Rock the Block: Masonry Goes Heavy Metal

March 11, 2021
© Mike Torrey

Landscape designer Rocio Gertler, principal of LdG, and the team, found a creative way to re-imagined a former utilities building and parking lot in San Diego into a stylish campus amenity for office tenant employees using McNichols' ECO-ROCK.

The gabion-style wire containers created a partition and divider system that is custom-filled with angled rocks harvested from a local quarry. This Wire Mesh and frame grid system can be integrated into seating, partitions, and decorative features. Assembled in container-style arrangements along the slope outside the fitness center, the system became the basis of LdG’s plan for amphitheater-style seating that also became an outdoor extension of the fitness center. Hand-filled by BrightView with indigenous rocks, ECO-ROCK in the amphitheater is capped with Ipe wood and installed in varying heights and depths along manicured lawn grass and platform steps.

Available in various sizes and heights, the system gave a complete redesign to the entrance and patio areas, brought down the scale of the concrete expanse, and helped better define the entry point, as well as the various parts of the campus. The project earned the 2017 Orchid Award for Landscape Architecture from the San Diego Architectural Foundation.

"To make it personal and add interest, we wanted to create a place of plantings, hardscape, and furniture,” she said. “We wanted a scenario that was rustic and, with the mountain view, we wanted to bring natural materials into the plan and introduce it in an artistic way." —Rocio Gertler, principal of LdG

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