As of April of 2019, construction was completed on the new shopping center in Bloomington, IL called The Foundry. This new retail site is home to three Bloomington favorites: Bloomington Cycle and Fitness, Gingerbread House and Green Top Grocery. Local architects and contractors contributed to the construction of The Foundry; however, Austin Engineering completed the landscape architecture design. The landscape design done for The Foundry was an environmentally conscious effort. Austin Engineering was able to meet traditional site requirements through non-traditional measures.
The first goal of the landscape project was to enable the property to not require an incredible amount of maintenance. We met this requirement through careful selection of pavement and planting materials. The detention basins employ all native plantings, which can handle being submerged underwater and don’t need mowing. Additionally, we used layers of native perennials, shrubs and trees around the basins, on the parking lot medians and in the retail center courtyards. The incorporation of this vegetation around The Foundry will mean less long-term landscaping and lower mowing costs.
Another key aspect of an environmentally friendly landscape design is the stormwater management system in place. We were conscious of the handling of stormwater using ADA compliant gravel in the courtyard. The gravel is more permeable, so water can flow through it rather than shedding directly into a storm drain. The gravel also acts as a flexible pavement, which lowers long-term pavement maintenance costs. Moreover, as permeable pavement, it helps to filter stormwater as it reaches natural aquifers underground.
We chose the gravel not only for its permeability and aesthetic charm but for its compatibility with bicyclists and wheelchairs. Being that The Foundry would be home to Bloomington Cycle and Fitness, ensuring bikes could safely and efficiently traverse the property was a top concern. As well, we took into consideration the amount of foot traffic an area like The Foundry would receive. With proximity to The Constitution Trail, we understood a large number of walkers, joggers and bikers would be passing through. In response, the design of the landscaping had a park theme in mind. The idea of the theme was so that families and individuals could find a comfortable rest-stop right off the trail.
To pull the entirety of the development together, we made sure to provide a landscape design that offered seasonal interest and complimented the colors and style of The Foundry architecture. Using custom Corten steel planters, we supplied a beautiful standing feature that will weather to a rustic color over time. The planting of a series of maple trees with cinnamon red, exfoliating bark continue with the rustic monochromatic color scheme. The color of the trees’ bark helps to connect the landscaping with the red brick buildings and Corten steel that surround it. Finally, large cream-colored flat top boulders were placed around the property. These boulders act as accents to the courtyard and provide additional seating.
The recent completion of our landscape architecture design for The Foundry embodies the mission of Austin Engineering. With every design we create, our goal is to not only build something pleasing to the eye but beneficial for nature. The Foundry’s landscape is a sustainable development that provides benefit for the environment and a uniquely inviting ambiance for the people who visit it. As is with every project we undertake, we work to achieve the vision of those who hire us and do everything in our power to reach that goal.
To find out what other projects Austin Engineering has contributed to throughout Illinois, you can contact us at (309) 228-9552. Also, our Peoria office is located at 311 SW Water St, Ste 215, Peoria, IL 61602.