Landscape Forms Elements:
2022 and 2021 Project of the Year for the Quality of Life Award ($5-$25 Million Category); 2021 Honor Award for General Design; 2021 Merit Award in Engineering; 2021 Community Excellence Award; 2020 Award of Excellence; 2020 Planning Excellence Award for Urban Design
“Innovative by Nature” is the City of Rochester Hills’ tagline. And the reinvention of Auburn Road into a pedestrian-friendly, nature-friendly, and traffic-calming streetscape visually demonstrates that tagline. The half-mile stretch of Auburn Road was once a bustling part of the city, but over the years M-59 highway replaced this thoroughfare, and the area “slowly aged,” as City Engineer Paul Davis says. OHM-Advisors worked with the City to create a space that would bolster both the residential and commercial experience. Vehicular flow is slowed with roundabouts and crosswalks that make the area walkable and safer for pedestrians. Forty-nine rain gardens manage stormwater in a sustainable and beautiful way. Lush flowers, shrubs, and trees line the median and sidewalks along the road. Benches offer people a place to stop and enjoy the natural and sculptural designs that give Auburn Road its vibrant aesthetic.
During the street reconstruction, a few decisions led the City to add a public plaza adjacent to the streetscape. Davis says this area, which features a splashpad and lawns, has quickly become a desired destination for the neighborhood.
“We wanted to make the Auburn Road streetscape a gem in the city, and the plaza is the crown jewel of the larger reinvestment project.”
– Paul Davis, City of Rochester Hills
OHM-Advisors’ Project Manager Ben Weaver and team wanted a family of products for the streetscape and plaza that would share the same finish and aesthetic. They turned to Landscape Forms for its offering of both outdoor lighting and site furnishings, something that Weaver finds unique in the industry. “The ability to work with one manufacturer that is making high-quality outdoor lighting and furnishings is unusual and a bonus for getting a consistent design across an entire site.” Weaver also wanted site elements that would share the curvilinear, flowing, and organic feel of the landscape architect’s design. “The elements we selected have a soft, modern aesthetic that fits the look and feel of the streetscape and plaza.” Dark-Sky compliant Alcott area lights
add another environmentally considered element to the corridor. OHM-Advisors continued the aesthetic by installing Alcott poles in the plaza to support catenary lighting.
Beyond improving the residential experience, businesses along the streetscape are now initiating their own renovations, and other development in the area is in the works. “The street evolved from a passive space to one that is very active,” says Davis. “This corridor is alive again.”