Where can you find urban rooftop sophistication that meets a native Tennessee landscape on a rehabilitated condo building? Greenroofs.com’s Greenroof Project of the Week is the Westview Condos in Nashville, Tennessee – a wonderful example of urban renewal by incorporating beautiful and much needed nature on an exclusive, 10-unit residential building in the heart of a bustling city. Originally a corporate office building, the renovated property was converted to high-end, mid-rise condos in 2005.
The first residential greenroof in Nashville, the 8-story structure was redeveloped to provide exclusive and luxurious loft condominiums with spectacular views of downtown. A lobby and commercial space occupy the first floor with indoor parking on the second level, leaving six floors for residences, topped off with a lush vegetated roof used by residents as recreational space.
The eco-friendly project won the 2006 residential award for greenroof design from the USGBC Tennessee chapter.
Developer Ron McClaron of McClaron and Associates chose to replace the previous roof with a greenroof because he considered the Westview a prime location for launching an environmental demonstration project. I met Ron in August, 2003 when he came to visit my first built greenroof project in downtown Atlanta, the 3TEN HauStudio. He was starting research into the possibility of renovating this former Southern Bell building into condos and wanted to pick my brain about costs, plants, etc.
The Nashville roof was in poor condition and as he looked at options, he desired considering greening the roof to take advantage of the environmental advantages and as a means of possibly enhancing the building’s value and marketability. He knew that weight wasn’t a particular consideration in this application since the basic structural support was pre-stressed concrete – the building was designed with the idea that Southern Bell might have desired to add additional floors at some point.
Yet, the process wasn’t as easy as might have been expected, given all the environmental and economic benefits of living roofs:
“…city officials had to be convinced this project’s benefits would outweigh difficult logistics associated with downtown construction and transportation of greenroof building material, and potential fire safety hazards.” ~ Southeast Watershed Forum Case Study
The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) contributed funds in the form of grants in order to use this as a demonstration project of their commitment to sustainability. You must agree that Ron’s original vision for a more sustainable redevelopment was successful – the condos range from 2,300 to 5,00 sf and all ten units were sold quickly. In fact, many homeowners had identified the greenroof as their top reason for buying in The Westview.
The private roof top garden provides a 360 degree vista of Nashville including the State Capitol, and homeowners entertain their guests in four separate sitting areas, including a gazebo, while watching butterflies and listening to birds. They even have a gas grill and wine chiller for comfortable dining al fresco, surrounded by trees, shrubs, grasses, and blooming perennials!
As you may know, Ralph Velasquez is our Sustainable Roofing Editor, but in 2005 he was the Greenroof Consultant for the Westview Condos project as president of his previous company, Integrated Building Technologies (currently he is now Director, Sustainable Technologies Group with Tremco Inc.). FAMOS GmbH greenroofing membranes and two-ply modified bitumen built up system were used, supplied through Building Logics (see more details in the project profile).
The RD Herbert Roofing Company installed the roof system and provided metal edgings and other custom metal products. And the case study on their website adds that “wall flashings were covered with a soy-based reflective coating for aesthetic and environmental reasons.” Another ecological feature is the pavers, which are made of recycled tires. Landscape architectural services were provided by Lose & Associates.
Landscaped with all native southeastern U.S. plants from GroWild, the peaceful retreat includes American Smoketree, Serviceberry, Blueberry, Prairie Dropseed, Little Bluestem and the federally endangered Tennessee Coneflower. Owned by the husband and wife team of Mike Berkley and Terri Barnes, GroWild is a Tennessee plant nursery specializing in native North American plants. GroWild has over 850 species and cultivars of native perennials, wildflowers, trees, shrubs, vines, and grasses.
The growing media from Mr. Natural contains Permatill, an expanded slate, and other rooftop mixtures, provided by Ernie Higgins of ItSaul Natural, with a depth that ranges from 6″ to 30″ . The lightweight “Roof Planting Soil” for intensive greenroofs provides the native plantings all they need for sustained health and growth.
Metro Nashville now has many greenroofs in place, with more planned or on the boards. I haven’t been to Nashville in many years, and would love to see this gorgeous vegetated roof, along with several others here, the next time I’m in the area. You’ll be happy to know that this roof is available for occasional viewing, by appointment only. To schedule a tour of the Westview Condos greenroof, please contact Mike Berkley at GroWild, Inc. at: 615.799.1910 or [email protected].
~ Linda V.