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Don't miss these game-changing products from Texas ASLA 2016!

Don't miss these game-changing products from Texas ASLA 2016!

ASLA Conference: Fort Worth, Texas. April 27-29

It is 6.30 a.m. on a Thursday morning. It is unusually windy, and I am preparing myself for the 50-minute drive from Dallas to Fort Worth, Texas. The 2016 ASLA (American Society of Landscape Architects) Conference of Texas has been inaugurated in Fort Worth the night before. The next two days will see practicing professionals, academics and product manufacturers from the fields of Landscape Design and Architecture converge in Fort Worth from all over the country.

What am I expecting from the conference? The answer-informative lectures and panel discussions, some networking and perhaps a tiny bit of time spent browsing in the product exhibition aisles.

Instead, the conference-cum-exhibition takes me by surprise. On Day one, I find myself spending close to half of the day moving from booth to booth in the exhibition, intrigued by the products I see. From outdoor musical instruments for parks, to steel water storage tanks so beautiful that they belong at the front of buildings- the range of products is vast and fascinating.

It is only fair that I share my favorite products from the Conference with you: Don't miss out on these four game-changing tools for your design.They are sure to find a place in your upcoming work, and above all enlighten you to the extensive material and product palette that we designers have available to us.

#1: CorGal Water Storage Tanks/ Water Storage Tanks Inc:

Front of house project applications of CorGal Tanks: Left- Cafe College, San Antonio, Tx. Right- UPS Store, Snohomish, WA.

When something that always relegates to the back-of-house, becomes so beautiful that it belongs out front, in the facade of a building, that is design to appreciate. Anyone who knows me will tell you that encountering such elements in the design process make for my favorite moments. 
CorGal Tanks are one such product. CorGal–an acronym and trademark technology developed by Water Storage Tanks Inc–stands for corrugated and galvanized steel. The curved CorGal tank base is shaped from corrugated and galvanized steel. A shell-like roof structure accompanies the base. These graceful tanks can accommodate any volume of stored water for rainwater harvesting, agriculture, stormwater management and more. They have a geo-textile pre-liner and liner to prevent corrosion. 
Images from CorGal projects shown below are sufficient to show how much they belong in the architecture of projects. With products like these, utilities can be made beautiful in our projects and integrated into the design.

CorGal tanks at the Center for Urban Waters, Tacoma, WA.

#2: Rhapsody Outdoor Musical Instruments/ Landscape Structures:

 Images of the Metallophone and drums from the Landscape Structures product display from  R  ecreation Consultants of Texas  at ASLA 2016

Images of the Metallophone and drums from the Landscape Structures product display from Recreation Consultants of Texas at ASLA 2016

Large, accessible and functioning musical instruments have not always existed in parks and outdoor spaces. Recently Landscape Structures broke down that wall by creating the Rhapsody Collection. Rhapsody comprises musical instruments built for the outdoors and designed to create excellent quality, authentic sound. I had a chance to tinker with the chimes, drums, and metallophones on display at the conference. The instruments have great tone and sound and are fabricated to be durable–generating the same quality of music for years to come. Anodized aluminum and bright shades of Permalene make this an attractive, unique and robust addition to any interactive play space you design!

 The Rhapsody Collection. Source: Landscape Structures Official Website

The Rhapsody Collection. Source: Landscape Structures Official Website

#3: Splashpad/ Vortex Aquatic Structures International:
Think of water–Jets, mist, spray- all over the face and body. Now imagine children immersed into this–a sea of interactive water fixtures in all shapes and sizes. Imagine this on a zero-depth splash bed, blending in with the rest of a park. This image is the Splashpad

When I encountered Vortex Aquatic Structures at the ASLA, I learned that their unique aquatic park solutions comprise of hundreds of metal fixtures and elements that are inherently flexible over the lifetime of a park. These fixtures also have the power to deliver a whole range of water experiences and intensities. What is more, the metal fixtures, along with a translucent polymer called Seeflow mimic forms prevalent in nature . The flow of water on these surfaces is then is imitated from nature as well.
Are you planning for a dynamic aquatic experience? Does your solution need to be low on cost and high on water efficiency?
Then Splashpad is your answer.

#4: Modular Gabion Systems/ C.E. Shepherd Co.:

 Architectural and landscape applications of the Modular Gabion System by C.E.Shepherd Company.

Architectural and landscape applications of the Modular Gabion System by C.E.Shepherd Company.


While conversation these days is revolving around new building materials and technology, it is equally interesting to see the continuation and innovation of a traditional building technique. Gabions are one such material. These stone-filled wire mesh baskets have long been used for erosion control and to stabilize earth. In recent years, Gabion products have moved beyond these functions and made their way into prominent architectural facades and exterior walls.
Modular Gabion Systems by C.E. Shepherd Co at the Texas ASLA, was a reminder of the power and popularity of this traditional material. Their gabion units are used in retaining walls, erosion control banks and but also as the facade and main body of several stand-alone site structures and architecture.
Modular Gabion Systems are valuable for their cost-effectiveness, the speed of construction, response to subsidence of soil and their transformation over time. As plants embed and grown within the porous body of the MGS units, the walls and structures gain strength and aesthetic value.

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