Location: Lombard, IL
Project Scope: Landscape Plans, Project Specifications, Village Plan Approval
Building Architect: DLR Group
Landscape Architect: ecology + vision, llc
Website: Adjustable Forms, Inc.

Adjustable Forms Adjustable Forms Inc. (AFI), one of the most respected and advanced cast-in-place concrete construction firms in the country, had outgrown their current facility located in Lombard, IL. They wanted to renovate and expand upon their current 8,000 sqft office and 12,000 sqft warehouse spaces. ecology + vision, llc (ecology) worked closely with the architect and owner to develop a landscape design for the two-acre project site that complements the building aesthetic, reduces maintenance costs, eliminates irrigation and contributes to LEED Gold certification.The project architect conceived the project as a vehicle to showcase the client’s talents and capabilities while expanding their own knowledge of concrete and its potential. The landscape design enhances the architect’s vision by utilizing decorative concrete features by incorporating exterior pavement applications and a cast-in-place concrete retaining wall that features a natural wood texture finish.

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Aesthetically, the building design is a reflection of concrete as a material and a process, limiting the materials used to provide a pure minimalist appearance. A high performance rain screen system and solid panel system made of black zinc were used to bring a sophisticated contrast to the stark minimalist light colored concrete massing. The key architectural element of the building structure is a perforated zinc panel sun screen system that mitigates the harsh western sun in the late afternoons while providing a changing aesthetic as the sun moves across the sky. The landscape design seeks to complement the minimalist building aesthetic by incorporating large mass plantings of native grasses that offer a soft, but simplistic aesthetic to the building-ground connection. A naturalized “prairie” aesthetic is also used strategically throughout the landscape in order to provide interest by contrasting loose and rigid forms against one another.Approval of a sustainable landscape plan by the Village was critical for attainment of potential LEED points available through the landscape. This was the first LEED certified project within the Village of Lombard, as such sustainable landscaping was a new concept to Village reviewers accustomed to traditional landscape submittals minimally meeting ordinance requirements. ecology worked closely with the Village throughout the design process to ensure the approved plan would satisfy the intent of the landscape ordinance as well as meet the project’s LEED requirements and aesthetic goals. For example, the Village ordinance required tree planting within the parking lot and side-lots, however ecology was able to keep the parking lot open to accommodate native plants in need of full sun conditions and instead strategically place the required trees to soften large expanses of wall, while keeping views wide open to key architectural features, such as the zinc panel sun screen.Ultimately the landscape design eliminates the use of permanent irrigation by using plants native to DuPage County, incorporates a unique rock garden that promotes color and texture within the winter months, includes hardscapes with light coloring to minimize the heat island effect, and provides preferred parking for fuel efficient vehicle and those carpooling, to minimize the use of personal automobiles.

Awards & Recognition
• Gold Award – Association of Licensed Architects (ALA)
• Merit Award – Chicago Building Congress
• Merit Award – Engineering News Record (ENR) Midwest



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