate the outdoors into the building’s design itself. They called on us to help them create a modern rooftop terrace that employees could escape to without the need to leave the actual building.
“They wanted a super lush, lounge feel that embodied the surrounding desert landscape,” said Pat Mahan, co-owner of Plant Solutions. “This installation needed to be done in a very timely manner, with about three weeks to complete it.”
With such a quick turnaround time, Mahan immediately went to visit the building.
“The existing concrete planters were the perfect canvas to start with, but had very minimal plants,” said Mahan. “The owners wanted to add more to the current environment, so we used our green thumbs to create a mesmerizing area that exemplified Arizona’s natural vegetation.”
He got to work, measuring the entire area, and mindfully selecting which plants would flourish; taking into consideration the type of maintenance and care that would need to align with the climate and height of the building.
Mahan described the terrace as having little to no shade and surrounded by steel and concrete, with minimal protection from weather or harsh elements.
“I had to ask myself, what’s going to achieve the client’s goal for a lush, green and aesthetically pleasing terrace while also being drought tolerant?” said Mahan. “Being in Arizona, you have to think about what’s best for the environment you’re working with. These plants needed to be able to withstand extreme heat and sun exposure with minimal water.”
Mahan thoughtfully sketched out which plants would work best in the various spaces across the deck, taking into account nature’s elements and the bold architectural design of the terrace. As he gazed upward, it was hard not to feel awestruck by the building’s narrow shade structure, constructed as if to literally frame the wide-open Arizona sky.
Working to create patterns of bold color interspersed with agave blues and various relaxing hues of green, Mahan selected his palette for the job. Elephant food and common purslane mixed with golden barrel, totem pole and trailing cacti would provide a prominent mix of height and color within the patio’s main planters, while yucca, firestick plants and exotic varieties of agave would sprout from corners all around the ninth floor. A striking variety of miniature succulents and cacti would be used to detail modern metal picnic tables; housed in long, low concrete pots boldly positioned for optimum enjoyment by guests.
The result? An environment that the client is absolutely thrilled with, and a job well done for Mahan and his team, which recently had the opportunity to revisit the project.
“This place was beautiful when we started and it was an incredible canvas to work with. I’m proud to say that it was absolutely stunning when we finished. We get so many compliments,” said Mahan. “It is my favorite design and installation we have ever done.”
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