Travels in Landscape Architecture
By Linda S. Velazquez, ASLA Associate, LEED AP, Greenroofs.com
All photos by Linda S. Velazquez and Kelly Luckett, unless otherwise
My husband, Aramis,
and I had an opportunity to revisit this beautiful area of southern Germany
in September when we attended the International Green Roof Congress
Green Roof Association
- Deutscher Dachgärtner Verband e.V.,
the two-day event was hosted by
the German landscaping, roofing and environmental
lobby groups BGL
- Bundesverband Garten-, Landschafts- und Sportplatzbau e. V.;
ELCA (European Landscape
ZVDH - Zentralverband
des deutschen Dachdeckerhandwerks;
B.A.U.M. - Bundesdeutscher
Arbeitskreis für Umweltbewusstes Management e.V.; and the
FLL - Forschungs-gesellschaft
Landschaftsentwicklung Landschaftsbau e.V. (Landscape Development and
Landscape Construction Research Society). The first International
Green Roof Congress was sponsored by
and by all accounts the International Green Roof Congress (IGRC) was a huge
The Congress was presented
in German, English and Japanese, and the 200 attendees were all fitted with
headpieces for simultaneous translation into the language of our choice,
giving the appearance of a green-minded United Nations assembly. We
were all also given a 176-page Conference Transcript for reference. So the
Congress was truly international, with representatives from almost 20 countries.
Besides Germany, we made friends from South Korea, Peru, Mexico, Belgium,
Singapore, Greece, Macedonia, Ireland, Spain, Japan, the Netherlands, and
more. Fellow attendees from the U.S. and Canada included Janet Faust
Kelly Luckett of
Roof Blocks and
Roof Products; Peter Philippi of
Roof Service; Bob Berghage of Penn State; Ed Jarger of
Randy Sharp of Verdir Systems; and Kerry Ross of Studio T. Design.
We encountered several UK people we knew from previous conferences, including
Nigel Dunnett from the University of Sheffield and Alun Tarr of Blackdown
Everyone in attendance
was extremely impressed with the organizers' very professional and informative
proceedings, and Heidi Eckert of ZinCo and Wolfgang Ansel of the International
Green Roof Association were on hand to make sure everything ran smoothly.
The charming medieval City of Nuertingen's "K3N" offered spacious
and generous facilities with courteous staff - the three K's in German stand
for Art, Culture and Congress, and N stands for the City of Nuertingen.
Nuertingen's Mayor Otmar
Heirich proudly welcomed us to their state of the art Congress facility,
serving as a platform for the city's 40,000 citizens to "support volunteerism
and community commitment." The importance of greenroofs were recognized
early here, with several thousand square meters constructed within Nuertingen
(approximately 8,000 m²). In fact, the construction plans for all
new buildings must include calculations for future greenroofs.
Of course, for us the
most fun to be had was found at the two lovely and lively buffet dinner
get togethers and the Green Roof Tour (more on that to follow), but the
real reason for travelling to Germany was to hear what the speakers had
to share about Why Green Roofs, Science and Research, Green Roof Technique,
and Green Architecture Worldwide. Aart Veerman, IGRA President
from Holland, Ulrich Schäfer of ZinCo, offered more opening remarks and
greetings. (Skip to photos). Following
are only some highlights of the various IGRC presentations, as they were
too numerous to list them all here:
Professor A. Schmidt,
President of the FLL - Over the last
25 years, the FLL has promoted greenroofs as sustainable design. A
brief history pursued - in 1979, the FLL started a set of rules and norms
for greenroofs; in 1980 the first set was published, revised in 1984; root
barrier and resistance testing were added for extensive greenroofs on both
flat and sloped roofs; in 1990 the Guidelines for Planning, Construction,
Installation and Maintenance was published; by 1995 it was revised and expanded
to include information pertaining to drainage layers, and was the first
edition available in English; in 2002 the latest release was published,
now also available in English and sold at the Congress entitled "Guideline
for the Planning, Execution and Upkeep of Green-Roof Sites." (We bought
Professor Schmidt added
that 30% of all German municipalities support greenroofs. Many
municipalities in Germany use greenroofs as "compensational greenspace,"
with 70% currently offering direct subsidies. He stated that we need
a set of international guidelines and measures and new strategies to convince
Dr. Franz Alt, Editor
and Solar Expert - This particular presentation was the most "eco-politically"
charged, but still offered a great perspective on the necessity and opportunities
to combine the technologies of greenroofs and solar energy.
Prof. Dr. Maximilian
Gege, CEO of B.A.U.M. - Serious global climatic changes can only be
avoided by stringently reducing greenhouse gas emissions and utilizing renewal
energy strategies, including solar and wind power. Innovative energy savings
technologies should involve "the thermally insulating green roof build-up."
Dr. Bettina Menne, WHO (World Health Organisation)
Europe, European Centre for Environment and Health Medical Officer -
The medical doctor explained some of the reasons why 14,800 died during
the horrific 2003 French heat wave and over 25,000 more in other parts of
Europe, and other health impacts. Dr. Menne cited preventative measures
and a need for international collaboration for design solutions to combat
the heat as well as economic and political changes.
Klaus-Jürgen Evert, Dept. of Garden and
Cemetery, City of Stuttgart - Greenroofs should be realized as the architectural
response to the managing and harvesting of rainwater. Aesthetically, The
City of Stuttgart has established pioneering efforts to support municipal
programs to implement a large number of greenroofs. Measures have been in
place since the mid-eighties to firmly promote greenroofs, including code
requirements, direct financial support, greenroof awards, and landscaping
of municipal buildings.
For example, the "Weiler Park" industrial area, about 24 ha northwest of
Stuttgart, made greenroofs required on all flat roofs. The private sector
produced 358 green roof projects with approximately 50,000 m² receiving
local authority grants within the last few years.
Presenting but but not cited here: Dr.
Paolo Abram, Italian Green Roof Association (A.I.VE.P.); Klaus W. König, Architect, member of the
"fbr" board (German Association of Rainwater and Grey Water Reuse); James
Van Zee of the Northern Virginia Regional Commission.
Science and Research
Prof. Gilbert Lösken, Department of Landscape
Architecture and Environmental Development, University of Hannover, and
head of the FLL
Green Roof Task Force
- The FLL has been the neutral platform for lively discussions for the
past 25 years and has played a decisive role in fixing standards for greenroof
technology in Germany. The FLL offers guidelines, not norms such as ISO
or DIN and therefore these can be changed quickly as research dictates.
Werner Küsters, BGL and ELCA - Mr.
Küsters quotes the architect Hundertwasser as saying "It is your duty to
do justice to Nature." Interdisciplinary efforts are needed to build well
planned greenroofs, and the best way to promote them is with high quality
projects. Greenroof design, therefore, is not for amateurs. We should be
specialists to design greenroofs, and the field should not be wide open.
Which profession can carry out this work? Landscape Architects.
Tassilo Schwarz, Bavarian Institute for
Viticulture and Horticulture, Veitshöchheim - Successful plant communities
for greenroofs are those that must face extreme environmental conditions,
especially for those with very thin substrates, like those found in crevices
and rocks, dry meadows, edges of woods, and steppes. Bavaria has had over
25 years of experience with extensive greenroofs regarding plant material
and has found many natural plants and plant communities within Germany to
provide a rich selection pool. For example, Carex humilus has 180 different
species tested there.
Dr. Nigel Dunnett, University of Sheffield - Nigel described "Options
and Constraints for Plant Use on Green Roofs in the UK." Most recent greenroofs
here have not only been extensive, but the imported German-style sedum greenroofs,
and he believes there is much opportunity to further promote different systems
to satisfy a larger ecological need. The unique climatic conditions within
the UK was examined, and a call was made to diversify both in the greenroof
systems chosen and the plant communities offered. Dr. Dunnett also stated
that moderate stress promotes greater plant diversity, with the stress related
to the substrate depth.
Prof. Dr. Manfred Köhler, Landscape Architect,
BDLA, University of Applied Sciences, Neubrandenburg - "Green Roofs
are relevant to cool down inner city surfaces. This effect shall be explained
by the measurements of the storage capacity, run-off, evaporation, interception
rates and climate parameters," (2004 International Green Roof Congress Transcript).
Dr. David J. Beattie,
Director of the Center for Green Roof Research at the Pennsylvania State
University - Dave started off with his famous Rotweiler joke,
and proceeded from there to present a very lively and informative talk.
Dr. Dave stated that in Germany greenroofs cost approximately $40-60/m²
while in the u.s. the range is closer to $100-300/m². He advocates educating
greenroof professionals and developing standards for greenroof installation
in North America.
Presenting but but not cited in this session: Prof. Dr. Stephan Roth-Kleyer,
Director of the Institute for Landscape Construction at the Geisenheim Research
Facility and lecturer at the University of Applied Sciences in Wiesbaden;
Prof. Dr. Klaus Neumann, Associate Professor for Landscape Conservation
at the University of Applied Sciences in Berlin, Landscape Architect, BDLA
and Vice President of the FLL; Martin Jauch, Scientific Assistant at the
Research Institute for Horticulture in Weihenstephan.
Green Roof Techniques
Lecturer at the Roofing Vocational School in Mayen, member of the FLL Green
Roof Task Force - Mr. Michels spoke about the various stress of waterproofing,
root resistant waterproofing and the technical features necessary for professional
installation. FLL by-laws and rules address issues of fire, wind, and uplift
as well as energy savings and the prevention of accidents.
Roland Appl, Technical
Director of ZinCo GmbH, member of the FLL Green Roof Task Force - Mr.
Appl spoke about the importance of adhering to the time tested recommendations
of the FLL, and that although each project is unique, certain layers are
always required. General layering was discussed as well as specifics.
For example, he added that 90% of German waterproofing contains root resistance.
Quality bonding of seams is essential to prevent lateral root growth. A
separation layer is important for physical stress, at a minimum of 300 g.
Hans-Jörg Kiesewetter, Green roof Contractor, Pro-Natur - As a hands-on
greenroof designer and contractor, Hans-Jörg eloquently addressed many questions
of scheduling and logistics during the planning and installation stages.
He talked about the transfer of materials to the site and the roof, including
substrate delivery methods and costs.
Bernd W. Krupka,
Landscape Architect and Green Roof Surveyor, former leader of the FLL working
group "green roofs," author - Mr. Krupka is dedicated to the research
and development of greenroofs and is a professional expert court witness
in this field. "The knowledge of the potential sources of failure and the
consequent observances of guidelines and instruction helps to avoid defects
and damages on green roofs" (2004 International Green Roof Congress Transcript).
Since 1992 we can analyze the past mistakes in terms of loads, material
handling, wind uplift, root and rhizome resistance and protection, wind/water
erosion, insufficient planting, poor maintenance and much more.
Green Architecture Worldwide
Daniel Roehr, Landscape Architect - Mr. Roehr spoke about The DaimlerChrysler
Project at the Potsdamer Platz in Berlin, and how greenroofs and modern
rainwater recycling systems are no longer mutually exclusive technologies.
The office Dreiseitl and its involvement with the masterplan and layout
was greatly discussed.
Maria José Barrio, Product Manager Green Roofs, Madrid - Soon to
be the largest greenroof in the world, the "Banco Santander Central Hispano"
Financial District in Madrid, the extensive area will cover 165 hectares
and offer 100,000 m² of office space. The live, play, work development is
designed to create a welcoming atmosphere and to become an asset for employees
and clients alike.
Susan K. Weiler, ASLA, Landscape Architect
with Olin Partnership, lecturer at the Temple University and the University
of Pennsylvania - Susan stated that her company, Olin Partnership, strived
not to recreate natural landscapes, but evoke them in their designs. Such
was the case with the Church of Latter-Day Saints Conference Center in Salt
Lake City, UT, a massive, exciting and highly intensive greenroof. Nearly
1,300 trees, 27,000 shrubs, 36,000 bulbs and 800 vines were planted by over
a thousand volunteers.
Tsuneo Tajima, Tajima Roofing - This
was one of the most lively presentations as Mr. Tajima spoke in Japanese,
which was translated into German by his associate, and then into English
via the headphones. So his jokes had a distinct delayed reaction from
the crowd, which made it even more humorous! Since 1990 Tajima Roofing has
been designing greenroofs in Japan, and the evolution of concepts, systems
and designs was presented.
Steve Skinner, American Hydrotech -
Steve spoke about the intensive greenroof at the Schwab Rehabilitation
Hospital in Chicago, IL, and how it creates an oasis of wellness for its
patients. Horticultural therapy was discussed at length, and how the design
of this hospital offers a respite to severe victims, helping to heal physical,
spiritual and emotional trauma.
Ho Wan Weng, Managing Director, ZinCo Singapore - Increasing emphasis
on greenspaces, including rooftops, is becoming more important in Singapore,
and insights were offered regarding experiences gained and lessons learned
with the first government extensive greenroof project, or "Skyrise Garden"
Presenting but but not cited in this session:
Aart Veerman, Commercial Director of Van der Tol b.v., President of the
Dutch Green Roofs and Facades Association (DGS) (greenroofs in the Netherlands);
Behnisch, Behnisch & Partner Architecture Firm (Genzyme Center in Cambridge,
MA); Angela Beck-Møller, author (greenroofs in Denmark); Ian Johnston, Alumasc
National Business Manager (greenroofs in the UK).
Time for Interacting with Each Other
All the food and beverages were great, with
a wide selection of both, including appetizers and snacks. Here was
a great opportunity to relax and have some fun interacting with other greenroof
people. I didn't make it all around the room to take pictures of everyone,
but below are some photos of various tables.
The ZinCo Green Roof Tour
On September 16 we opted for the ZinCo Green
Roof Tour, while many associates went to the GaLaBau - the International
Trade Show for Urban Green and Open Spaces - in Nuremberg. Around
850 exhibitors presented their latest products and services for the horticulture
and landscape gardening sector as well as for the design of greenroofs -
see Janet Faust's Guest Feature contribution this month about the GaLaBau
There was not a single empty seat on the
huge comfortable tour bus, and in fact some people said they had traveled
half way around the world specifically for this tour of exciting projects.
Our host for the day was Roland Appl of ZinCo, and a hearty German lunch
was included, along with our selection of beer.
First stop: "Hundertwasserhaus
Plochingen" - the Hundertwasser Multi-Family Development - Situated
within a lovely southern Germany-style live-work-play development, the architect
Hundertwasser designed this 10-year old Gaudi-inspired private lush green
courtyard intensive greenroof located over a supermarket. Approximately
50 greenroofs occupy the colorful, wavy, very organically designed and tiled
wavy buildings and interior spaces, including the smallest over a doorway
at just two m².
The charming pedestrian-friendly village itself is a mixture of architectural
styles, and just as "green" as the Hundertwasserhaus, but in different ways,
including innovative drainage channels, fountains, green poles, green walls
and flowering baskets and containers everywhere. The Hundertwasserhaus was
definitely a "must see" experience.
"Hundertwasserhaus Plochingen" Gallery:
"MAG-Galerien" in Geislingen - This
three-year old 8,000 m² green rooftop over a private shopping mall or gallery
has been transformed into a public park open to all the adjoining neighbors.
The MAG contains a playground with sandbox, a basketball court, walkways
and trellises, On the top level, approximately 5,400 m² are intensive greenroof
areas and 2,600 m² are extensive, and the two are separated by a chain link
fence. Two more separate extensive greenroofs wind down the ramp to access
the shopping area below.
The original idea for the top level extensive area was for it to be a test
area of sorts, but it has actually received no monitoring nor maintenance.
In fact, it had to be hydroseeded twice because initially it did not receive
any irrigation. The intensive area, on the other hand, is highly maintained
with its plush lawn and beautiful perennial beds, and is irrigated. Although
city residents use the new "city park," it does not receive any public assistance
for its maintenance.
Photovoltaic Panels atop Schule Unterensingen,
Germany; Photo Source: ZinCo
Schule Unterensingen - 200 solar
panels and an extensive greenroof grace the top roof of this large school
in Unterensingen. This is ZinCo's first project combining the two
green technologies, completed in 2002.
The panels power enough electricity for the entire school. The panel bases
are secured directly to the specially designed drainage board.
The school was quite impressive in that every building and covered walkway
was covered in extensive greenroofs - easily over ten separate ones.
"Schule Unterensingen" Gallery:
ZinCo Dachgarten - ZinCo International's
headquarters is quite impressive in that it covers a very large area, and
every single building on the campus is greened, with approximately 12 extensive
greenroofs dating from the 1970's and the one new highly stylized intensive
Completed a year ago in September 2003, the intensive greenroof atop the
headquarter penthouse conference room did not require a new membrane for
the green installation; ZinCo only replaced the previous greenroof build-up
to accommodate the new design. Lighted wood walkways meander around turf,
lovely evergreen and flowering shrub and perennial beds (irrigated, of course),
a water fountain, and a covered seating area offers a cool place to sit
outside and chat with clients or just enjoy the view.
A very large extensive test garden greenroof abuts this new expansive space.
Consisting of two separate areas, these roofs are about 20 and 27 years
old, and ZinCo uses these roofs to test for plant material, different growth
media types and depths, and waterproofing and other system components.
"ZinCo Dachgarten" Gallery:
"Römerpark-Museum" in Köngen - The
futuristic design of this museum housing information and artifacts of Roman
influence in the area has a feeling of both grounding itself to Earth and
positioning itself to take off. Incredibly, the roofs also sport a 20° slope.
Cables run the length of the roof line so that workmen can attach themselves
during periodic maintenance checks, and the edges are weighted down with
medium sized pebbles.
Although we were
in Stuttgart specifically to hear all about German and other European industry
happenings and participate in the Green Roof Tour or the GaLaBau 2004, I
especially delighted at all the "random" or accidental sightings of greenroofs
and green walls at every turn on our way to the Congress or on the bus tour.
For example, along
the Green Roof Tour Roland pointed out the highly visible 30-year old grass
roofs in Überkinger, situated in a valley; the one-year old "Rasthause Gruibingen"
barrel-shaped restaurant greenroof; and an 8,000 m² sedum and grass greenroof
atop the "Kompostwerk" - the local compost factory. Unfortunately, we were
going too fast to take any photos!
We also had a chance
to spend a day in lovely Stuttgart and do some sightseeing; if you
are interested in photos, see the Stuttgart Gallery below.
I'll bet Stuttgart
area residents take these light poles, carports, garages, factories, restaurants,
marketplaces and the like for granted, with greenroof architecture pretty
much being ensconced here in everyday life. Wouldn't it be great if
we could all say the same? International venues such as the
International Green Roof Congress can only help to accomplish this
by inspiring the rest of the world to visit new places and new ways of looking
at things, and then coming home to promote the same type of sustainable
development in our own cities and neighborhoods. I think information
sharing and collaboration is the key to a true healthy community of design,
respect, and understanding. In 1989, the real first Green Roof Congress
was held here, and 15 years later in 2004 this International Congress was
held - talks are underway to consider holding the second International Green
Roof Congress in Basel, Switzerland.
If you are interested in reading more about Stuttgart area greenroof activity,
- Sky Gardens column about Stuttgart,
To learn more about the International Green Roof Congress, please visit
www.greenroofworld.com; to read
more about ZinCo International, visit http://www.zinco.de/.
Linda is founder and publisher of Greenroofs.com,
a greenroof design consultant, and has been a Delta Air Lines international
flight attendant since 1979. She went back to school and received
her Bachelor’s of Landscape Architecture degree from the University of Georgia
in 2000. Linda recently received her LEED™ Accredited Professional
designation, and welcomes your comments; contact her at:
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