Landscape Forms Elements:
Caitlin Atkinson Photography, aeg7 Photography
The start-from-scratch renovation of Growers Square took a small plaza that lacked identity and natural circulation and turned it into an accessible, central gathering spot that intuitively guides employees and the public through the complex. The prime location, close to downtown and a rapid transit station, already had a natural path formed from years of travel to and from the station. A central path now connects the plaza’s buildings, sitting areas, and gardens.
Growers Square reflects landscape architecture firm Groundworks’ philosophy of telling a story in every project through design. “As designers, we can give meaning to a place,” says Principal Brennan Cox. “How can we find something culturally relevant or historically significant in the area and bring it into the design language?” The art of the area’s indigenous people is reflected in the patterns of the pavers. A custom bench of reclaimed cedar gives a nod to wood from old growth forests carried by the Southern Pacific railroad through the Bay Area. “History and culture ground the forms and materials. It is beauty with intent, not beauty for beauty’s sake.” Rama area lights
are placed around the center of the plaza. Cox was drawn to Rama’s simple form and felt it was “the perfect solution for the site. With the patterned pavers, the shade structures, and massive bench, we didn’t need another noticeable element. We wanted something that was comfortable being in the background but still filled the space with that perfect amount of light in the evening.” The central walkway is lit by Torres path lights
, which Cox also selected for their “quiet aesthetic, but appropriate amount of flare.”