Rosetta Airport Retaining Walls Inspired By Wings
Halifax, Nova Scotia

Project Details

Vollick Mckee Petersmann And Associates Limited / Dexter Construction
Halifax, Nova Scotia
Project Year

Halifax Airport used Rosetta Outcropping to keep their architectural style and direct pedestrian traffic.


When the Halifax Stanfield International Airport was building a new parking garage, they undertook a major landscaping initiative as well. A steep grade separated the terminal and the new parking garage, and the landscape architects designing the project needed a way to improve the aesthetics of the slope while also directing pedestrian flow in an inconspicuous way.

The airport's terminal and new parking garage incorporated many architectural elements that carried the aerodynamic look of a plane's wing. The landscape architects wanted to incorporate those same elements into the new landscape. To create the right aesthetic, "we were looking for a more natural retaining wall product that didn't look manufactured and didn't look modern," explained James McKee, Principle Landscape Architect of Vollick McKee Petersmann and Associates Limited.


"The technical goal of the project was to address a steeply sloping bank in an attractive manner and to use a product that would be reflective of Nova Scotia's existing natural rock outcrops. We looked at several different retaining wall materials, but Rosetta products caught our eye-the way they went together, the variety of blocks, and the variety of ways they could be used," McKee said.

Landscape architects from Vollick McKee Petersmann and Associates Limited designed a total of 52 separate Rosetta Outcropping Collection walls in a series of angles to pick up on the architectural elements in the airport buildings. The Rosetta walls throughout the project didn't have straight sections of wall or traditionally curved sections. "We were trying to build retaining walls without them looking like retaining walls," McKee explained.

The design of the Rosetta walls played into the aeronautical theme of the airport complex well. Rosetta Outcropping walls have the ability to build elegant curves or 90 degree corners to accommodate almost any design. Twelve size units and 24 stone textures gave the landscape architects flexibility to design each wall a little bit differently, creating an organic, natural feel throughout the project.

"As you drive into the parking garage, the canopy over you is actually shaped like the wing of a plane, even though you don't really notice it. That same theme is repeated throughout the airport so we repeated it in the landscape as well," McKee said.

The landscape architects also designed the Rosetta walls to achieve their goal of directing pedestrian traffic in a subtle way. "We used the walls to create planting beds to encourage people to keep off the grass, without pedestrians knowing," McKee said. "If we just had grass, people would be walking across these lawns and going where we didn't want them to go."

All 52 of the walls on site were designed as gravity structures. The tallest wall stood approximately 4-feet (1.2-meters) tall, but most of the walls were between 2-feet (0.6-meters) and 3-feet (0.9-meters) tall.


From a production standpoint, the project had a very tight schedule. To deliver blocks on time, Quality Concrete had to rent extra Rosetta forms and double cast. In total, the project used 8,800 square feet (817.5 square meters) of Rosetta Outcropping walls and took about two months to complete.

Rosetta walls not only improved the aesthetics of the Halifax Airport, but also helped keep pedestrians safe. With Rosetta, you can create stunning, functional landscapes that will stand the test of time.


Project: Halifax Airport Landscaping
Customer: Halifax Stanfield International Airport
Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Manufacturer: Quality Concrete
Landscape Architect: Vollick Mckee Petersmann And Associates Limited
Installer: Dexter Construction
Year: 2009
Case: 011 - Halifax Airport

Products and Design Files

Project Resource Files

Hardscape Collection
Halifax Airport Landscaping