OCGP South Lawn and Visitors Center is Complete!

December 5th, 2013 by

The following blog was authored by Sherwood Designer, Jessica Stanley.

The South Lawn and Visitors Center Pavilion phases of Orange County Great Park are complete! This project hits home for me as it is the first built project that I have designed and lead the construction administration process for at Sherwood! Woohoo!

The park opened the sport and fitness complex on September 21st by hosting the “Great Summer Games” for the community and we just gave the official certificate of completion letters to the City. Sherwood Design Engineers was the Engineer of Record for both phases and worked alongside WRNS Studio and Bellinger Foster Steinmetz (BFS) Landscape Architects on the 30 acre expansion of the public open space.

The South Lawn includes four new soccer fields, two of which are synthetic turf, giant chess boards and outdoor ping ponds tables, a walkable “timeline” which allows visitors to read about the significant historical events while walking throughout the park, and a very advanced stormwater collection and reuse system. The design of the stormwater management system was the highlight of Sherwood’s work on the project.


The South Lawn Phase from the Balloon Feature

The park was required to meet new, strict, regulations for stormwater management that encourages retaining all stormwater on site. The park also set high sustainability goals for net reduction of water use on site. The project meets these regulations and guiding principles by harvesting rainfall from the site and reusing it as irrigation for the park.

The system has six ponds, with a total volume of approximately 6 million gallons. Stormwater is captured from the entire South Lawn project, but also from the North Lawn project and other off-site areas when there is capacity within the ponds to treat additional runoff. The stormwater conveyance strategy prioritizes surface conveyance to minimize pipe infrastructure which decreases costs and provides pre-treatment of the stormwater through landscape based filtration. In networks were stormwater is transported underground, the pipes outlet to bioretention benches around the pond perimeter to allow for pre-treatment. The pre-treatment, combined with aeration and circulation features, keeps the water features as clear and aesthetically pleasing as possible.

Bioretention Swale at the Visitors Center treats water thought landscape based systems before conveying water to the ponds for storage and reuse


Visitors Centers with Bioswale and Balloon Feature in the Background


The pond system allows for additional treatment through a settlement treatment train- as water fills each pond it overflows to sequential storage areas. Water is then mechanically filtered and treated with UV disinfection for storage within two high water quality “amenity” ponds. These ponds act as both a water feature and as the final storage location before the treated rainwater is used for irrigation of the park.

Stormwater System Schematic


The reuse system treats and reuses stormwater from the “Water Quality Design Storm” defined as the first ¾” of rainfall, which picks up the vast majority of pollutants and containments from the surface. It also supplies 55% of the South Lawn irrigation demands. The remaining irrigation demands are met with municipal recycled water such that potable water demands on site are very limited.

The project has just been completed and already Frances Spivy-Weber, the Vice Chair or the California State Water resources Control Board called this project a “major breakthrough in cost effective stormwater capture and reuse.” It is also the winner of the 2013 Top Projects Award from the Stormwater Solution Magazine “the project combines multiple park amenities with green infrastructure, creating a sustainable space.”

Sherwood is very excited to have completed this project and is looking forward to seeing it at work this rainy season!


SF’s Central Corridor Eco-District

September 16th, 2013 by

The following blog was authored by Sherwood Design Engineer, Jessica Stanley.

SPUR, the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research association, recently hosted a conversation on the Central Corridor Eco-District. The panel featured Kate Mcgee (San Francisco Planning Department
), John Elberling (TODCO Group
), Cole Roberts (ARUP
) and Bob Gamble (SPUR). As a hot-topic in sustainable design, the room was filled with Sherwood folks and several of our esteemed colleagues.

 The Central Corridor Plan was released for public review this past spring, and has five primary goals:

  1. Support transit-oriented growth, particularly workplace growth, in the Central Corridor area.
  2. Shape the area’s urban form recognizing both City and neighborhood contexts.
  3. Maintain the area’s vibrant economic and physical diversity.
  4. Support growth with improved streets, additional open space, and other elements of “Complete Communities”.
  5.  Create a model of sustainable growth.

This particular talk at SPUR, and a lot of Sherwood’s effort in conjunction with the plan adoption, has been on goal five: create a model of sustainable growth. As part of this goal the Central Corridor has been selected as a pilot eco-district; a district-scale approach to water management, energy conservation, and waste reduction designed to reduce the overall ecological footprint of a neighborhood.  The central corridor is a great place to test this framework as it is expected to have significant re-growth in the coming years. It is an area already centrally located to many public transit options, it is adjacent to current major job centers (downtown and Mission Bay), and it has both existing and new building capacity.

The goal of the central corridor eco-district is to help achieve the City’s environmental goals (reduce water consumption, reduce waste and enhance community scale energy resources) by bringing the neighborhood and all of its stakeholders together to co-develop innovative projects which benefit both the public and private sectors.


Image provided by SWA for the Central Corridor Plan, Chapter 7

Some of the aggressive goals established by the city, which will be supported by eco-district creation, include:

  1. GHG-free electricity supply by 2030
  2. 80% reduction of city-wide carbon emissions from 1990 levels to 2050
  3. Reduce consumption of potable water
  4. Repurpose and maximize green energy contributions of historically industrial manufacturing structures
  5. Support wildlife and habitat connectivity
  6. Expands sustainable food systems on a neighborhood scale
  7. Achieve net-zero waste by 2020

Eco-districts can help achieve these goals by allowing more streamlined approaches to strategies such as district scale non-potable water reuse in the City. Sherwood’s current work on the Moscone Expansion Project ,which is within the Central Corridor eco-district, has begun exploring ways in which the project can benefit the city as a whole. Some of the options on the table in order to accomplish this include: reusing water obtained from de-watering the foundation and captured rainwater for non-potable uses such as indoor toilet flushing, irrigation within the project and surrounding green spaces such as Yerba Buena Gardens, and supplementing city-scale uses such as street sweeping water, and fire-water.

The support that eco-districts have by the planning district, local regulatory agencies and designers is encouraging. While the plan is only in phase 1 of development “engagement” and many of the projects working to incorporate these ideas, such as Moscone above, are only in early design phases, the incorporation of eco-districts in the Central Corridor plan continues to make the City of San Francisco a leader in sustainability and responsible growth.

Image from Central Corridor Plan, Chapter 7


Water Narrative of a SDE Project

August 30th, 2013 by

The following post is authored by Sherwood summer intern, Froste Wistrom.

During the last month I have been part of a team working on a project on a private property in the Sonoma Mountains. The construction is already in progress and the contractor is ready to start working as soon as we have finalized our construction drawings. I have been lucky as this has been a perfectly timed project for me as a summer intern- we just started working on it in the beginning of the summer and are wrapping up construction documents now.

Sonoma Mountains

During the concept design process we wrote a narrative to explain our thoughts and ideas on the management of the on-site stormwater, lake water quality treatment and irrigation water reuse. I thought it would be interesting to share this with our readers to give a more detailed view of what SDE can offer:

 “The natural watershed storm flow of the site is being changed with the proposed development. This together with a fertilized landscape and a lake intended to be used for recreational use requires a series of management and treatment systems.

Integrated Water Management strategies proposed consist of four basic elements;

(1) A stormwater conveyance system consisting of lined swales, pipes and raingardens which convey and attenuate stormwater from the upper watershed around the programmed areas.

(2) An already implemented roadside drainage pipe collection system that discharges to a raingarden, with overflows piped under the road to the existing rock lined channel. This overflow is ultimately piped around the beach to a concrete vault for capture and reuse of nutrient rich landscape runoff. The vault contains a weir for overland discharge of high flows into the lake.

(3) Nutrient management/treatment. A vegetated bio-swale within the soccer pitch, to convey surface drainage, irrigation runoff, and shallow subsurface flows that may contain nutrient runoff from lawn maintenance. The additional sloping lawn in front of the Lake House will sheet flow to a French drain located behind the concrete edging supporting the boardwalk. These two systems will collect at different points along the system, to be collected and stored in the concrete vault under the boardwalk. To reduce nutrients flowing into the lake, these waters are proposed to be pumped to an irrigation distribution tank for reuse into the irrigation system.

(4) A system of small pools/ponds and stream features conveying recirculated lake water, providing UV treatment and aeration within the shallows and waterfall. The water feature flows under the bridge at the Boat House before discharges into the lake. The intake system for this feature consists of a vegetated filter zone integrated into the beach edge of the lake itself. The filter consists of a series of perorated pipes laid within the rock bed of the vegetated filter zone. The beach and filter zone is retained by large boulders. The intake water is pumped to the upper pond adjacent to the auto plaza. This system will not recirculate during storm events.

The result is a comprehensive water management strategy for offsite runoff, surface stormwater runoff and irrigation runoff. The recirculation of the irrigation water and accompanying nutrients is added back to the lawn and pitch without ever making it into the lake. The lake water is being recirculated as a water feature in the landscape while filtered and treated improving the water quality of the lake in the immediate vicinity of the swimming beach.” 

Water Management Concept Plan

This project has fitted my summer internship very well. The project is slightly uncommon for this office in the way that it has proceeded fast. It has let me experience everything from initial site visit, meetings, concept design, and construction documents. It has been a very interesting process and it has taught me a lot that I will bring with me as I go in to my final year of school.

MERGE Event in Sacramento!

August 26th, 2013 by

This post is authored by Sherwood employee Scott Hartstein who recently participated in the MERGE event in Sacramento.

On Saturday August 17, 2013, IIDA Northern California – Sacramento City Center held their 3rd annual MERGE Event benefiting their Student Award Program.  Teams are given 3 hours to create a fashion using only  the donated architectural materials provided to them, and show them at the evenings fashion show.

Team “The Materialistas” (sponsored by Rainforth Grau Architects) created their fashion from Interface Carpet, 2 types of fabric from Maharam  and PVC Edge Banding from Herman Miller.

The Model on Scott’s team proudly showing off the award for “Best Fashion Creation!”

The “Best Fashion Creation” Team.

For more information:  http://www.iidanc.org/events/view/merge-2013-510d9263e7088

SDE Intern Experience

August 13th, 2013 by

The following post is authored by student and Sherwood summer intern, Rachel Gross.

This video was made by me and the other Sherwood summer interns to share our internship experiences. We discuss why we were initially interested in interning at Sherwood, what our favorite parts of the internship are, and what we will take away from our internship experience.


Ecodistrict Augustenborg, Malmö, Sweden

August 6th, 2013 by
The following post is authored by Sherwood summer intern, Froste Wistrom.

During my internship I discovered that Sherwood was using precedent imagery of Malmo for its bioswales, and other LID stormwater management. As I am from the area I wanted to share with the firm and our blog readers more about the very interesting Eco-District that has implemented a lot of sustainable features in a great way.

Malmö, a city of approximately 300,000 inhabitants, is situated in the southern tip of Sweden. Until twenty years ago the city of was heavily industrialized, home to one of the world’s leading ship building industries, Kockums Shipyard, amongst others. The city was forced to change significantly when the big industries moved abroad, and since, a lot of work has been done to make Malmo a green city.

Overview of Augustenborg, Malmo

Augustenborg, which is located in the outskirts of Malmö, used to be an area with a high turnover rate and high unemployment. MKB Housing Company initiated the renovation of the area together with the city of Malmö, with the support of the government’s Local Investment Programme. The aim was to make Augustenborg into a thriving, sustainable, Ecodistrict. Residents took part in the design process which contributed to a greater involvement and a feeling of home that was previously lacking.

While the flat topography in the area makes it a great biking city, the minimal changes in elevation in combination with slow draining soils makes the area prone to flooding. Malmo is situated on top grade farm soil with high clay content, but that’s a whole other discussion about urban sprawl and food security… Historically, residents experienced several basement floodings, so it was essential that the new development created positive drainage away from structures and minimized runoff flows off site.

Given the nature of flooding within the area, the storm water system is an especially thought-out piece of the green infrastructure within Augustenborg. The storm water system contains several different parts. The construction of over 11,000 sq. meters of green roofs detains a large portion of the rainwater from the roof spouts. The runoff that does leave the building is led into treatment raingardens, and through conveyance swales and canals until the remaining water finally discharges into the conventional storm water system. A lot of thought has been put not only into the technical aspects of the system, but into the aesthetics of the project. The vegetated storm water system must look healthy and lush all year round, with water in it or not. Click here for a tour of the site.

Bioswales and Raingarden

Concrete conveyance runnel with bulb to increase detention and aeration

Conveyance channel separating housing area and a busy road.

Grassy conveyance swale

Detention pond

The LID stormwater management in Augustenborg, which received the UN’s World Habitat Award in 2010, is only one part of several in which Malmö has pushed the boundaries for sustainability. Within the city there is a large biogas plant which provides fuel for the public transportation system from food scraps collected by the residents. Trash is burned for heating– Sweden is now running out of trash and is getting paid by other countries to take care of their waste!

My Internship here at Sherwood Design Engineers has given me a deeper understanding behind the design of Augustenborg and I am looking forward to returning there on a rainy day this fall and envision potential improvements.

Other projects that are of interest are Hammarby Sjöstad in Stockholm, Western Harbor and the newly opened green roof on top of Emporia Mall both in Malmö.

Read more about Ecodistrict Augustenborg:

Top 5 Reasons Why My SDE Internship Rocks

August 1st, 2013 by

The following post is authored by student and Sherwood summer intern, Rachel Gross.

I am currently a rising senior studying Civil Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and I am nearing the end of my 11 week summer internship at Sherwood Design Engineers (SDE). Working for Sherwood has been an amazing experience and these are the top 5 reasons why SDE rocks!

Another intern and I on our project site visit.

  1. Hands-On Experience

From Day One of my internship here at SDE, I was thrown right into real civil engineering projects. After a two-hour meeting with my project manager on the morning of my first day of work, I immediately started work on a utility plan for a UC Santa Barbara residence hall. I worked on this project for most of my first two weeks and in that time I learned how to edit and create drawings in AutoCAD, markup design documents, and make design decisions for a type of project that I had never worked on before. I love the fact that I was integrated into the project so quickly and I got to make real contributions to the design team. I think that one of the advantages of working for a small company is that every person really matters and provides valuable input into the design team.

  1. Corporate Culture and Values

A couple of weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to participate in SDE’s annual strategic planning day. This day was all about setting goals for the future of Sherwood, and through our activities I gained a greater appreciation for SDE’s values and culture as a company.  I was struck by how much my coworkers sincerely wanted to improve the world though sustainable design, innovation, and community involvement, all while maintaining a fun work environment. I was also impressed by how many mentions of the “Sherwood Family” I heard throughout the day. This only reinforced my impression of SDE as a close-knit community of people who supports each other both in and out of the office.

My strategic planning team’s representation of the Sherwood San Francisco office incorporating green design ideas such as green walls, wind power, and a living machine water treatment system.

  1. Cool Projects

Ever since I chose to concentrate on sustainability in school, I have wanted to see what that really translates to in the real world. My internship at Sherwood has been a great way to experience this because I have been exposed to many different projects that explore sustainability in different ways. SDE works on very cutting-edge projects and I have been lucky enough to work on plans for an eco-resort in the Caribbean, a water balance for a tech campus, and LEED ND certification for another campus development. I’m constantly being exposed to new sustainability topics such as urban agriculture and decentralized water treatment. Working at SDE has made me realize how vast “sustainable engineering” is, and I can’t wait to explore the field even further.

This is a site drainage evaluation for a local college campus that I worked on to ensure that natural water flows aren’t disrupted by the project.

  1. Site Visits

Another great part of the internship program at SDE is getting to participate in site visits. A few weeks ago, I got to go to a site under construction in the South Bay area with my fellow SDE intern. We got to walk around the huge construction site with the construction manager, who taught us about a lot of the processes of preparing a site and laying foundations for buildings and infrastructure. It was really interesting to get to see these things first-hand and it gave me a greater appreciation for the complicated issues that surround construction. I found it useful for my design work to have actually seen the site upon which it will be built. I am looking forward to several other site visits this summer in San Francisco and around the Bay Area!

  1. Research

A good chunk of my time at Sherwood this summer has been devoted to working on a research and development project. This project has been a fantastic way to merge my personal interests in green building with furthering knowledge within the company. I have chosen to research The Living Building Challenge and examine how this green building certification system can be approached from a civil engineering perspective. This research has thus far been an eye-opening experience in just how far we can push sustainability in the built environment.

A diagram I created from my research on the Living Building Challenge and the areas most relevant to Civil Engineering.

Overall, my SDE summer internship has been an enormously fun, interesting, impactful, and educational experience. I can’t believe that I only have a few weeks left at this great company!


Boeddeker Park Project- Site Visit

July 19th, 2013 by

The following post is authored by Sherwood summer intern, Alex Milton

The Sherwood Design team, led by project manager Jimmy Galvez, had the opportunity to visit the newly renovated Boeddeker Park construction site, situated in the Tenderloin on the corner of Eddy and Jones Streets, which is due to open in February 2014.

Sherwood gang at the construction site!

Historically, the Tenderloin had no parks between Union square and the Civic Center Plaza. In the 1970’s the Citizens Committee for Open Space lobbied for more open space for the local community. Boeddeker, a one-acre park within walking distance for about 50,000 people, was the first park created. It was one of the most used parks in the City; however it was unfortunately added to the “Hall of Shame” by the Project for Public Spaces due to its uninviting and dangerous design. Before redesign and construction, high fences, multiple levels, hidden corners, and limited recreational amenities created a park that not easily accessible by the public and was a notorious place for drug users and other troubled souls.

The Trust for Public Land, which first initiated the project, has worked closely with the neighborhood residents to come up with a new design for the park. It has taken three years, ten workshops and many community led groups to develop a plan that addresses the needs of an all-ages community that focuses on safety concerns of the local residents and police. The design consists of fitness equipment, a perimeter walking path with ramps instead of stairs, a large lawn, new play equipment for children, and a basketball court. The design also includes green design features such as on site rainwater harvesting to supply a low-flow irrigation system, permeable paving, bioswales, raingardens, sustainable landscaping, and a new energy-efficient clubhouse.

Long-time Tenderloin resident and Boeddeker Park neighbor, Mike Williams. Photo Credit: William Poole

Based on the parks extremely environmentally friendly design, Boeddeker was also selected by SITES, a partnership of the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin and the United States Botanic Garden, to participate in the pilot program to test the nation’s first rating system for sustainable landscape design.

Sherwood, who did all of the civil design work and now is into the construction administration phase of the project, worked alongside architects WRNS Studio on the project. WRNS Studio provides high quality sustainable design for education, healthcare and civic and urban areas and has worked with Sherwood on other park projects including Orange County Great Park, which is almost done with construction.

The new and improved Boedekker Park will be able to meet all of the community’s hopes and needs for a park and gathering space, helping to further uplift the Tenderloin district and ensure San Francisco stays on top as one of the best cities in country for parks. Trust For Public Land. 


Park Rendering
Image Available at www.tpl.org


Sherwood Design Engineers, Ltd. Recognized in PSMJ’s 2013 Circle of Excellence

July 16th, 2013 by

“Over the past 5 years, we have seen the A/E/C industry go through some rough times. Despite economic adversity and drastic changes, it’s even more impressive to rise to the top of our industry, as our Circle of Excellence firms have done. We believe that these firms should be saluted.” -Frank A. Stasiowski, FAIA, CEO/President, PSMJ Resources, Inc.

We are excited to announce that last week PSMJ Resources, Inc. recognized Sherwood as a member of the 2013 Circle of Excellence!

The Circle of Excellence represents the top 20% of participants in PSMJ’s annual A/E Financial Performance Benchmark Survey, which is open to all firms in the industry, regardless of firm type, size or location.

For the first time in Sherwood’s 10 year history we submitted our financial data along with 269 other A/E firms across the United States and Canada.  The firms’ selection highlights accomplishments in areas ranging from operating profit and gross revenue growth rate to staff turnover rate.  SDE prides itself on not only exciting and sustainable projects, but also the ability to be a successful and profitable company to work for.

We welcome you to read PSMJ’s blog about the award and congratulations to all of the other members of the 2013 Circle of Excellence!

SPUR 26th of June, Tactical Ruralism

July 12th, 2013 by
The following post is authored by Sherwood summer intern, Froste Wistrom.
This summer a Swedish guy is in town. I have gotten the opportunity to learn from the staff of Sherwood Design Engineers through a 9 week internship. This spring I completed my second year of the Landscape Engineer program at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) in Alnarp outside of Malmö – on the southwestern tip of Sweden. The university does a lot of research on agricultural efficiency and houses a Landscape Laboratory, which studies vegetation systems, looking at how to combine productive forests and recreational parks. Landscape Architecture, Agronomy, Horticulture, Garden Design are other programs at the university.

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Alnarp Castle

Malmö is known for being at the forefront of sustainability with internationally accredited projects such as the Western Harbor and the eco-city of Augustenborg. The Landscape Engineer program focuses on landscape construction and design, and soil studies, with a main focus on vegetation, horticulture, plant habitat, and vegetation dynamics. Sustainability is interwoven throughout all of our courses

During my first week at Sherwood Design Engineers I attended a SPUR event at their beautiful Urban Center on Mission Street. The topic was Tactical Ruralism and the speakers were well reputed Landscape Architect Thomas Woltz, from Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architecture and Winemaker Ames Morison of Medlock Ames Winery. Thomas Woltz spoke eloquently about the work that the company does, their values, and how they work with ecological restoration through landscape design and engineering.

Nelson Byrd Woltz has done the landscape design for Medlock Ames Winery tasting room gardens. The owners of the winery are determined to take responsibility of their land, through ecological restoration and other responsible practices. Thomas Woltz said that he strives to “make values physical”, by working closely with the client and understanding their principles, making them reality. Only part of the land is used for growing grapes, the rest has been re-planted with native species. Controlled burnings are used to maintain the native grass lands. I the vineyard sheep are brought in to do the weeding. Timing is important; if they arrive too late they might be tempted to eat the delicious vine buds.

Mantenace crew at work, Medlock Ames Winery

NBW has undertaken many other grand and inspiring projects. The most amazing to me is the 3000-acre Orongo Station on the North Island of New Zealand. This part of the country, as many parts of the world, has been badly deforested; many of their native species have been lost, both flora and fauna. The company came up with a plan of how to reforest the area using sheep track pathways in the hillsides, which gave the plants a small ledge where water could gather. In a century the temperate rainforest will be partly restored, however, progress is already apparent.

NBW Reforesting coast line of Orongo, New Zealand

For this project, pioneer species are planted first as they are fast growing but with a shorter life span. Once those species have grown up a bit they will act as nursing trees for other species that need a more protected environment in order to establish themselves. This natural succession is very important to understand if a project like this is to succeed. Nature will find its way, but clever landscape architecture and engineering can help it get there faster. Maintenance is an important aspect to get the vegetation system to work as intended. Thomas said “Artificiality reveals it as a product of intention”, this quote caught my attention because for me restoration projects are done to attempt to recreate the originality of a site. Perhaps you could look at this differently- that through the human footprint the site may be protected in the future.

Sherwood Design Engineers has worked with Nelson Byrd Woltz on several residential and commercial projects; the Hudson Yards in New York and Centennial Park in Nashville are the most current. I intend to learn more about these projects further throughout my time at Sherwood.

I highly recommend the Nelson Byrd Woltz book, Garden Park Community Farm. It is very interesting with beautiful photography. It has nice narratives, which really explain the aims and goals of their projects and how they were realized. I am looking forward to the rest of my summer here in San Francisco at Sherwood and for more SPUR events!