The Berger Partnership
Specialty: Landscape architecture and site planning
Staff members at The Berger Partnership are noticing an increasing desire by clients, architects and project stakeholders to be involved earlier in the design process.
Berger officials saw it at Cal Anderson Park. “The public input was a big component at Sand Point Magnuson Park. We are anticipating the same at Jefferson Park,” said Steve Shea, a Berger principal.
It ties into the increasing emphasis on sustainability. “We are finding in these collaborative projects a lot of early thought about how we can make this site or development friendly to the environment,” Shea said.
A focus on sustainability is hardly new at Berger, which had a pivotal role in the first LEED-certified project — The Sunshine Project in Gig Harbor — and Washington’s first gold LEED project — IslandWood on Bainbridge Island. Three of Berger’s 28 employees are LEED certified, and three or four more are working on their certification.
When landscape architects think about sustainability, they examine how water moves across a development and drains. With the right mix of soil and plants, they can store runoff on-site rather than sending it into a sewer.
Berger is on the team of the $190 million redevelopment of Salishan, a Tacoma Housing Authority project that includes 1,270 new homes. The goal is to retain 90 percent of the stormwater on-site.
Berger representatives have been studying rainwater-catching systems. The latest trend the firm is eyeing is capturing HVAC system water for irrigation use.
In terms of overall activity, 2004 was the second flat year in a row, but the pace of work picked up near the end of the year. A lot of school projects came on line in addition to park projects.
“We definitely have felt the boost of the improving economy,” said Shea, who anticipates hiring two or three staff members this year.