Projects Far and Wide

WC3 Design operates with a deep belief in the value of attractive and functional yet environmentally-friendly landscapes. With decades of experience in the industry, the WC3 Design team can guide a project from initial concept through installation.

It is not uncommon for WC3 to take on unique projects that require an experts eye. Some may think that irrigation is the same for each project; you dig a hole and put it in. Each project brings it’s own design challeneges in efforts to make a system work with your complex designs in different environment. For instance, in a zoo the irrigation must be in places out of reach of animals, in a playground the heads must be areas kids can’t trip or play with them. The following project was one that has it’s own challenges.

One of their many successful irrigation designs is the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) Conference Center located in the Saudi Arabian Desert.

Designed by firms Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill and H.M White Site Architects, the center’s organic profile and faceted skin tied the building to its natural surroundings. This massive, state-of-the-art complex consisting of several hundred planting panels, was joined together to form a living roof. The panels were filled with native grasses to blend in with the local landscape and minimize irrigation water requirements.

KAFD12Conservation played a significant role in this project. Designing the irrigation for the planted panels was the easy part; getting it to work in an environment with temperatures that would cause standard pipe to melt added some complications. Municipal reclaimed water supply was used for irrigation, however special braided silicone tubing was needed to replace normal irrigation tubing due to extreme temperatures. Standard subsurface drip tubing was specified in the roof planters but because the water could sit in the system all day, scalding of plant material was a very real concern. The entire irrigation system was designed to drain into storage tanks for reuse after each watering cycle to prevent water left in the pipe from superheating and damaging plant material. Additionally, new water is run through a chiller before going to the plants. The entire system was designed to be controlled by a two-wire central control system complete with soil moisture sensors to efficiently regulate irrigation cycles.

Because every panel has a different exposure, slope, and elevation, dozens of soil moisture sensors were specified to feed detailed information to the KAFDcomputerized irrigation control system. Irrigation runtime is to be calculated based on actual soil conditions in each of the planted panels.

The roof panels are designed to be built on the ground before being lifted into place. The irrigation components already installed will then be attached to the supply lines once placed on the roof. Irrigation water will be supplied from a municipal reclaimed water source and the project should meet LEED Platinum certification. The building also features extensive green walls throughout the interior, helping to bring the landscape inside.

WC3 Design was acknowledged with an award for our irrigation design efforts from the New York Chapter of the ASLA in 2012. Click to see award:  KAFD Award. Sam Lawrence with HM White, New York, notified us with these words,

KAFD3“In late February of this year, we submitted the King Abdullah Conference Center Living Roof and Landscape project to the NY ASLA Awards Program. Submitted projects were juried by a panel of Landscape Architects and allied professions of the Chicago Chapter of the ASLA. We were very pleased to learn a couple weeks ago that our submission received an Honor Award in the category of Un-Built projects. This was a huge collaborative team effort which we could not have done without the expertise and support of talented consulting team. We would like to congratulate you as a participant on this endeavor. I have enclosed is a duplicate award certificate in your name as recognition of valuable contribution.”

The KAFD Convention Center is just one of WC3 Design’s many complex and challenging projects they have taken on. Click here to view more of our projects.