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Kevin Falkerson & Kerrie Lee Cole contribute The Symbiotic Report (June, 2014).  Kevin Falkerson is founder, designer, and principle of SYMBIOS ecotecture: A design/build company focusing on integrating the ‘built’ with the ‘biological,’ with the overall aim of developing a positive symbiosis between human culture, enterprise and the natural environment.  Located in Sonoma County, California, their integrated approach offers design, installation and maintenance services for both residential and commercial vegetative roof projects, specializing in architectural detailing, green roof technologies and landscaping.  "The design of buildings interacts with the world by transforming the natural patterns, energies and life of a place.  Designing with this in mind, our buildings mimic the biodynamic quality of natural systems instead of the typical expression of static opposition.  Natural structures are biodynamic forms.  The natural forces interacting upon a physical body have in part shaped its expression.  Eco-tecture looks to express its form as an adaptation to its locale (site) and its associated environmental forces.  At SYMBIOS, the natural features of the bioregion and local site ecology become a source of inspiration for our designs."

Kevin earned a degree in Ecology from Hampshire College and a Master’s of Architecture degree from Rensselear Polytechnic Institute (RPI).  He  also holds a GRP (Green Roof Professional) accreditation from Green Roofs for Healthy Cities.  He writes an online newsletter entitled ‘News from the Eco-frontier’ and lectures on multiple topics related to living architecture.

Kerrie Lee Cole leads the vegetative building division of SYMBIOS and has gained the accreditation of a GRP - Green Roof Professional.  Her path has always been one associated with living plants.  Initially trained in herbalism followed by horticultural studies and employment in the landscape industry, she naturally gravitated towards working with living vegetative building systems.

email: symbiotic (at)
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The Symbiotic Report


The Living Architecture of Parking,
Part 1

By Kevin Falkerson, GRP & Kerrie Lee Cole, GRP

Parking structures were born out of a pressing obligation to alleviate the problems associated with the exploding automobile population.  Vertical, aboveground garages are frequently realized with a cold-engineered rationalism that has produced forbidding structures that impose themselves upon our urban landscape.

An inner city multi-story parking garage anywhere America.
Source: Google images by Melanie Killinger.

Banal, uninviting, bleak and at worst, brutal appearances of these structures have the functional design sensibility of war bunkers or prison architecture.  The simple frame, homogeneous elevation and visually rudimentary construction of the multi-story parking garage tend to produce an expression of a raw seemingly incomplete building.  A building typology so unforgiving in its prime directive - to efficiently pack away as many cars as possible - its aesthetic impact on human culture had to literally ‘take a back seat.’

It may seem counterintuitive to look towards these monuments to the automobile, which inherently symbolize a destructive force upon life, and consider how they could be reformed into an environmentally responsive and humanistic entity.  Yet, could the integration of vegetative building systems onto their roofs and walls transform these structures in positive ways?  Could the adaptation of living architecture make these ‘ugly ducklings’ blossom into ‘beautiful swans?’

Kaiser Center Garage

Reflection pond atop of Kaiser Center Garage.  Source: Google images.

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Inaugural Column:

Raise Your Glass – Wine Roofs are Here

By Kevin Falkerson, GRP & Kerrie Lee Cole, GRP

Archaeological evidence indicates that wine and human culture stems back to the Neolithic period some 8,000 thousand years ago.  Whether wine is a cultural vice or a fine fellow companion, its production has grown to nearly 30 million tons worldwide per year.  In turn, the colossal industry that has evolved certainly has left its impact upon the environment and the land.

The focus of our introductory Symbiotic Report here on will be to literally look at ‘getting on top’ of the sustainable wine industry.  Meaning, quite literally, covering storage and operation facilities with vegetative living roofs and walls systems and understanding the tangible performance benefits that can be gained.

Sustaining Generations to Come

Italy has a lot to boast when it comes to wine culture.  The country is home to over 2,000 grape varieties, is the largest wine producing country and is one of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world.  Now, they are posed to gain yet another title - the world leader in utilizing green roof technology upon winery facilities.  There have been several projects over the last few years that have integrated ‘living architecture’ into the building program of the new winery facilities.

Notably, the Antinori Winery in the Chianti region has fused together the vineyard, production and tasting facility into one gracefully executed union between nature and culture.  The rooftop is literally an extension of their greater vineyard with the architectural appearance of slipping itself into the hillside with the surgical precision of a well-performed operation.

Antinori Winery in Italy with vineyard rooftops.  Source: Antinori Winery.

The prime driver for these designs has been the functional benefits of improved building performance resulting in significant saving in energy costs.  Building integrated vegetation (BIV) has a powerful temperature stabilization effect upon the indoor environment of the wineries' cold storage facilities.

Antinori Winery - interior of facility with sky opening.  Source: Antinori Winery.


Kevin Falkerson & Kerrie Lee Cole, The Symbiotic Report

Contact Kevin and Kerrie Lee:

symbiotic (at)

The opinions expressed by our Guest Feature writers and editors may not necessarily reflect the beliefs of, and are offered to our readers to simply present individual views and experiences and open a dialogue of further discussion, debate and research.  Enjoy, and if you have a particular comment, please contact the author or send us an email to:


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