Dissecting Retail: Three Years After

At El Paso’s Kern Place Crazy Cat Cyclery store, the architect and I created some small but distinct spaces using our ubiquitous rock walls with grade changes.

It won an AIA El Paso award a couple years ago.

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That enclosed, communal space with a single Quercus fusiformis and some Yucca pallida is good. It’s mostly being maintained well, too.

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The far side that once contained a rather “seasoned” Yucca torreyi specimen, then it fell, and finally the yucca’s replacement, is not so good.

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The small spaces on the side will fill in more, as the sotols grow and damianitas hopefully reseed around.

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I still regret not insisting on what should have been done on the south street’s uphill climb.

Because mountain biking and good headlamps are important, so is good plantsmanship.

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12/25/17 weather: 7331 / .00″

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Place to Rest

With a little extra budget and thought, any landscape can become a garden to pause within.

That’s part of why various state transportation departments landscape their freeways. When there’s congestion, drivers have ample opportunity to stop – all 8 lanes – and experience a garden.

So do hospital visitors – photos from 10/9/17.

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As the mesquite tree and plantings mature, they will provide quite the pleasant spot seated on either concrete seat wall, to pause and take in the grand view from mountains to valley.

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On the other side of the building, seat walls provide architectural definition to the blue site tables and planters with New Mexico Olive trees.

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This was a challenging project from a time standpoint, and I hope those driving the schedule can re-evaluate this, instead of figure out how to construct something of this scale as fast or faster next time!

I’m always in awe of watching a general contractor and subs of this quality put it all together with normal time frames. Two highly-seasoned superintendents told me they have never been involved with or even heard of such a project scale going in nearly this fast.

Thanks, Robins & Morton, and notably on my work, Joe Aguilar and Accent Landscape Contractors.

Their efficiency and support are why small details became reality, such as site furnishings and hardscape accents. Those features benefit each space, though not required by the city.

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Back to the front of the hospital, these seat walls are located at a future Sun Metro bus stop, or a place to sit while waiting on your ride.

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Or to just take photos for your blog or portfolio.

This being a windy area of town, the Bull Muhly grasses usually sway back and forth. No matter the hardscape and site furnishings, appropriate plantings are a must.

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11/12/17 weather: 76 / 45 / 0.00

Looking In and Out

Driving home, I took an hour to tour the Transmountain Hospital landscape I designed in El Paso. It was actually daylight.

Looking towards the ER entrance, I was disappointed about not being able to utilize passive water harvesting to benefit these plants.

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The simple pattern of Muhlenbergia emersleyi ‘El Toro’ and young Acacia farnesiana in a part-curve compliments the Leucophyllum langmaniae ‘Rio Bravo’.

The lone Yucca rostrata stands as a focal point, swallowed by the swirl of grasses.

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The same scene, but looking out of the ER portico and far into the badlands along the US-Mexico border.

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