Culverts, basins, drainage boxes: these are the utilitarian civil engineering components that perform the very critical environmental task of slowing and filtering storm water runoff. However, they don’t always look that great. For tight sites, or projects with certain aesthetic goals, these storm water measures are sometimes hidden underground entirely, at no small cost.
What looks like a landscaped pond with fountains and a waterfall on the site’s busy street corner is really a series of rain gardens, bioswales and retention basins that slow the rainwater coming from the building’s roof and parking lot. Surrounding the basins is a walking trail open to the public. What was an environmental necessity is now also an amenity for staff and visitors.
Using an architectural element for multiple functions is inherently a more efficient use of resources. Together with our consultants and clients, there have been many necessary building components creatively used to serve multiple functions: