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5 Unique Landscape Projects Supported by Organic-Lock

One of our most satisfying experiences as a company is working with landscape architects and construction companies to integrate Organic-Lock into their upcoming project. We’ve been fortunate to have our environmentally-friendly, erosion-resistant aggregate binder integrated into projects all over the world, from Shanghai Disney to the Brooklyn Bridge Park all the way to Toronto City Hall in Canada. 

One of the reasons why we’re so proud of our patented organic binder is because it offers so many possibilities for a natural-looking surface that seamlessly integrates into a variety of landscapes. Whether you’re looking to carve a new path through a rustic wooded environment, or create an oasis of green space in the middle of a bustling city, Organic-Lock can be incorporated into many unique and creative projects. 

Becoming More Conscious of Pedestrian Spaces

Our product’s versatility is especially important as our use of public space has become a critical public safety issue. The rise of COVID-19 has made us extremely conscious of how we interact in public spaces, with many cities closing streets to cars to allow more space for socially distant foot traffic. It remains to be seen how traditionally car-focused city and suburban spaces can be transformed into more multimodal environments. 

Along with supporting a diversity of transportation options, architects and city planners should be conscious of the environmental effects associated with traditional, car-focused surfaces like concrete or asphalt. These impervious surfaces irrevocably change the local watershed, negatively affect water quality, and increase the frequency of disastrous storm flows and floods. 

Creative and Eco-Friendly Organic-Lock Projects 

We’re thankful to be at the forefront of innovations that not only support, but also improve the environment. Today, we’re going to celebrate the ingenuity of the architects and contractors who have collaborated on recent projects featuring Organic-Lock, and show you what qualities and attributes they found most valuable. 

Richard G. Lugar Plaza 

Indianapolis City Plaza, Indiana

Richard G. Lugar Plaza was a project taken on by Rundell Ernstberger Associates, an interdisciplinary firm providing urban design, landscape architecture, and planning services. Their goal was to transform 1.94 acres of underused space outside the building that houses the governments of Indianapolis and Marion County, Indiana. 

Using antique rose marble aggregate from Kafka Granite with Organic-Lock as a binder, the design team was able to ensure they had an attractive, dual-use surface for both foot and bike traffic. The finalized plaza space features dozens of metal café tables and chairs, which sit level thanks to the Organic-Lock blended throughout the aggregate. 

The permeability of the blended aggregate allows for additional water flow down to the rooting systems of the trees that are planted into the ground within the plaza. As the trees grow, they’ll continue to be supported by this rich flow of water so that they can offer shade to visitors for years to come. 

Kenyon College Middle Path 

When designers from Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA) were asked to take on the master plan for an updated Middle Path at Kenyon College, they learned firsthand the trials associated with stabilizing granite paths. Middle Path is 3,600 feet long, and serves as the campus’s central artery. The architects were challenged to come up with a design that replicated the look and pleasingly loose and crunchy feel of the original river stone aggregate, without any of the path’s long-standing issues, such as frequent wash outs that left behind potholes, puddles, mud, and ice. 

After several months of trials and experiments with different forms of decomposed granite aggregate, stabilizers, and prehydration levels, the team found a solution. A custom blended aggregate was mixed with Organic-Lock and prehydrated to 14%, then compacted with a one-ton roller. This produced an ideal surface. The updated pathway looks visually similar to the previous incarnation, and provides an accessible surface that is easily cleared of debris, snow, and other hazards. 

Oxford Basin in Marina Del Rey 

Marina Del Ray - Permable Pathway

In addition to stabilizing granite and other aggregate material, Organic-Lock has tangible benefits for watershed management, as we saw in the 2016 Oxford Basin renovation in Marina Del Rey. Originally constructed in 1959, this 10.7-acre plot of land served as a flood control retention facility, providing flood risk management to the newly built community. 

Before the renovation, sediment from urban runoff had polluted the soil and was affecting the viability of the ecosystem. Plants were rotting due to poor water circulation and inferior water quality. This reduced flow and resulting extreme temperatures were especially harmful to the aquatic ecosystem. 

As part of the $14.5 million renovation effort, the Los Angeles County Department of Works removed over 300 cubic yards of polluted soil, and shaped the lagoon with a central vegetated circulation berm. A new path was installed surrounding the lagoon, which was constructed from aggregate mixed with Organic-Lock. 

Organic-Lock binder was a superior choice for this particular pedestrian pathway because not only does it offer a stabilized surface, it also allows for the easy flow of water from the top of the path through to the water table. This water easily flows into the lagoon, where it joins a mixture of ground water, tidal inflow, and other runoff to support more than 700 native trees and 45,000 native plants. Public officials in Marina Del Rey saw firsthand how poorly draining water can affect their urban ecosystem. Using Organic-Lock helps ensure they can avoid this issue in the future.  

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Courtyard

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Beyond parks and other green spaces, Organic-Lock can be used to support the creation of communal outdoor spaces in the city. In a small corridor on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) campus in Boston, a green oasis was installed in 2018. This area was designed using a combination of brick pathways surrounding stabilized stonedust blended with Organic-Lock. 

In this neat and orderly courtyard, designers have planted dozens of trees into the stabilized stonedust. This mixture offers a safe and ADA-compliant accessible route between campus buildings, while also serving as a viable growing environment for medium-sized trees. 

The architects of this project combined 75% “Blue” and 25% “Nickel” stonedust to create an attractive surface that contrasts well with the pale yellow brick of the surrounding buildings. Unlike paths made from concrete, this Organic-Lock stabilized aggregate pedestrian pathway is fully permeable, while still discouraging weeds and cracks from springing up and weakening the surface.

Walden Pond Visitors Center 

Walden Pond

Walden Pond has a storied history as the serene and isolated location where Henry David Thoreau wrote his seminal book, Walden; or, Life in the Woods. The great American author moved out to land overlooking Walden Pond in 1845, and built a small cabin which he lived in for two years, two months, and two days. The cabin’s location now lies within Walden Pond State Reservation in Concord, Massachusetts. Although the cabin has long since decayed, there are posts marking the original site, as well as a replica cabin and Visitor Center. 

Prior to 2016, there was no Visitor Center on site, although the park was regularly seeing more than 500,000 visitors per year. Since Thoreau and his work were so critical to the American conservation movement, the architects knew that this project had to fit with those values. The building itself used locally sourced wood harvested by members of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, and the final product is the first LEED-certified building in the department’s extensive portfolio. 

The building was also designed with accessibility in mind, which is why the designers chose a stabilized stonedust mix combined with Organic-Lock for their sidewalk and pedestrian walkways. This ensures that groundwater is able to pass freely through the aggregate material, which filters out toxins that could harm the delicate pond water and surrounding ecosystem.

Why Choose Organic-Lock 

Many architects and contractors have successfully used Organic-Lock at different scales, with projects ranging from pedestrian pathways in urban environments to walking and hiking trails in historic and ecologically significant parks. 

In addition to being water-permeable, the Organic-Lock binder activates quickly, and resists erosion better than most other commercial binders on the market today. It can also support alteration and maintenance, as it can be wetted down, broken up, and simply reinstalled back into its original configuration once the work is complete. 


Learn more at www.organic-lock.com