Owens Corning World Headquarters
Toledo, OH, USA
CLIENT Owens Corning / STATUS Completed 1997 / SIZE 35 acres / DESIGN TEAM Balmori Associates
A historic regional form of landscape is restored as a way to link a building to its surroundings. Known as 'oak openings' in prairie planting, this form of landscape was present in Ohio before the arrival of Columbus. Balmori Associates' design scheme conceived of the Owens Corning World Headquarters project as an opportunity to restore this landscape form the area, an island in the Maumee River which was formerly a railroad site and then a dump site. The headquarters is sited on this island, in the heart of downtown Toledo. The oak opening landscape surrounds the whole complex; an intersecting trail for joggers and sightseers runs by the river's edge and through this landscape.
A secluded gated courtyard nestled among the main buildings offers a garden landscape as a contrast to the oak opening prairie outside and provides protected seating during severe seasons.
The meandering willow and dogwood hedge provides enclosure for each individual garden. The arching brick path and parallel row of oak trees define the edge between the courtyard gardens and the great lawn. Outdoor summer concerts are one of the several types of events taking place on the landscape's great lawn.
The oak openings prairie is now established. One section has been geometrically planted with beds of wildflowers, which will eventually disperse their seeds over the whole site