Scentsy campus design nets two regional awards from American Society of Landscape Architects

CTA’s SITE Group recently won two awards from the Idaho/Montana Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) for its work on the corporate campus for Scentsy Inc. in Meridian, ID. Scentsy’s office tower won the prestigious Design Excellence Award in the General Design category; only one of these is presented every two years through unanimous voting by peers within the landscape architecture profession. Also bestowed was an Honor Merit Award for Scentsy’s entry feature in the Landscape Details category.

I’d like to give a shout out to the project’s entire team; without their insight, hard work, and talents this honor would not have been possible. This includes Scentsy owners Heidi and Orville Thompson for being big advocates for the landscape and exterior campus details, as well as the construction team and contractors for helping implement the vision. Great job, everyone!

From the award submissions:

Acutely aware of high traffic areas nearby, the team designed the building and outdoor spaces to be sheltered from the busy road to promote serenity and emphasize a connection to the surrounding mountain profiles. Campus entry views are framed by a variety of materials and built forms: Corten steel structures with contrasting conifers and hardwoods evokes comparison to the granite peaks and tree-dotted landscapes surrounding the Treasure Valley. A strong connection between the architectural lines of the built structure and the ground plane is carried into landscape plantings.

Campus visitors are exposed to the landscape on a variety of sensory levels including unique scents, varied textures, soothing sounds, and inspiring views through a series of progressive outdoor spaces. The outdoor experience is reflective of the natural environment in which the owners grew up: high desert plains and rugged mountain terrain. Aligning the design with sustainable principles allows the project to showcase unique applications of green roof systems and storm water management. The overall design strives to create a sense of place that embodies Scentsy’s business philosophy and minimizes the campus’s impact on the land.

The upper entry plaza is defined by raised planters, reflective water features, and seating areas enclosed by building canopies and formal tree plantings. Its formality crescendos at a grand staircase leading to the less formal outdoor café and plaza. Flanked by a 70-foot cascading waterfall, the staircase transitions visitors from an urban atmosphere to a park setting, and creates views both into the café and out over the open lawn and amphitheater. Interweaving built and natural forms with hard and soft scape blurs interior and exterior spaces. From inside the cafe, visitors are inspired by the cascading waterfall which streams to the lower level; water, stone, and plants create areas for gathering and recreating outdoors.

The plaza is furnished with moveable chairs, seat walls, and boulders to provide options for sitting in the sun or shade. The sunken oasis is surrounded by dense plantings including native materials which offer a sanctuary-like buffer from the urban bustle outside. Designed with planters, movable seating, seat walls, horizontal screens, vertical green walls, and shade structures, the office tower’s upper floors house five terraces, offering public and private experiences.

Innovative strategies have maximized on-site infiltration. Storm water is collected and percolated into ground water within the large lawn area. Permeable plazas reduce storm water runoff volume and rates. Green roof systems on the office tower collect and control runoff, and act as an insulator for the building. Numerous large trees and shrub/groundcover areas increase shade, reducing loss of water due to transpiration and evapotranspiration improving water use efficiency. As a comprehensive campus project, it demonstrates the ability of a series of sustainable landscape systems to create a campus setting that is dynamic and reflective of nature.

The Scentsy Commons Pine Street entry feature is an example of detailing that is mindful of the interplay between building and landscape. Emphasizing a sense of place for the overall campus design, the landscape team selected materials based on guiding principles of longevity and continuity. As a team, we sought to interweave built and natural forms with hard and soft scape that blurs interior and exterior spaces. Through the use of modern materials, and the heavy interplay between wood, steel, and concrete, the Pine Street entry feature sets the stage for the overall campus. Visitors are immediately exposed to cascading waterfalls, stone bridges, oversized hanging baskets, and flourishing planting beds.

The use of Corten steel harkens to the use of the stone and wood accents found on the building itself. As a sustainable element in the landscape, the Corten in the overhead structures becomes a long-term solution to framing the outdoor experience for the visitor. The sizing of structural members and the repetitive use of these materials and finishes at the entry feature is carried into the campus and found in both public and private areas. This language develops a hierarchy in the landscape, denoting progression into and throughout the campus.

The unique element of the overhead structure of the Pine Street entry is the trellis planter feature. Custom planter boxes are designed to be integrated into the overhead joists, secured in place, and integrated with the beams of the trellis. Overlaid with the beams are a series of plastic-coated aircraft wire, secured to the beams with eyebolts. The cabling is interwoven in each direction, providing a structural system for the intended vine plantings on the entry feature. Balanced off of either side of the trellis structure are oversized hanging baskets. Each basket is secured with heavy half-inch-diameter, two-inch link chain that secures the baskets both at the top and bottom.

Rhythm was created at the entry by using a series of stepped sandstone bridge columns that are topped with oversized planter bowls. The bowls are filled with seasonal annuals throughout the year.

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