Many dreams for innovation and development have started off with the simple act of breaking ground and a plan. Hedstrom Design, a Knoxville based landscape architecture firm, has had the opportunity to participate in a field-of-dreams-like project over the past few years. The developers believed that if they built it, businesses would come.
Pellissippi Place is a mixed-use development driven by a collection of local, public and private parties. The municipalities of Blount and Knox County, as well as the cities of Alcoa and Maryville have all put their hand into this development. This development rides alongside other regional development initiatives in the five county Plan East Tennessee region.
This once farm land is now being developed as a 450 mixed use property with 230 acres devoted to research and technology upscale offices, as well as retail and residential phases. It is strategically located in the greater I-75/I-40 corridor which is in-line with Oak Ridge and Maryville. The development officially opened in 2010.
Hedstrom Design was contracted by project civil engineers C2RL in 2007 for the initial phase. Currently in design phase two, Hedstrom Design has appropriately designed the site to receive its many future occupants.
Approaching the site you are greeted by two large entry pillars which formally mark the entrance into the development corridor. Hedstrom Design generated the design concepts and flushed out the details for this piece with Elizabeth Eason Architecture LLC.
The project is a boulevard streetscaping. Taking cues from the region, Hedstrom utilized plant species and site materials which accessed and spoke to the Appalachian farmland vernacular. The primary motif is derived from historic Tennessee.
As pedestrians transition from the abutting Alcoa Greenway Trail into the site they walk on meandering sidewalks which run alongside the boulevard. The use of rustic timber columns, freestanding walls, and local boulders from the site help reinforce the locale of East Tennessee. True to the region, and Hedstrom’s desire for sustainable design, a native planting palette was used.
One uncommon element which is sure to surprise users while driving through the site are the roundabouts used at each intersection along the boulevard. Each roundabout was designed to further bring a sense of place to Pellissippi Place and call attention to the developments’ surroundings. One roundabout centerpiece features a design which makes reference to a stone outcrop. Another roundabout center piece references the popular historic cantilever barns found throughout the Appalachian region.
More impressive is the use of planting materials along the boulevard to call drivers’ attention to a change in road use. As drivers approach each roundabout they are signaled that a change is taking place and that they should be more alert. Hedstrom accomplished this by planting an allee of Slender Silhouette Sweet Gum Trees placed on a tighter rhythm than the preceding plantings. This change in density, color, scale, and texture is sure to help drivers become aware that something is taking place.
Also found in each major intersection is a series of design elements which elevates the importance of pedestrians. Textured pedestrian crosswalks intersect each side of the roundabout. Pedestrians are also distanced from traffic by planted buffers on each side of the road. Furthermore, pedestrians are encouraged to hang out on site by placing benches at each intersection and alongside the path at key planting areas.
With more developmental plans like this in Knoxville, we should see growth on the near horizon. Pellissippi place is slated to have its first business, Pro Nova, move in this year.
Landscape Architect: Hedstrom Design, LLC.
Landscape Installer: Caughron & Co.
Civil Engineering: C2RL Inc.
Architect: Elizabeth Eason