Renovate Podium Planters Phase II

February 2015

Background\Overview

Most of the existing planters on the Podium are in poor condition with 1960's designed drainage, soils, and electrical elements from the original construction. The drains are, with few exceptions, clogged with tar that was used for original waterproofing; and the original metal electrical conduits and light fixtures have long rotted away and are in disrepair. Most of the plant life in these planters are overgrown, are unattractive in appearance from age and environmental conditions, and/or have roots that have penetrated the roofing of the Podium deck resulting in leaking onto occupied Lecture Center spaces below. Moreover, the soils require replenishment and restoration. Accordingly, the University is renovating Podium planters in a multi-year, multi-phased effort. The intent is to both beautify the campus and address deferred maintenance needs.

Phase I of the project was completed in 2013-2014. This project addressed the entire planter/seating area overlooking the main fountain as well as the 24 "smaller" planters adjacent Podium deck. All of these planters were waterproofed and restored with new soils and re-populated with carefully selected trees and plants that are consistent with the University's landscaping master plan, chosen for their variety of year-round color, texture, and, most importantly, hardiness in our climate.

Phase II of the project, currently underway, will renovate the outer, larger "L-shaped" planters at the perimeter of the Podium main fountain area. This phase, similar to others, will involve waterproofing, concrete repair, and new trees, shrubs, and perennials. Electrical and irrigation systems will be restored.

Phase 3 will include the planters on the north and south sides of the Performing Arts Center and the University Library. Some of this work has started, most notably some tree removals. These trees were entirely overgrown, penetrating the roof openings and creating an ongoing challenge for roof drains as well as structural stress on the Podium itself from enormous root systems.

Addressing these planters is not only a critical maintenance needs, but also to ensure the preservation and continuity of the original Edward Durell Stone design. All of these planters were intended to provide green, human-scale color and texture to help break-down the monumentality of the Podium with planter shapes that reinforce the built, linear forms and voids of the architecture. The trees and shrubs in these planters are used to reinforce the vertical plane, frame views, and created outdoor rooms of a pedestrian scale.

Scope

Phase II work includes the remediation of four L-shaped planters that are identified as I,J,K,L on the images seen below on this webpage. The work will include the removal of existing plant material which are primarily yews and birch trees. The planters will then have existing soil removed and the planters will be cleaned and inspected. Existing drainage outlets for each planter will be inspected and repaired as needed. Electrical conduit will be installed for new receptacles to be used at the Podium level as well as the potential lighting of future plantings. The planters will then be insulated and sealed with state of the art roofing products. A new mix of planting soil with organic matter and nutrients will fill the planters. New plantings will be installed to complete the center Podium planters around the fountain.

The associated renderings provide an overall concept for the previous Phase I (M,N), current Phase II (I,J,K,L), and future Phase III (A,B,C,D,E,F,G,H) of Podium planter renovations. The new plants are positioned to accentuate views from the upper level to the lower level of the Podium while providing a seasonal interest of evergreen and deciduous tree and shrub plantings.

Project Schedule

This current phase of the Podium planter renovation is expected to be completed in stages by Fall 2015.

Contact

For comments or questions please contact Errol Millington, Director of Campus Planning at emillington@albany.edu or 442-3400.



Project Design Renderings \ Photos:

(Click the picture for a printable version.)

  • images/slideshow/podiumplanters01-lg.png

    Podium Planters

    Podium Planters
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    Podium Planters

    Podium Planters
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    Podium Planters

    Podium Planters
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    Podium Planters

    Podium Planters
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    Podium Planters

    Podium Planters
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    Podium Planters

    Podium Planters
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    Podium Planters

    Podium Planters
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    Podium Planters

    Podium Planters