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Southwestern Energy Water Wall
Water Feature Creates Aesthetic and Blocks Highway Noise

Landscape Architecture by Clark Condon

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At the Southwestern Energy corporate headquarters just outside of Houston, Texas, landscape architecture firm Clark Condon was hired to design the site. The two water walls, each 54' long, provide ambient noise, aesthetics, and a barrier to the nearby freeway.


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Several types of stone, angles, and water flow were tested before coming to a final decision: Oceanic Bluestone in a variety of finishes at a 9-degree batter. Each 13.5' tall wall has a 30 hp pump generating 2,400 gallons per minute.


The Springwoods Community, located just north of Houston, Texas, was designed with the principles of nature, native, and sustainable. When Southwestern Energy selected their corporate headquarters site in the Springwoods forest, they fully embraced the design identity of the community. Those principles and guidelines set the stage for Clark Condon's work as the landscape architect for the headquarters, including two water walls.

In collaboration with the client, Clark Condon developed a mission for the design that would allow outside experiences to complement the interiors. Additionally, the exterior spaces would invite the employees to explore the campus and enjoy nature.

The property was mostly wooded with a mixture of second growth pines, hardwoods and native understory. The landscape architect worked with the team on the building location to maximize tree preservation. The design enhanced existing natural areas, and added acres of trees, native grasses and wildflowers. Less than two acres of the 26-acre site consist of manicured lawn, which spills out from the dining and conference areas to allow for outdoor events, sports and lawn games.

The water feature is the single largest amenity for the project. It was designed to create a comfortable and welcoming outdoor space for employees and visitors. The two 54' long, 13.5' high, tapered water walls are located outside the dining room. The water feature has three primary roles - cooling the immediate area, masking noise from the adjacent freeway, and providing a dramatic aesthetic element to the campus. A third wall of the same scale was added adjacent to the water wall to extend the dramatic creation of an outdoor room for dining and events.



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The two water walls are offset to create a more dramatic effect and added interest. The water from each wall falls into one connected reflection pool, from which it is recirculated.


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An outdoor dining space adjacent to the water feature offers both covered and uncovered options, as well as the sound and visual aesthetics of the water wall. The Wausau Tile pavers extend approximately 21,000 square feet. The site furniture was custom designed by the landscape architect. Photo: Paul Hester


The wall batter is nine degrees, and approximately one and a half inches of water come over the weir to create a significant water sound and cooling mist. The fountain includes two 30 hp pumps that generate 2,400 gpm each. A custom control system communicates with the building management system.

To determine the perfect effect down the water wall, a mockup was built at the aquatic consultant's design facility. A full height, 6' long section of the feature was mounted on a tilting frame for testing. The design team and the client visited the mockup to experiment with water volumes in combination with various angles of the wall before landing on the final stone, angle and volume.


Complete team list
Owner: Southwestern Energy
Developer: Patrinely Group
Landscape Architect: Clark Condon
Architect: Gensler
Aquatics Consultant: Greenscape Pump
MEP: I.A. Naman
Structural: Cardno Haynes Whaley
Civil: Ward Getz & Associates
General Contractor: D. E. Harvey Builders

Manufacturer List:
Pavers: Wausau Pavers
Stone (Water Wall): Thorntree | Oceanic Bluestone in Chiseled, Sandblasted, Antiqued Flamed, Linear Combed, and Honed finishes
Furniture (dining area): Custom designed by Clark Condon



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As Seen in the July 2017 Issue of Landscape Architect Magazine






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September 21, 2017, 11:06 pm PDT

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