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Long Beach Courthouse Parking Garage, Long Beach, Calif.

When a parking garage at Long Beach Courthouse was reconfigured there was a 50-foot-tall, 300-foot-long concrete façade on the north side that also covered 150 feet on the east side and 15 feet on the west side.

When a parking garage at Long Beach Courthouse was reconfigured there was a 50-foot-tall, 300-foot-long concrete façade on the north side that also covered 150 feet on the east side and 15 feet on the west side. AECOM was the architecture firm and engineer of record for the project. Brian Turner, AECOM associate architect and on-site representative, says his firm wanted to use the long side of the garage where there were no openings for entries and exits for a green screen that would soften the concrete surface. "It added character and life to a façade that would have been standard concrete lines," he explains.

Entries and exits were relocated on the garage, and new stair towers, elevators and access points were constructed. The renovated garage houses 990 parking spaces and has improved vehicle circulation. One project objective was to soften the hard lines of a utilitarian structure and unify it with its companion project, the new courthouse across the street, and the surrounding area. McNICHOLS Co.'s ECO-MESH, a wire mesh system comprised of a modular framework grid, was wall mounted to the exterior to create a grow space for various plants and vines.

Scott Lawson, project executive with Clark Design-Build of California Inc., the design-builder for the project, says the wire mesh plant trellis added an architectural element not present on the courthouse, but it visually connects the two structures in a way that softens it and blends it into the community.

Cal State Steel Corp. installed the screen, which is comprised of 216 McNICHOLS ECOMESH galvannealed steel panels primarily 6 feet wide and 12 to 14 feet long. The panels have 3-inch, 16-gauge steel frames and were field painted with a silver finish. The panels are secured to each other with approximately six metal clips per panel and the framed mesh sits approximately 4 1/2 inches from the concrete structure. The plant climbing surface is two layers of 2-inch mesh, 0.12-inch, 11-gauge-thick inter-crimp weave. The bridge wire that runs horizontally between the front and back layers of mesh is 0.105-inch-thick and is spaced at 18 inches on-center.

Additionally, 61 planks of MCNICHOLS GRATE-LOCK bolted together provide security at an open section on the street. GRATE-LOCK may be used for walking surfaces in industrial areas or installed vertically as a security screen.

The plantings, supplied and installed by Pierre Landscaping, included Blood Red Trumpet Vine and Carolina Jasmine. The plantings were fully matured with a variety of vines within 18 months and some vines reach 50 feet in height.

The courthouse and retrofitted parking structure were part of a $340 million project that spans two blocks in the downtown area. It included the parking garage and replacing the 320,000-square-foot courthouse with a new 531,000-square-foot building named Governor George Deukmejian Courthouse for California's former governor. The garage was completed in 2012 and the courthouse was completed in August 2013. The project was funded by a public and private partnership with Long Beach Judicial Partners and the owner, California Judicial Council's Administrative Office of the Courts.

Owner: California Judicial Council's Administrative Office of the Courts, San Francisco

Developer: Long Beach Judicial Partners, Long Beach

Design-builder: Clark Design-Build of California Inc., Irvine, Calif.

Architect/engineer of record: AECOM, Los Angeles

Installer: Cal State Steel Corp., Compton, Calif.

Landscape supplier/installer: Pierre Landscaping, Monrovia, Calif.

Metal mesh: McNICHOLS Co., Tampa, Fla., www.mcnichols.com