Green Infrastructure

Terra takes every opportunity to not only treat rainwater in a sustainable manner, but to celebrate the journey of a raindrop artfully. From non-conventional green roofs, to whimsical downspouts and funky rain barrels, to thematic runnels and dramatically planted rain gardens – we have great fun in celebrating the rain and returning it to the ground, cleansed.

 

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WETLAND EXPLORE at SCOTTS MIRACLE-GRO FOUNDATION CHILDREN'S GARDEN - Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Columbus OH  [FULL SERVICE DESIGN]

Terra’s inspiration for the Children’s Garden is the depth and magic of the ever-changing landscape of central Ohio.  One of its iconic brands is the dramatic earth art installation/green infrastructure project called Wetland Explore.  All of the raindrops that fall on the Children’s Garden are captured and routed to the detention basin in the western portion of the site – a functional solution to storm water management. But what moves far beyond code compliance is the interactive design and stunning beauty of this green infrastructure feature.  During dry periods, bold drifts of rushes, little bluestem, and flame willow spiral around the basin, mapping the flow of rainwater water towards the outlet.  Wooden platforms elevated above the wetland floor invite children to hop from deck to deck and explore the wetland. Terra designed Wetland Explore for beauty in all seasons and in all weather - however, it is immediately after a rain event that it becomes truly magical as the water rises and children and their grownups can run into the center of the wetland, floating above the water.


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TRANSFORMING TWELFTH PROJECT at BARRETT ELEMENTARY SCHOOL - Steel Valley School District, Homestead PA    [MASTER PLAN]

Commissioned by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Terra and our team are actively taking the first steps in transforming the Steel Valley School District to the greenest in Allegheny County.  Planted rain gardens and underground infiltration chambers will capture, clean and release several city blocks of rainwater before it gets into the combined sewer system in Homestead.  In addition to providing opportunities to help the region’s Allegheny County Sanitary Authority renovate their combined storm and sanitary systems, this vacant city block will provide nature play and outdoor classroom opportunities for the adjacent elementary school on 12th Avenue in Homestead, PA.

Beyond green infrastructure and outdoor learning opportunities, Transforming 12th is an amazing project for another reason.  Prior to Terra’s involvement, Steel Valley high school students in the Creating Value Program held workshops and polled the community to learn what neighbors and other stakeholders hoped this vacant lot would become. These students continued to stay involved in the project, working hand-in-hand with Terra’s staff and Bernie Lamm, professional engineer and natural philosopher from Common Ground.

The Borough of Homestead has approved the Transforming 12th Master Plan, and they have submitted for funding from various agencies.  


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CARRIAGE HOUSE RAIN GARDEN at KINGWOOD CENTER GARDENS - Mansfield OH    [FULL SERVICE DESIGN]

The Carriage House Garden is one of the first phase projects of a multi-phase master plan for Kingwood Center Gardens. Designed to serve as a much-needed breakout space for the events scheduled in the renovated Carriage House and a visitor destination for the casual Gardens visitor, the Carriage House Garden celebrates Kingwood Center’s cultural heritage and conceptually resurrects the orchard and kitchen gardens from the 1920’s Country Place Era estate.

Perhaps more importantly, the green infrastructure components of the Carriage House Garden introduce Kingwood’s commitment to sustainable design. For the first time in its 50 year history, Kingwood is celebrating the capture and cleanse of a portion of its rainwater. Whimsical downspouts from the Carriage House roof channel water into a tumbled glass channel, sprinkled with echevaria and other succulents. The channel leads to two curving runnels, covered with custom-designed, engraved grates inspired by the plants that are showcased in the Garden. Finally, rainwater from the terrace and rooftop gathers in a beautifully planted rain garden and infiltrates into the ground water. 

Cascading pools and a large pond will join the Carriage House Garden’s green infrastructure components in later phases, as the journey of a raindrop continues!


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RADIATING WAVES RAINWATER EXHIBIT at HASKELL PARKING LOT - Lewis and Clark Community College, Godfrey IL    [FULL SERVICE DESIGN]

Lewis and Clark Community College is one of the founding partners of the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center and continues to serve as its long-term steward.  So it was with great pleasure that Terra designed “Radiating Waves”, a one-acre earth art installation that captures not only the storm water from the last unmitigated parking lot on campus but the attention of more than 100,000 annual visitors.  The first line of defense is a field of porous pavers that covers a 200-space parking area.  Rain that does not infiltrate into the groundwater directly is guided to the first of three boldly-planted tiered rain garden basins.  As each basin stages up, cleansed rainwater spills over weathered steel weirs to finally collect and travel to a nearby tributary of Piasa Creek, a waterway of interest to the Great Rivers Land Trust. 

Radiating Waves has become an iconic brand for the College and a model for other municipalities in the region.


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NATIONAL GREAT RIVERS RESEARCH AND EDUCATION CENTER (NGRREC) / FIELD STATION  - Alton, IL    [SCHEMATIC DESIGN]

Surrounded by two acres of restored pre-settlement landscape, the NGRREC Field Station is the headquarters for research scientists to study the Mississippi River watershed.  The complexity of the environment at the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers creates a unique platform for interaction between scientific research and public education.

Terra Design Studios collaborated with NGRREC terrestrial ecologists and educators to design the interpretive landscapes and outdoor visitor experiences that showcase the inter-connection between the flora and fauna of the watershed. One of these exhibits, called “Green Streets”, points out the relationship between the porous-paved road and adjacent Dragonfly Pond. The porous roadway was the first pervious pavement project to be funded by IDOT. Storm water that is not used by prairie plants on the green roof is cleansed in two phytoremediation wetlands and recycled again for use in washing river boats and research equipment.  

Completed in 2014, the Field Station has achieved LEED-NC Gold certification.