GPW: Growing Up (131 Queen Street)

May 4, 2011 at 4:11 pm Project of the Week: 5/2/11
Growing Up (131 Queen Street)

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
2,906 sf. Greenroof

Year: 2010
Owner: Private
Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Building Type: Commercial
Type: Extensive, Test/Research
System: Custom
Size: 2,906 sq.ft.  
Slope: 1%
Access: Accessible, By Appointment

Project Description & Details

Melbourne’s skyline is now a little greener with the completion of the world’s first fully-funded, competition-designed, retrofitted green roof.  The new Growing Up project was launched to retrofit a green roof to a CBD (Central Business District) building, and demonstrates the environmental and social benefits of green roofs on city buildings.

BENT Architecture won the design competition, and the 10-story office building at 131 Queen Street was chosen.  The design revolves around the central landscaped hill, from where the circulation zone expands and contracts to create a number of vegetated gathering spaces of varying scales and orientations.  Traditional garden structures, such as a folly, gazebo, and terracing, create diversity along the journey.  Growing Up (131 Queen Street) is home to over 1,300 predominantly indigenous, drought-tolerant plants.  University of Melbourne scientists assisted with the plant and growing media selection; KHD Landscape Engineering Solutions installed Elmich drainage and soil containment materials. Growing Up won the Melbourne Design Award for Commercial Architecture for 2010.

Designers/Manufacturers of Record

Architect and Greenroof Design: BENT Architecture
Project Manager: Better Projects
Waterproofing Contractor: Polyseal Group
Growing Media: Debco
Soil Blower: We Blow
Drainage: Elmich Versicell
Drainage and Growing Media Installation: KHD Landscape Engineering Solutions

Sponsored by Melbourne Water, Sustainability Victoria, VicUrban, City of Melbourne, and Australia Post, the Growing Up Competition was the initiative of the Committee for Melbourne’s Future Focus Group.  Landscape architects and architects were asked to design greenroofs for one or more of three short listed buildings, and the most sustainable and innovative greenroof design would then come to life on the winning building: 131 Queen Street – by the winning firm: BENT Architecture.  They also held a student competition, and the winning entry received $2,000 (Australian).
“A principle objective of “˜Growing Up’ was to demonstrate that the design challenges associated with retrofitting a green roof are not insurmountable and that the benefits that green roofs provide to the environment and building owners alike far outweigh the challenges associated with their construction.”    ~  Melbourne Design Awards 2010

Located in the commercial/financial area of Melbourne’s CBD, Growing Up is owned by an Owners’ Corporation comprising commercial occupancies.  The rooftop is deemed a garden oasis within the city, drawing upon considerable financial and in-kind industry support and designed as a best-practice example of how public and private organizations can partner with industry, business, and research institutions to create innovative solutions, such as vegetated roofs, to combat climate change.

The greenroof isn’t the only environmentally friendly feature – many of the building materials are recycled, including glass and river pebbles for the permeable paving, timber cladding for the planter beds, expanded polystyrene formwork for the hill, and salvaged tiles for the seating.  Rainwater is harvested from adjacent roof structures and gravity fed to water cisterns at roof level.  Permeable paving and drainage systems filter and reduce stormwater flows into the broader storm water network.

And, Growing Up includes a dedicated research area for Melbourne University scientists to investigate plant species and substrates most suitable for city’s unique climate.  You can see the short and fun video “The start of GREEN ROOFS in Melbourne” from KHD Landscape Engineering Solutions with time lapse film  here, and read more at the  Melbourne Design Awards 2010 website.

“˜Growing Up’ is a place to escape to, a place of surprise, a place to meet, a place for quiet contemplation, a place to read a book, a place to hold a class, a place for BBQs, a place to exhibit, a place for meetings, a place to gain distance and reflect on life; an engaging and vibrant multipurpose outdoor living space activated by its inhabitants and contributing to the city, both socially and environmentally.” ~  Melbourne Design Awards 2010

Did we miss something?  We’d love to hear from you!  Click  here to see more information about this project in  The International Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database.  See how you can submit yours  here.

Love the Earth, Plant a Roof!

~ Linda V.