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Community Design

Editor, Stephen Kelly

In this feature we present two community residential developments: Carlisle—a planned community in Franklin, Tenn., and CrossWynde—an apartment complex in Tampa, Fla. Integral to community development are its hardscapes—walkways, sidewalks, courtyards, columns, pool decks, roads and curbs. The landscape architects for both projects are from LandDesign, a firm with offices in North Carolina (Charlotte, Pinehurst and Asheville), Nashville, Tenn., Tampa, Fla., Washington, D.C., and in Beijing.

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Tennessee fieldstone monuments flank the entrance to the Carlisle development, set off by a mix of ornamental grasses, hollies, flowering vines and perennial/annual groundcovers. The Cumberland Plateau of middle Tennessee is known for its high-quality natural fieldstone, an aged gray and brown mossy flat sandstone comprised of flagstone and creek rock with lichen growth.


Carlisle: Franklin, Tenn

 

  • Project: Carlisle—a Planned Community in Franklin, Tenn.Landscape Architects: Gary Vogrin and Dwight Kiser of LandDesign Inc.General Contractor: Carbine Development Co.Landscape Contractors: Bob Merritt, Merritt Brothers; Mark Russell, Enviroscapes
  • Award: LandDesign won an ASLA Honor Award of Excellence






T: A five-foot wide, concrete sidewalk was installed on both sides of most streets to promote walking. All walks lead to the Village Green, which connects with the lake, providing nearly four acres of central open space.


About the firm:

LandDesign is an urban planning, civil engineering and landscape architecture company offering site planning and landscape design to clients in the southeastern U.S. since 1978. The firm has grown to over 200 professional city planners, landscape architects, civil engineers, geographers, surveyors, construction administrators, graphic designers, marketers and artists. LandDesign has three offices in North Carolina (Charlotte, Pinehurst, Asheville), offices in Nashville, Tenn., Tampa, Fla., Washington, D.C., and one in Beijing.






ABOVE AND BELOW: Franklin, Tenn., only 18 miles south of bustling Nashville, still remembers its Civil War battle and dead.







LandDesign announced Peter Crowley as the firm’s president beginning Jan. 1, 2007. Mr. Crowley has 27 years with the firm. He was the founder and managing partner of LandDesign’s Washington, D.C. office and has lead efforts to create opportunities for the firm in Asia, including opening the firm’s Beijing office.

Franklin, Tenn., 18 miles south of Nashville, is a town of 42,000 persons with a Victorian downtown district listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The town, named for Ben Franklin, became a settlement in 1799. It was plantation country and the site of a bloody Civil War battle on November 30, 1864. Union troops occupied the area for nearly three years. After the Civil War, it took the town more than 100 years for the city to reach its pre-war economic prosperity. Today it is one of the state’s wealthiest cities.

TripAdvisor puts Franklin on its top 10 list of “hot” destinations for 2007.






Open sesame! The boulevard and gates that lead into Carlisle, the new planned community on 35 acres within the boundaries of Franklin, Tenn., Williamson County. The entry hardscape is concrete pavers in random interlocking patterns atop a sand-setting base. The median landscape trees are flowering Yoshino cherries with a mix of liriope/daylilies and sod panels.


Carlisle, the new kid in town, is a planned neighborhood community on just over 35 acres in the rolling hills of middle Tennessee, located within the boundaries of Franklin in Williamson County, about three miles west of downtown via new Highway 96 West.






LandDesign performed the master planning, landscape architecture and design guidelines for the award-winning Carlisle project. Gary Vogrin and Dwight Kiser were the principals. The basis for the design was in keeping with the region’s traditional towns, and thus converging axes leading to a neighborhood center—the village green.


Design Factors

LandDesign performed the master planning, landscape architecture and design guidelines for this award-winning project. Dwight Kiser, a LandDesign partner, and Gary Vogrin were the principal designers. Two primary factors affected the plan and design of the property—the frontage on Highway 96 West, Franklin’s “gateway” to the Natchez Trace Parkway, and Carlisle’s close proximity (across the street) from Centennial Hall, a National Register property. LandDesign saw these factors as a mandate for a “sensitive design approach to preserve, reinforce and celebrate the integrity of the area of our community, our historic buildings and public by-ways. These basic principals were adopted, applied and executed in the development of the plan.”






The design team established an east-west axis through the site with Centennial Hall as the focal terminus to the west. A north-south axis was then established to roughly intersect the east-west axis at the center of the site, which is the village green gazebo. The gazebo’s domed roof is similar to Centennial Hall.


Site Layout

The basis for the Carlisle plan was the desire to create a community exhibiting certain qualities of the region’s traditional neighborhoods and towns. The most discernible and best loved of these tradition is the village green, and thus the incorporation of converging axis that lead to a neighborhood center, a hub of prominent open space that unifies Carlisle—essentially the heart of the community. To reinforce this principle, Vogrin and partner Kiser explain the design team established an east-west axis through the site with Centennial Hall as the focal terminus to the west. This axis aligns the site entrance street from Carlisle Lane, a designated major collector street. A two-acre lake anchors the eastern terminus. The lake is an informal amenity but also provides stormwater detention for Carlisle. A north-south axis was then established to roughly intersect the east-west axis at the center of the site. This axis aligns the primary site entrance from New Highway 96 West, a designated arterial street. The convergence of the north-south and east-west axis is the village green, a prominent open space of 1.8 acres—the heart of the community—that unifies the entire plan. The village green connects with the adjacent lake amenity, providing nearly four acres of centrally located useable open space.






The view of Carlisle’s Village Green through the gazebo. A premier tall fescue was specified. The Village Green gazebo design reflects the architectural elements of the homesites on the axis of the Village Green. All homes in Carlisle are within 500 feet of the Village Green. The hardscape combines brushed and color concrete with brick accents.


A gazebo, designed to reflect the architectural form of Centennial Hall, is located at the center of the village green and is visible from both entrances.

With respect to the “gateway” status of new Highway 96 West and the prominence of Centennial Hall, “no lots or homes rear load onto these edges,” LAs Vogrin and Kiser explain. “Instead, lots will either front or side-load to the southern and western site boundaries. Lots and homes will also be staggered to provide undulation of the building facades to the street edges.”






Lots and homes are staggered to provide undulation of the building façades to the street edges. Each lot is required to install a low evergreen hedge, masonry (brick or stone) wall and an ornamental or picket fence in the front yard, typically adjacent to the fronting sidewalk.


All homes in Carlisle are within 500 feet of the village green. Three of the internal streets terminate at landscaped motor courts in lieu of the more conventional cul-de-sac. These courts offer centrally landscaped “mini-parks” roughly 35 feet in width and ranging from 80-120 feet in length, a pleasant amenity for the homes clustered around them.






The typical streetscape and homes you see in the Carlisle community. Streets are designed to meet urban standards. This is accomplished with reduced pavement width (designed to reduce speeds), reduced horizontal and intersection curb radii, a requirement of curbs and gutters on most streets and by allowing parallel parking in most instances. Streetscapes include a variety of maples, elms, and oaks to provide spatial definition and shading.


The Streetscape

Streets are designed to meet urban standards. This is accomplished with reduced pavement width and design speed, reduced horizontal radii and intersection curb radius, a requirement of curb and gutter on most streets and allowing parallel parking in most instances. According to Landscape Architectural Graphic Standard, edited by Leonard Hopper, RLA, FASLA (Wiley & Sons, 2007), local streets ROW widths are 50-60 feet, with lanes 9-10 feet wide, meant for vehicle speeds of 25 mph. The LandDesign landscape architects note the street design criteria factor into providing street sections more conducive to the pedestrian scale and safety and to discourage driving in Carlisle to whatever extent possible.






Carlisle homes and the central village green from across the lake. The pond, located within the low point of the site, is a pleasant man-made amenity but also has the practical application of stormwater retention. The pond does not have a liner, but a water fountain has been installed for aeration.


A comprehensive streetscape program for the neighborhood provides shade and reinforces the spatial relationship of the home to the street. Each lot is required to install a low evergreen hedge, masonry (brick or stone) wall and an ornamental or picket fence in the front yard, typically adjacent to the fronting sidewalk. “These elements help define and differentiate the public realm (street) from the private space of the front yard, yet encourage visual linkage and the opportunity for porch-side conversation with neighbors,” say the landscape architects. Variation of these elements is encouraged to avoid monotonous uniformity.






A typical community motor court with formal landscaped green providing flowering Yoshino cherries and boxwoods. Three of the internal streets terminate at landscaped motor courts in lieu of cul-de-sacs. These courts offer centrally landscaped “mini-parks” roughly 35 feet in width and ranging from 80-120 feet in length, a pleasant amenity for the homes clustered around them.


A five-foot wide, concrete sidewalk is installed on both sides of most streets to promote pedestrian movement. All walks lead to the village green. A special pedestrian linkage running north-south and aligned with the New Highway 96 West entrance alignment gives mid-block access to the village green for those residents located in the northern quadrant of the site.





CrossWynde: Tampa, Fla.






The primary promenade for this Tampa, Fla. apartment complex is a cobblestone pattern of concrete pavers extending 1,000 feet. The stroller finds sun, shade, water and seating. The walkway connects the primary clubhouse, arrival court, mail pavilion, swimming pool and activity pavilion, outdoor fireplace, tennis and volley ball courts and playground. The palms specified are Livistona chinensis, with Asiatic jasmine and pittosporum tobira shrubs.


 

  • Project: CrossWynde, Tampa, Fla.—500-unit Garden Apartment Community DesignClient: Crescent Resources, Tim DisonLandscape Architect: David Taylor, partner, LandDesign
  • Awards: CrossWynde received two awards from the National Association of Home Builders’ Multi-family Pillars of the Industry for Best Site Plan–Suburban, and Best Garden Apartment Community– Primary Market.






The primary pool is centrally located to the site and 500 residential units, situated along the primary pedestrian spine about 350 feet away from the main clubhouse. Formed concrete (gunite) water/low-seat walls and brick steps help define the pool area, which are encircled by seven residential buildings. The slender-trunked palms are King sagos and the more robust ones are Medjool date palms.


Site Plan Concepts

When LandDesign partner David Taylor first walked the CrossWynde site, prior to developing any land plans, it was apparent his team needed to take advantage of two resources to enhance the character of the project—the mature Spanish moss-draped live oaks, and the lakes bordering the eastern edge of the property. Additional objectives were to create a pedestrian-friendly complex and integrate a long list of site amenities desired by the client. The land plan involved a central pedestrian spine linking all the major site amenities and internal open spaces created by strategic placement of buildings. Five buildings have waterfront views; 16 of the remaining 17 buildings are adjacent to the motor court, the central pedestrian spine, or other amenities within the series of interconnected internal green spaces.






The gateway into the arrival court was strategically aligned to create a strong site line of a grand live oak tree. These trees create significant pockets of shade and establish a sense of maturity throughout the project. Flush vehicular and pedestrian zones create a welcoming space defined by subtle color and pattern material changes, including a tri-color soldier course. Atop the CMU entry piers finished in stucco are composite stone Avertine urns (Stonewear).


Consequently, all the buildings offer some inviting views. Each of the green spaces connects with internal walkways and link to the central spine and walking trail that follows the lake shoreline.






The Crosswynde site was characterized by almost 100 moss-draped live oaks. Considering a density of 18.64 units per acre, the design team was pleased to preserve 79 of 95 (83 percent) of the live oaks larger than 10 calipers. Preservation of these trees was a primary objective of the site plan, not only to meet jurisdictional requirements but to maintain the site’s natural character.


Oak Preservation

The placement of the buildings maximized the preservation of the mature live oaks, while creating as many waterfront views to the east as possible. Two buildings nestle among broad spreading oak trees along the shoreline of the existing lake. Considering a density of 18.64 units per acre, the design team was ecstatic about preserving 79 of 95 (83 percent) of the live oaks larger than 10 calipers. The developer encouraged the oak preservation and hired an arborist to collaborate with the land planner and the civil engineers. There is a 100 percent tree survival rate to date for these oaks.






The arrival court is ones first impression of Crosswynde—pavers (RMC Ewell) and a concrete water feature with stucco finish embellish the space dominated by a century old live oak, with more Livistona chinensis palms. The vehicular and pedestrian space is defined by the grand manor building and clubhouse and two residential buildings.


The central pedestrian spine is the strong organizing element of the site plan, defined by the Clubhouse Manor Building at the entrance. The axial walkway continues 1,000 feet across the site, anchored by a pair of mirrored buildings on the north end. In lieu of the conventional placement of the pool behind the club, it’s front and center along the pedestrian spine. This afforded a lakefront site for the clubhouse, while preserving a wetland pocket behind the building and creating a separate building court positioned around the pool, a pool location more centralized for the community.—Note: CrossWynde is now a condominium complex.

 


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October 21, 2019, 9:01 am PDT

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