SITES certifies four new properties


The Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) program certified four new landscapes, including a pocket park in Washington, a mixed-use development in Northern California, a historic Civil War era preserve in New York and the headquarters of an architecture firm in Georgia.

The four projects join 30 others certified by the SITES program. A collaboration of the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center of The University of Texas at Austin and the United States Botanic Garden, The SITES program provides design and construction guidelines and a system for rating and recognizing exemplary sustainable landscapes based on their performance in improving the environment and human health.

The four newly certified pilot projects incorporate sustainable features that were evaluated using a rating system with certification levels of one to four stars.

They include the following sustainable features.

Kirke Park

Kirke Park in Seattle received a two-star certification. The pocket park was designed to reflect the site’s past, incorporating structural elements that were remnants from a church that previously occupied the site, while enhancing the neighborhood. A community garden recalls the site’s history of producing food, while a secret garden offers a quiet space inside the preserved walls of the historic church. A gathering plaza contains other park relics and is connected to an open lawn, providing structure for community events and informal play. A playground and an “adventure trail” that uses logs and boulders promote an active, natural play environment.

38 Dolores

38 Dolores, the site of a grocery store and housing in San Francisco, received two stars. The greyfield project in the Upper Market community in San Francisco has become a mixed-use development with 81 residential units housing a Whole Foods Market on the ground floor. The Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certified project improves the use of city systems and reduces its carbon footprint. To achieve SITES recognition, the developer added sustainable features including rainwater harvesting, alternative energy technologies and green roofs that provide habitat for the endangered mission blue butterfly and a haven for city visitors. In addition, the site has edible and rain gardens and features such as education components to promote eco-awareness.

West Point Foundry Preserve 

The 87-acre West Point Foundry Preserve in Cold Spring, N.Y., received one star. The preserve is at a former turn-of-the-century manufacturing facility, which later was declared an Environmental Protection Agency Superfund cleanup site. The work of a community advisory group helped transform the  87 acres into a publicly accessible outdoor museum and heritage destination with interpretation and restored habitat. The site’s existing artifacts and previous history manufacturing Parrott guns that were credited with winning the Civil War, steam engines and mill equipment were incorporated into the design. The preserve includes a restored tidal marsh that supports wildlife habitat. Salvaged materials found on site such as brick fragments and stone were used in the project. The project also included an archaeological monitoring plan to address unexpected features found during construction. The preserve is the second SITES-certified project of Scenic Hudson along the Hudson River and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a Preserve America site.

Perkins+Will office

The Perkins+Will design firm office in Atlanta received one star. The design firm’s new home is a living model for small urban sites that emphasize sustainability. Essentially “upcycling” an outdated office building on Atlanta’s signature boulevard, the site now showcases stormwater solutions and innovative use of materials on a highly constrained urban location. Where a parking deck and driveway once focused on auto access at the front of the building, a new civic plaza was created as an open-air living room for tenants and the community that reconnects the building to the street. The site provides walkable transit access for employees and clients, creates tenant space for civic uses and additional outdoor spaces for social engagement. The newly renovated building is also certified LEED Platinum.

SITES certification can be applied to projects of all sizes and on locations with or without buildings.
All 34 certified landscape pilot projects met the 2009 Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks.

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