Landscape Architecture: “From the Ground Up”

Being a multi-disciplinary design firm, HagerSmith Design takes a holistic approach to design on all our projects. As architects, landscape architects and interior designers working collectively, we believe a collaborative effort produces better design and more meaningful spaces.

Over the next year, we will be highlighting each discipline, the nature of their craft and some relevant case studies. Like any project, it’s important to look at the logical progression of a project. Whether it’s a new development, an infill project or even a park, it always begins with the site. The first phase of most commercial and residential development projects is site design, and that’s where our landscape architects exercise their craft.

Landscape architects begin each project by assessing existing site conditions and performing a thorough site analysis that eventually becomes the road map for design. The site analysis not only looks at constraints, but more importantly, opportunities in which to capitalize upon. This phase looks at environmental impacts, local zoning regulations, transportation impacts and the end user’s programming needs. The landscape architects then use this as a basis of design. A case study below of the Grifols Office project illustrates how a project is realized from the ground up, beginning with HagerSmith’s landscape architects.

Grifols E750 Office Building, LEED Silver

Clayton, NC

Landscape Architecture

Grifols: From the Ground Up

When Grifols Pharmaceutical was looking to expand their offices at their existing production facility, they came to HagerSmith to design their new office building.  The project began with identifying the correct location for the proposed building on the campus. It was important to the client that this new building be at the heart of the campus and have high visibility to the adjacent highway. The new structure also needed to help rebrand the existing 1980’s campus into something more contemporary.

It was decided that the best location was an existing, underutilized parking lot at the main entrance of the facility. This location not only answered the question of premium visibility and location in the heart of the campus but would also have limited environmental impacts in relation to stormwater and infrastructure.

Since it was a large site, HagerSmith’s landscape architects, in close collaboration with our architects and the client, began looking at multiple site layout schemes that could illustrate how the new building would function and relate to the existing complex. The result was locating the building approximately 80 feet from the existing buildings creating a new façade for the existing, dated 1980’s buildings. It was also positioned for solar orientation for energy optimization and to minimize disruptive impacts to the pharmaceutical plant’s daily operations. The 80-foot corridor that remained in between the new and old buildings created an unexpected placemaking opportunity and a chance to make this facility a more pedestrian friendly workplace. Thus, the Pedestrian Plaza was created.


Through the use of a curvilinear walkway connecting the employee parking lot with the main entrance of the new office building and plant entrance, our landscape architects created a space that invites social interaction, provides a destination, and betters employees’ experiences at work.

Special attention was made to ensure the plaza was an inviting space by utilizing pavers, creating seating areas, adding lighting and providing a lush, but drought-tolerant landscape. Today over 70% of the employees on-site walk through the space every day. The Plaza is used for informal outdoor meetings, large company functions and employee personal use.

Based on the site selection, the use of drought-tolerant plant material, open space areas, charging stations, and a net decrease in stormwater quantity and quality, our landscape architects helped this new building achieve LEED Silver.

Overall this project is a great example of a very successful infill project and showcases the value landscape architects provide in a collaborative design process.

Grifols Project Images

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