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Hardscape Design

An Intelligent Allternative

By Kay Tiller, Associate Editor

The Davis Residence in Ladue, Missouri.

Landscape architects, developers, governmental entities and individual homeowners have discovered Bomanite, the colored, imprinted and often textured concrete paving system that offers innovative and cost-effective design solutions for literally thousands of hardscape situations.

The technology, offered by more than 130 Bomanite licensed contractors around the world, allows the designer great latitude, while maintaining the cost-effective factor which is so vital in today’s built environment.

There was a time, not so many years ago, when natural stone in hardscape was the norm. But now, cost has become a major factor and landscape architects and their clients are looking for alternatives that will offer the same ambiance and beauty, but at a more affordable cost.

Bomanite can provide the answer!

There are already in existence a large number of Bomanite patterns and textures that can be imprinted on cast-in-place concrete, one of the most stable hardscape materials available.

The Alicante Plaza in Garden Grove, California.

However, in many cases, the landscape architect, working with his or her Bomanite contractor, has come up with new patterns, textures and even colors to create innovative solutions to specific design challenges.

Innovation was the key in 1955 when Brad Bowman developed the Bomanite process of imprinting concrete for use on the village sidewalks in Carmel, California.

And today, Bomanite Corporation, headquartered in Palo Alto, California, and headed by John M. Wilcox and...

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...Yet another project that called for innovation on the part of Bomanite, and specifically the Bomanite-licensed concrete contractor was Plaza Alicante in Garden Grove, California (see cover). The master plan for this project, prepared by the SWA Group’s Laguna Beach Office was for the redevelopment of a decaying commercial area in Garden Grove. A luxury hotel, highrise office building, entertainment facilities, restaurants and specialty shops were part of the plan and “the intent was to create a strong sense of place along an aging commercial strip, and to increase the value of the land by drawing development into the interior of the property,” according to SWA.

The North Pier Terminal in Chicago, Illinois.

One of the prime factors in “creating a strong sense of place” revolved around the intricate paving pattern used throughout the development. A copy of the Roberto Burle Marx design for the promenade at Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the pattern has been described as a “series of waves” and Bomanite contractor, Francis Sullivan of Sullivan Concrete Textures of Costa Mesa, California, was very instrumental in implementing the design.

Bob Elliott, a principal in the SWA Group in the Laguna Beach office and Chief Landscape Architect for the project, explained, “the paving was integral in creating the entire concept. We worked with “Sully” (a nickname for Francis Sullivan that is known throughout the country) from the inception of the concept (and I feel that it is critical to work directly with the contractor from the beginning so you’ll know your ideas are feasible) and even had some black and white stones which were used in the Brazil installation, plus photographs, in order to show him just what we were seeking.”

The paved plaza is comprised of 250,000 square feet of Bomanite which has the appearance of small mosaic pieces in a pattern of alternating black and white waves. “In fact, people who see it swear it is tile,” Elliott commented.

He continued, “We used the imprinting process because we wanted the same feel for the pedestrian as we had for vehicular traffic and the design is carried from the outside into the indoor atrium, a 140,000 square foot area that connects the hotel with the adjacent office building."

The Bomacron process adds texture to the surface.

The highly unusual pattern for the plaza involved technology that had never been tried before, according to Sullivan. “Special tools were designed and built for the project, a project on which we worked for two years before it came up for bid. This is a perfect example of the contractor working hand-in-hand with the designer to achieve a very specific goal.”

Elliott concluded, “Once you have learned what is possible with concrete, you get spoiled. This project has to be one of the highlights of my career.”

Another instance where special tools to imprint Bomanite had to be developed is in Chicago at North Pier Terminal, the restoration of an old warehouse into a festival marketplace along the Ogden Canal. Joe Nasvik, President of Chicagoland Concrete Specialists, Inc., the local Bomanite contractor, was confronted with the problem of developing an imprinting tool for the long, narrow promenade which separates the building from the river. Time was of the essence in this project, so Nasvik designed a large form which could be placed easily on the newly-poured concrete to imprint the patterns. Due to the stipulation that two colors were to be used in the pattern, this special tooling was very precise and the job was completed in the time frame called for by the general contractor, the Austin Company of Chicago.

This type of innovation distinguishes Bomanite and its contractors from other imprinted paving suppliers.

In Ottawa (above) and New Jersey (below), the Bomanite process is used to accent the hardscape.

Shopping centers all over the country are relying on Bomanite for color and texture at a cost which is acceptable to the developers.

In the Chicago area, Terry Warriner Ryan of Jacobs Ryan Associates, has specified Bomanite paving at Buffalo Grove Town Center. According to Ms. Ryan, “Buffalo Grove Town Center is a planned 55-acre mixed-use project that is a result of a public/private partnership between the Village of Buffalo Grove and Melvin Simon Associates of Indianapolis, one of the country’s premier shopping center developers.”

"Bomanite, installed by Chicagoland Concrete Specialists, Inc., is being used in pedestrian plazas and the feature plazas in the center. We feel that it is an extremely attractive alternative to more expensive paving and certainly accomplishes our design intentions. The shopping center is Phase I of the project and is slated to open in April, 1989.”

The durability of Bomanite in more severe climatic conditions is just one reason why Denver, Colorado Landscape Architect, Randy Swanson of THK Associates, has specified it in his design of the Village Shopping Center in Boulder, Colorado “We believe that Bomanite not only looks very good but it is extremely durable in our harsh climate,” Swanson said.

New Jersey Bomanite

Durability under extreme climatic conditions is being proven again and again throughout the northern tier of states and, for that matter, has been proven for a number of years by various installations in such harsh conditions as Iceland where it is used on city sidewalks, in Alaska where Bomanite is installed in city parks, in Ottawa, Canada where a shopping center is paved with a Bomanite/Bomacron pattern and in Minneapolis, Minnesota where the Johanna Condominiums feature an expansive interior courtyard of Bomanite. There are other exampies.

One specific instance where Bomanite was used and, according to Anne Hughes, property manager for Otis Development, has proven to have held up better than other paving products used on the site, is used at the entryway of the company’s 200,000 square foot office building in Northbrook, Illinois. “We used it because we wanted a special effect at the entrance to our suburban office building and, for the past four years, it has remained beautiful and certainly has proven to be extremely durable in our weather conditions. Other paving at the site already needs repairing and resealing; the Bomanite is still beautiful” Ms. Hughes concluded.

Residential applications of Bomanite span the country and the world.

Dave Hawk, Vice President and Director of the Boston office of Matarazzo, is specifying textured Bomanite in several projects in the northeastern United States.

Bomanite at the Magic Kingdom, Disney World, Orlando, Florida.

One project, Glen Oaks in Whelan, Massachusetts is a duplex and triplex community where “we wanted to take advantage of a grand arrival sequence for the side entry garages. There was a sameness in the architecture so we used different designs and textures on the driveways and attached walkways to change the overall appearance of the complex,” Hawk explained.

He continued, “We used both formal and informal designs, some as borders, others in geometric patterns, and still others with intricate internal patterns within the borders. Using textured Bomanite, we could achieve different design styles and create individuality for each residence. Prices on the duplexes start at $750,000,” Hawk confirmed.

Further south, Lisa Hageman Stockley of Planscapes in Easton, Maryland, praised Bomanite as “an excellent solution to paving problems, a dynamite product!” Using Bomanite in walkways, around pools, in driveways and in parking areas on the Eastern Shore around Chesapeake Bay, she reports that clients are very pleased because the addition of Bomanite paving tends to increase the value of the property, at half the price of other enhanced paving.

You can find Bomanite even on a street corner in Iceland.

Across the country in Northern California, Frank Coen, Senior Vice President of the residential development firm of W. W. Dean & Associates, reported that using Bomanite colored, imprinted and textured concrete has not only led to great sales of their homes in several subdivisions, but also had a bearing on their winning awards such as the prestigious Gold Nugget Award at the San Francisco Home Builders Show.

In Arkansas, Carroll Caldwell, who has been a developer for more than 15 years, reported using the Bomanite cobblestone pattern in driveways of 27 Victorian homes he built in the Jonesboro area-and on driveways, in patios and on sidewalks in a group of nine patio homes he has just completed on the Jonesboro Country Club Golf Course. “Bomanite adds class to all my projects,” Caldweil stated emphatically. And, emphatic support for the use of Bomanite has come from a number of other sources.

In Richardson, Texas, Carl Raleigh of the City of Richardson Parks and Recreation Department praised the Bomanite paving done for the city by North Texas Bomanite by saying, “We can get the rich look of much more expensive paving and the durability we need in medians and other public areas at a more reasonable cost.” Many park areas throughout the country are using Bomanite for the same reason.

Past ASLA President, Bob Mortensen, FASLA, is another proponent of the use of Bomanite. “We needed several thousand square feet of special pavement at the Saddlebrook Resort near Tampa, Florida and chose Bomanite because of the wide variety of patterns that can take advantage of different site conditions.”

This cobblestone-swirl-effect was recreated by Sullivan Concrete Textures, from the Copacabana Beach in Rio De Janeiro, starting with two stones from the original promenade.

He continued, “The nice soft colors that were available complimented both the landscape materials that were being used and also blended with the other paving systems in the project. When I was down there in early February this year, I was happy to see that the Bomanite had held up very well – it has been installed for nine years – and I have surmised that the contractor really knew what he was doing when he installed it.

One of the prime reasons for using the Bomanite colored, imprinted and textured concrete paving system is the expertise of the knowledgeable contractors who are members of the Bomanite International Society. The Society is made up of concrete contractors who are licensed by Bomanite to install the system and there are more than 130 of them worldwide. There are Bomanite licensees in 48 states and the District of Columbia and in 23 countries around the world.

Once potential licensees are granted their license by Bomanite, they go through a complete program of installation techniques, become acquainted with the Bomanite tools and how to use them, and are schooled in concrete technology, as it applies to Bomanite installation. Rigid standards set for for Bomanite licensees,” Dan Sieben said, ” and we want those standards upheld wherever Bomanite is installed throughout the world.”

Bomanite Corporation maintains a very active research and development department that is continually improving equipment, processes and materials, implementing new designs and developing new products. “This is the way we can stay on the cutting edge of concrete paving technology and develop applications of that technology for our licensees and ultimately for the consumer,” Sieben commented.

At an annual meeting, sponsored by the Bomanite Corporation (this year in March in Tucson, Arizona), these members of the Bomanite International Society gather to discuss solutions to problems, learn new marketing technigues, be introduced personally to new products and processes and to mingle with their peers.

Through frequent mailings and a bimonthly newsletter, these members are kept up to date on specific new technologies and designs which can aid the landscape architect and designer in arriving at beautiful, yet cost-effective alternatives in hardscape design.

Cortland Paul, FASLA, Past President of the Landscape Architecture Foundation and founder of the Peridian Group, speaks about the value of Bomanite enriched paving from a special viewpoint. “We have been using Bomanite since its inception and the rich and real textures it allows us to design, the flexibility it gives us and the lasting quality of the installations is wonderful!”

“We have found that we do not have to stick with existing patterns; we can design our own to fit the site we’re dealing with and Bomanite stands up to any pedestrian or vehicular activity you could possibly envision.”

“To let you know what I really think of Bomanite after using it for 20 years, “Cort Paul concluded, “I have it in my own garden; that’s how much I like it and am impressed with its design implications.”

Colored, imprinted and textured Bomanite has been the solution to literally thousands of landscape architectural design criteria since 1955. The added amenity value it offers, at a reasonable cost, combined with the stability and durability of cast-in-place concrete, is certainly an intelligent alternative which it would be foolish not to consider where hardscape is a part of the design. The innovation, the availability of beautiful and unique patterns and textures and the fact that the landscape architect can continue to show his or her design talents while meeting the rigid fiscal criteria demanded by the client are just a few of the reasons to take an extremely close look at Bomanite!

Grasscrete Has A Specific Place In Site Design

Providing access for fire-fighting vehicles is made easy through the use of Grasscrete.

Another product offered by Bomanite Contractors, Grasscrete, is gaining wide acceptance among landscape architects who are faced with the problem of designing emergency vehicle access areas in their projects or must include erosion control and/or stormwater runoff criteria in their designs to meet changing zoning regulations.

Grasscrete has recently been approved by several major city fire departments for use in emergency vehicle access areas and is being used in numerous areas where a grassy vista is more in keeping with the overall landscape design than just a mass of concrete or asphalt.

A cast-in-place, monolithic, continuously reinforced grass/concrete paving system, Grasscrete can be used anywhere an impervious paving method is required. Because of its structural integrity, it is not subject to differential settlement and is a most feasible solution to problems caused by the alteration of natural stormwater runoff patterns.

One example is the use of Grasscrete at Ruby Creek in San Jose, California, where a storm channel was necessary through a residential development. Using Grasscrete rather than plain concrete for the channel, the residents could look out over a lovely grassy vista instead of having to see just a mass of white concrete. This type of use is prevalent in other parts of the country as well.

Another consideration is stormwater runoff which is not being monitored very closely by many governmental entities. Grasscrete actually increases ground water recharge through infiltration while improving the quality of the water supply and preventing erosion due to storms and floods. It also allows infiltration while releasing hydrostatic pressure and therefore, does not require the subdrainage system necessary with solid concrete.

Grasscrete is another solution to design criteria from the source of innovative concrete design – Bomanite!

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June 16, 2019, 10:39 pm PDT

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