SPURLOCK POIRIER Landscape Architects, a San Diego firm known for its collaborative, forward-thinking approach to urban landscapes, has won the top honor from the American Society of Landscape Architects, San Diego Chapter, for its innovative work on the 3.5-acre outdoor space at a UC San Diego student dormitory.
Honored in the commercial, institutional and urban design category at ASLA's 2012 design awards on December 6, the landscape architecture firm received the coveted President's Award for its site design for the Charles David Keeling Apartments at UCSD's Revelle College.
Setting a precedent for sustainability and efficient stormwater management, the project was selected out of 49 entries for its intricate system of vegetated roofs, drought-tolerant native plants, downspouts, channels and bioswales - all integrated with user-friendly outdoor recreation and gathering spaces.
"The 510-bed facility earned LEED-NC Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, and is the first LEED Platinum new construction project on the UC San Diego campus and the first LEED Platinum student housing in the UC system," said Mark Cunningham, assistant vice chancellor of housing and dining at UC San Diego.
According to SPURLOCK POIRIER Partner Marty Poirier, FASLA, the landscape's most distinctive feature is the system of aboveground stormwater collection that creates a series of beautiful streams with each rainfall and filters harmful pollutants that were previously piped directly to the ocean. The system includes an expansive roof with more than 4,000 plants that capture stormwater and provide thermal insulation. The roof features sweeping views of the ocean and is accessible to the students.
SPURLOCK POIRIER also masterminded a special graywater irrigation system that recycles the building shower and sink water, rather than burdening the city's wastewater treatment plant.
The prestigious multi-industry jury described the project as a "seamlessly integrated design that wears beauty and function like no other. Students, visitors and university staff can experience the management of stormwater. They hear and see the water moving from roofs and site hardscape through a system of engineered basins and weirs and then released into a native arroyo bioswale."
"We are honored to be recognized for this project, which was quite challenging, as buildings, student amenities and stormwater infrastructure had to be aesthetically and effectively integrated," said Yu-Ju Liu, LEED AP, associate principal of SPURLOCK POIRIER. "It was an especially important project for us, as it aptly reflects our design philosophy of revealing remarkable natural phenomena and keen focus on making sustainable, joyful places for people."
Appropriately, the Keeling Apartments are named after a pioneering researcher, UC San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography Professor Charles David Keeling, the first scientist to record the rise of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere.
The firm also won an award in the residential design category for a private home in Malibu, which integrated the landscape and structure with a lush series of garden rooms that felt expansive and removed from the dense neighborhood.
The annual ASLA awards recognize professional excellence for outstanding works of landscape architecture and environmental planning that promote an enhanced quality of life in San Diego County and beyond.