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Copley Wolff Design Group

Copley Wolff Design Group, overlooking historic Boston Common, employs 14 landscape architects, planners, graphic designers and support staff. Lynn Wolff, FASLA, John Copley, ASLA and Sean Sanger, ASLA, LEED AP BD+C are principals. The firm specializes in institutional, urban, mixed-use, retail, housing, corporate, children's play, parks and rec and waterfront landscape projects. High-profile projects include Wharf District Park on the Rose Kennedy Greenway; renovations of Frog Pond in the Boston Common; the fountain at the First Church of Christ, Scientist; and streetscapes, a green roof and waterfront park at Assembly Square in Somerville.

Liberty Mutual, Boston

Copley Wolff Design Group (CWDG) planned and designed the Stuart, Columbus and Berkeley streetscapes in Boston's historic Back Bay. Granite paving, lighting, bike racks, street trees, public art and planters are among the amenities.

The project included a green roof on the new Conference Center, a mix of sustainable drought-tolerant sedums and succulents, and two garden parks. The linear park on Stuart Street was made possible by pulling the building back from the edge of the sidewalk. The park offers a double row of flowering trees, limestone and granite seating, steel decorative elements and architectural plantings. The St. James Street Garden showcases plantings, stone seat cubes, lighting, living walls, honey locust trees and a custom-designed water feature. The living walls are set on granite bases. The water feature is quarried Italian granite, with a chiseled surface to create interesting water affects. The fountain's six pumps provide flexibility for the water displays. Both the water flow and the lights, (color-changing LEDs), are programmed for various displays and rotations. The lights are set flush in the grate to illuminate the front face of the wall.

Photos: Luke O'Neill

North Shore Community College, Student Services Building, Danvers, Mass.

CWDG was responsible for the design and construction documentation for the exterior features of the LEED NC Gold Student Services Building. The project involved the design of a new quadrangle, accessible walkways, collaboration for infiltration and bioretention basins, walkway canopies support photo voltaic panels, a green roof and planting areas at geothermal wells. The North Shore Community College green roof has a designated terrace for student access to rows of LiveRoof modular trays of evergreen and deciduous succulents. These trays will evolve, as they are part of the college's biology and plant sciences curriculum. Surrounding this internal terrace, are additional trays containing two different mixes of succulents in a striping pattern that bloom at opposite times of the school year. CWDG also designed berms and plantings for their aesthetics and sound buffering qualities.

Photos: Robert Benson

Columbus Commons Playground, Columbus, Ind.

Columbus Commons is a mixed-use development in the heart of downtown Columbus. In addition to a hotel, conference center, offices, and retail space, the site includes a nontraditional interior playground. Copley Wolff redesigned the Columbus Commons playground that was built in the 1970s. The intent was to incorporate new and safer materials, make it accessible, and maintain its original geometric shapes and abstract forms. The central feature in the 30-foot-high space is a sculptural, custom-designed Tom Luckey climber with curving platforms that resemble flying carpets. The surrounding playground has multiple levels, climbing mounds, tunnels, slides, maze walls, a net, block climbers and spinning elements. The larger lower level is for children 5-12. A separate, raised toddler area was integrated into the new design. The landscape architect specified molded Corian, an acrylic polymer, to create colorful slides, peek-a-boo walls, blocks, and tunnels, and colorful, resilient surfacing on the floor and mounds. The 26-foot-long horizontal red fiberglass play tube from the original design was replicated.

Photos: Susan Fleck

Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Therapy Trail, Charlestown, Mass.

Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital relocated to a new facility in the Charlestown Navy Yard, just northeast of downtown Boston, where the Mystic River joins Boston Harbor. Copley Wolff Design Group's landscape design was integrated into the Boston Harbor Walk, which extends along the site. The design included a green roof, the use of environmentally-friendly building materials and low-maintenance plantings. A key design is the therapy trail. The primary trail is a relatively level, six-foot-wide concrete walkway with staggered stainless steel handrails for walking assistance. The path has varied walk slopes, interpretive distance markers, secondary paths, walking surfaces, granite stairs, granite curbs, a ramp with handrails and interactive, spinning rock elements. Plantings in the therapeutic garden are a mix of native and drought-tolerant deciduous trees, evergreen and deciduous shrubs, ornamental grasses, groundcovers and perennials. The plant palette offers fragrance, texture, color, wildlife attraction and seasonal interest. In addition to the gardens and sports stations, Copley Wolff Design Group designed a small courtyard and a larger dining terrace.

Photos: Luke O'Neill

Science Park, Montshire Museum of Science, Norwich, Vermont

The Montshire Museum of Science is on 100 wooded acres on the Connecticut River. Copley Wolff Design Group provided master planning, site programming, design, and construction administration to expand the museum's exhibit area out into the landscape through the new two-acre "Science Park." Originally a flat field, CWDG sculpted a winding path down to the river through a new tunnel under an existing railroad. Trails go through meadows, forests and wetlands. Science Park invites interaction with water, light and sound. There's also an amphitheater. Many of the outdoor displays have an emphasis on water, but there's also a human sundial where visitors can tell the time of day by the direction their shadow is cast on the ground. Speaking dishes that project whispers across long distances; a musical fence constructed of various-sized pipes; and a stone that sings when rubbed with wet hands complete the project.

Photos: Jim Westphalen

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December 14, 2019, 7:43 am PDT

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