Blue Moon Fund is a private philanthropic foundation dedicated to building human and natural resilience in response to a changing and warming world. NBW created a highly contextual garden for this forward-thinking enterprise that bridges residential and industrial urban fabrics, employs regional materials, features native plants, and manages stormwater on site. Situated between the residential scale of South Street and the industrial fabric of the Warehouse District, the garden aims to bridge the gap between the two through carefully considered materials and plant palette.
Evoking the industrial language of the surrounds, a series of board-form concrete walls define the new gardens. CorTen walls generate spaces between the walls through a rhythmic progression, an allusion to the adjacent rail road lines. The most pronounced design gesture is the linear boardwalk that connects the visitor from the rear parking court to the lower terrace. Experiences along the boardwalk include passage through a grove of river birch, a demonstration meadow, stormwater infiltration garden, and a series of terraced perennial beds. The walk terminates at the stone terrace outside the newly renovated conference room.
Regional materials were sought for the hardscape, including the bluestone for the lower terrace and the local Alberene soapstone boulders which engage the board-form concrete walls. Responsibly harvested FSC Certified hardwoods were selected for the boardwalk and screen wall.
Plant selections continue the narrative of the site's duality. Native species selected from the first successional plant community are present at the rear of the site and gradually transition to more domestic selections. A demonstration meadow includes native grasses & wildflowers such as Andropogon, Little Bluestem, and Echinacea. The meadow not only serves as an educational component, but also wildlife attractor.
Similar to the demonstration meadow, stormwater management is designed to be visible and educational. Stormwater collected from the building and hardscape is passed through a series of rain gardens, allowing the water to slow down and infiltrate to the water table. The garden is designed to withstand the volume of a 100-year storm before leaving the site. Rainwater harvesting is also utilized for irrigation purposes via an underground cistern.