Creating a catalyst for urban vitality, and a model of environmental sustainability through landscape architecture.
The design team imagined Gateway Plaza to support the entire project’s overarching objectives as an economic generator, a catalyst for urban vitality, and a model of environmental sustainability.
The project master plan examined Gateway Plaza’s relationship to its context and nearby parks, resulting in maintaining an existing 60’ setback line along Canal Street, allowing for a generous urban plaza area on the project’s south side. The team studied numerous scenarios to ensure a balanced relationship between interior and exterior spaces merging art, transparency, and materiality. The result is sculpted landscape areas that provide havens for a quiet respite while mitigating stormwater runoff and the urban heat island effect.
The design team collaborated with renowned artists to develop a design vocabulary centered around the concept of “flow,” for connecting the final building to the nearby State Capitol and toward the James River. The outcome is the Gateway Trio – a theme; it’s the convergence between three “voices” that influence Richmond’s geography, government, and commerce.
Collectively, art, landscape architecture, and the building design merge with rich history and contextual significance to create a unique experience for all who engage the site, and its architecture.
The planting strategy incorporates native and adapted species and utilizes a grassy ground plane planting for year-round interest. Lower height plant groupings occupy the planters’ lower and upper slopes, maintaining views into the building while vertical grasses and shrubs dot the back slope. A blend of bulbs are intermingled throughout the grass and sedge matrix planting as a welcome introduction in Spring. Shrubs and overhead trees help to ground the overall design in place structurally. In the plaza, large Honeylocust trees were selected to best support a ground plane planting matrix due to their open form and branching, dappled shade producing qualities.