Tag Archives: landscape materials

Concrete Pleasures

A couple of my current projects have me greatly enjoying the pleasures of concrete.  I love the stuff for a variety of practical and aesthetic reasons.  This is not new – the mesmerizing rotation and great mass of the mixer truck transfixed me as much the next kid.  Now, I am a happy peddler of the upscale modernism that fills the pages of Dwell magazine where the clean lines and muted color palettes make concrete a perennial favorite. I can’t resist.

Just as important to me, the tools of the trade, the remarkable plasticity of the material and the genius with which it has been used all give me great pleasure.    I am a fan of the hidden seismically sound foundation retrofit under my Bay Area home.  I am a fan of greatly celebrated works of concrete architecture by Tadao Ando, Jorn Utzon, Eero Saarinen and a few of their predecessors stretching back to the Ancient Romans. I am a fan of the pedestrian urban sidewalk.

My current concrete work is neither as engineered as a Bay Area house foundation nor as genius as a great work of architecture but it is nonetheless transforming – testament to the potential of even small, strategic installations of the material.  Here are a couple of examples.

In this Berkeley rear yard, I installed only four cubic yards to knit together some really broken circulation patterns between house, deck, rear yard and side yard.  Now it works and looks great.

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In this steep San Francisco rear yard, we’re creating a beautiful terraced garden with smooth concrete seat walls along the side setbacks.  In the near future there will be a lush palette of California native shrubs on the outside perimeter, contained by these serene walls, and two level terraces – one for child’s play and one for adult play.

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Latham Square is Open

Oakland’s Latham Square pavement to parks project has opened to the public and on the first day of official use people quickly populated the space.  Following the grand opening ceremony Noon on Friday August 16th it was a sunny Friday afternoon and people sat reading, texting, drinking coffee, sketching as if the park had afforded opportunity for such activities for years.  It was a pleasure to see former auto traffic lanes and a nondescript median serve as an urban gathering place with such beauty and class.  Thanks to Rebar and the City of Oakland for including Ian Moore Design in this project.  DSC_0262 DSC_0278 DSC_0263 DSC_0269

Ian Moore Design provided the landscape installation for this project.  We refined the original planting design developed by Rebar, served as purchasing agent for all landscape materials, and oversaw all planting.

I’ll share some more images and thoughts as I collect them.  I’m excited to observe future programmed events including music and food at the site.  I am, of course, equally interested to see how the planters, plants, ground treatments mature and weather the variety of uses.