In Memoriam: Dr. Diana Balmori

January 20, 2017 at 2:01 am

The quintessential thinker, master professional, and inspirational ecological designer, Dr. Diana Balmori, FASLA, IFLA, passed away on November 14, 2016 of lung cancer.  The brilliant, classy, and just wonderful lady transcended professional and even nationalistic labels; her design ethic metamorphosed fields of study and melded into one of a progressive yet sensitive sense of living architecture.

In Memoriam Dr. Diana Balmori Balmori Associates

Dr. Diana Balmori. Photo by Margaret Morton.

Based in New York City for over 20 years, Diana Balmori was the renown landscape designer and principal of Balmori Associates.  She received numerous accolades over the years, and was internationally recognized for her progressive body of work.

2015 Virtual Summit Keynote Video

We here at Greenroofs.com were very fortunate to have had Diana Balmori as a Keynote speaker for our 2015 Greenroofs & Walls of the World Virtual Summit 2015 ~ Connecting the Planet with Living Architecture: People, Projects & Design.  We had known her elegant soul since 2002, when she and I had both spoken at the Earth Pledge Foundation (now defunct) in New York City.  Since landscape architecture is my own background, I had been inspired by her work for a long time and greatly enjoyed following her progress throughout the years as a truly thoughtful representation of female leadership.

In July of last year we released her Greenroofs & Walls of the World Virtual Summit 2015 Keynote Video: “Green Roofs to New Cities” by Dr. Diana Balmori; please watch it below to see some of her recent work:

Regarding greenroofs, for her 2015 Keynote video Diana wrote:

“The big picture is that half of the world lives in cities; it will be 2/3 by 2025.  Cities are major producers of all the things which are feeding climate change. Green roofs are a simple tool we could us to change this effect, if used at the macroscale.  Green roofs can also play an urban role as open space and as connectors.” ~ Greenroofs & Walls of the World Virtual Summit 2015

Specifically, she explained why greenroofs are a revolutionary tool at these levels: Building – by altering the relation between landscape and architecture to the benefit of both; City – by reducing the heat island effect; River – by preventing floods and cleaning drainage water; and Living Being – by improving our health.”

A Global Perspective

Having been born in Gijón, on the Bay of Biscay in northern Spain, in 1932, she left with her parents to England in 1936 since her father, Clemente Hernando Balmori, a Spanish linguist and a Loyalist, needed to escape political persecution during the Spanish Civil War.  Her mother, Dorothy Ling Balmori, was an English pianist and composer who met her husband in Berlin while both were doing postgraduate work.  Right after the start of World War II, the family relocated to Argentina when her father obtained a teaching position.

Diana started her educational life in architecture; however, because of a student outbreak over a protest, her entire class was expelled.  She emigrated to the U.S. in 1952 with her Argentine-born husband whom she had met at university, the noted architect César Pelli.  She moved to Los Angeles in 1964 and in 1973 earned a doctorate in urban history at U.C.L.A.

Ms. Balmori championed a new understanding of landscape architecture and the built environment. She rejected the division between architecture and landscape, and the idea of landscaping as “shrubbing up,” as she sometimes put it: providing a beautiful backdrop for buildings. Instead, she saw the urban fabric as an interweaving of human activity, natural forces and designed settings and buildings.

“It’s bringing all the pieces together,” she told Guernica magazine in 2013, describing her concept of landscape architecture. “It’s not just buildings, it’s not just road; it’s also social factors, geological factors, climate factors — a much more complex mix.” The goal, she said, was a blending of “very clear human engineering with ecology and with landscape.” ~ The New York Times, 2016

Read the entire excellent “Diana Balmori, Landscape Architect With a Blending Philosophy, Dies at 84” by William Grimes of The New York Times for more on her life.

Recent Life and Times

In Memoriam Dr. Diana Balmori Balmori Associates

From Diana’s staff in 2015 for the Virtual Summit:

Diana Balmori founded Balmori Associates in 1990. The landscape and urban design practice is recognized internationally for designing sustainable infrastructures that serves as an interface between landscape and architecture. In 2006, she created BAL/LABs within Balmori Associates, to further push the boundaries of architecture, art and engineering: Green Roofs, Floating Islands, Temporary Landscapes, Forms of Representation, and Zero Waste City, among others.

Diana keeps an active voice in national policy and decision-making on topics that relate to landscape design, architecture and urban planning. She has served as: member of The United States Commission of Fine Arts in Washington, DC; a Senior Fellow of Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, DC; a member of the Allston Development Group at Harvard University, Boston, MA; on the Board of The Van Alen Institute, New York City; The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation for the World Trade Center Site, New York City; and as a Committee Member for the Comprehensive Design Plan for the White House.

Diana’s opinion-editorials and articles about her work have been featured in Dwell, The Architects Newspaper, Monocle, El Pais, PBS, WNYC, Design Observer, and Utne Reader, which named her one of fifty “Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World” in 2009. She was named Fast Company’s Third Most Creative People in Business (June 2013) and one of ten Innovators by Architectural Digest (September 2013).

Her book A Landscape Manifesto (Yale University Press, 2010) has received international attention and was recently translated into Chinese. Her most recent book is Drawing and Reinventing Landscape (Architectural Design Primer) [above] (A/D Wiley, 2014). Since 1993 she has been a Critic at Yale University in both the School of Architecture and the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

As noted above, Diana was voted one of 2013’s “100 Most Creative People in Business” from Fast Company – at # 3, no less.  She had been artfully leading the combined fields of landscape design, architecture and urban planning for decades:

In Memoriam Dr. Diana Balmori Balmori Associates

Diana was one of the early proponents of greenroofs and living architecture, and her 2005 research piece/inventory study on Long Island City – and its resulting “Asthma Alley” – demonstrated how living roofs could affect a direct health-oriented benefit in communities.  This research resulted in greenroofs being constructed atop Silvercup Studios and the Gratz Industries Company.

In Memoriam Dr. Diana Balmori Balmori Associates

In 2014 Diana and her firm Balmori Associates completed the enormous new governmental city of Sejong, Public Administration Town in South Korea.  Based on the previous natural attributes of the mountains and rivers on the site, her large masterplan introduced the idea of a landscape taking the primordial organizing idea to organize the architecture – the result is buildings interconnected with sweeping, continuous greenroofs.

In Memoriam Dr. Diana Balmori Balmori Associates

In Memoriam Dr. Diana Balmori Balmori Associates

Balmori Associates said, “We proposed a new approach to city-making, one that starts with landscape architecture. The master plan consists of a continuous linear park on a continuous roof joining all the ministries.” Dictated by the contours of the land that were once hilly but now flattened to make way for as many as 500,000 future residents, a grid of streets and transit runs through the center of the city within a network of green spaces. The connected buildings were designed to look like an Oriental dragon in flight from above and the superstructure on top contains a variety of planted sloping walkways, wide-open expanses, ramps, and corridors – with the government offices below. Three interconnected urban strategies were proposed: FLAT CITY, LINK CITY, and ZERO WASTE CITY. The beautiful greenroof equals 28 acres and the pitches vary considerably, allowing it to slope down to the ground in pedestrian-friendly inclines.

In Memoriam Dr. Diana Balmori Balmori Associates

A Celebration of Diana Balmori’s Life

Diana Balmori is survived by her husband, César Pelli; sons, Rafael Pelli and Denis Pelli; and granddaughters, Delia and Iris.  A Celebration of Diana Balmori’s Life will be presented on January 30, 2017 at The Morgan Library & Museum in New York by Balmori Associates who says that all are welcome to attend; please see more information at their website.

In Memoriam Dr. Diana Balmori Balmori Associates

Dr. Diana Balmori. Photo via Balmori Associates, by Kristin Gladney.

Dr. Diana Balmori was an exceptional bright shining star in our universe of ecological architecture and design, with decades of contributions in the form of thought leadership, outstanding projects, and education and will be greatly missed and remembered by design followers from across the globe.

By Linda S. Velazquez, ASLA, LEED AP, GRP
Greenroofs.com Publisher

Project of the Week for December 19, 2016: Veneto Eye Bank Foundation (Fondazione Banca degli Occhi del Veneto Onlus)

December 19, 2016 at 1:39 pm

Project of the Week Veneto Eye Bank Foundation Emilio Ambasz

Greenroofs.com Project of the Week: 12/19/16

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Veneto Eye Bank Foundation (Fondazione Banca degli Occhi del Veneto Onlus)
Mestre-Venice, Italy
76,910 sf. (estimated) Greenroof, Landscaped Terraces & Below Grade Parking Garage (On Structure Greenroof)

Project of the Week Mini Description & Details

The Veneto Eye Bank Foundation is a non-profit, social welfare organization and regional center for cornea transplantation and research into epithelial stem cells. One of the leading eye banks in Europe, the 50,000 sf medical facility houses several functions: a surgical facility, stem cell research laboratories, eye treatment center, administrative offices as well as the EIDON Foundation educational facility, which includes a 450-seat auditorium. Designed by green architect Emilio Ambasz in 2008, it is situated on a flat, triangular-shaped 2.8 hectare site. Located near a local railroad, major roadway, traffic roundabout, and the entrance to a new regional hospital, the Venice-Mestre Hospital, also designed by Ambasz, the Foundation is highly visible.

Project of the Week Veneto Eye Bank Foundation Emilio Ambasz

Project of the Week Veneto Eye Bank Foundation Emilio Ambasz

The triangular-shaped building is defined by two 12 meter high trapezoidal walls, clad in pre-stained copper set at right angles to each other. The two extreme points of the orthogonal walls seem about to touch each other, reminiscent of The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo. In the triangular space created by these walls, a volume is defined by a series of landscaped terraces at each floor level, making up one side. On the opposite side, the building rises as a series of steps that lead to a flat planted roof garden. These steps make the entire living roof an outdoor amphitheater. A parabolic opening forms the main entrance through this stepped facade. Administrative, research, and surgical functions are located on the three floors above ground while a ground level circular courtyard provides light to the educational spaces located below ground. All of the spaces receive direct natural sunlight from the large walls of glass placed at a distance from the edge of the vegetated terraces. The combination of the plantings and deep overhangs minimize the impact of heat loads by blocking sunlight during the middle of the day. A below grade parking garage eliminates all visible cars on the site to ensure a continuous green surface around and onto the building’s roof. The Veneto Eye Bank Foundation embraces architect Emilio Ambasz’s philosophy of “The Green Over the Gray,” or the landscape over the building.

Project of the Week Veneto Eye Bank Foundation Emilio Ambasz

Project of the Week Veneto Eye Bank Foundation Emilio Ambasz

Year: 2008
Owner: Fondazione Banca degli Occhi del Veneto Onlus
Location: Mestre-Venice, Italy
Building Type: Non-Profit/Research
Type: Semi-Intensive
System: Custom
Size: 76,910 sq.ft.
Slope: 1%
Access: Accessible, Private

Project of the Week Veneto Eye Bank Foundation Emilio Ambasz

Project of the Week Veneto Eye Bank Foundation Emilio Ambasz

Designers/Manufacturers of Record:

Architect: Emilio Ambasz, Hon. FAIA
Architect of Record: Studio Altieri-Alberto Altieri
Emilio Ambasz & Associates Collaborators: Lucas Fornari, Luca Cerutti, Giulio Altieri, Valentina Altieri, Alessandro Melotto, Francesco Viero, Chiara Urso, Giulia Andreotti, Peter Norris, and Bradley Whitermore
Photographer: Enrico Cano
A.T.I. for Project & Construction: C.O.MES. scrl Costruzione nuovo Ospedale di Mestre
Società Consortile a Responabilità Limitata: Astaldi (Mandatary), Ing. E. Mantovani (Building Company), Mattioli
Mechanical Plants: Cofathec Progetti (Project), STEAM (Consultants)
Electrical Plants: Gemmo Impianti (Project), TIFS (Consultants)
Consultant: Prof. Vitaliani, TIFS
Frameworks: Permasteelisa
Lighting: Disano
Flooring: Marazzi
Lifts: Schindler
Climate Control: Cofatech

Project of the Week Veneto Eye Bank Foundation Emilio Ambasz

Project of the Week Veneto Eye Bank Foundation Emilio Ambasz

View the Veneto Eye Bank Foundation PROJECT PROFILE to see ALL of the Photos and Additional Information about this particular project in The International Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database.

Project of the Week Veneto Eye Bank Foundation Emilio Ambasz

Project of the Week Video Feature

Watch the Veneto Eye Bank Foundation (Fondazione Banca degli Occhi del Veneto Onlus) Project of the Week Video below or see it on our GreenroofsTV channel on YouTube:

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Love the Earth, Plant a Roof (or Wall)!

By Linda S. Velazquez, ASLA, LEED AP, GRP
Greenroofs.com Publisher

Project of the Week for October 31, 2016: ASLA Headquarters

October 31, 2016 at 10:47 am

Project of the Week American Society Landscape Architects Headquarters

Greenroofs.com Project of the Week: 10/31/16

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ASLA Headquarters
Washington, DC, USA
3,000 sf. Greenroof

Project of the Week Description & Details

In 2006, the American Society of Landscape Architects demonstrated their commitment to sustainable design by incorporating a greenroof atop their Washington, DC Headquarters. Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates led the design process, collaborating with Conservation Design Forum to develop the design and specifications for the approximately 3,000 square-foot roof surface. The plan was to create a landmark demonstration project, and a primary focus was to make greenroofs more mainstream and demonstrate that landscape architects play a central role in green roof design and construction.

Project of the Week American Society Landscape Architects Headquarters

The ASLA roof contains six distinct greenroof conditions, representing extensive, semi intensive, and intensive systems ranging in growing media depths of 3 to 21 inches. North and south “waves” dominate the design, with a central viewing platform with seating areas for the public, and a stairwell structure. The American Hydrotech Garden Roof® Assembly was chosen for the greenroof system, and to effectively confine and stabilize the growing media on the sloped waves, GardNet™ was installed. With plants and consulting provided by Emory Knoll Farms, the plant palette has evolved over the years. The South Wave now consists mostly of sedum and Prickly Pear cactus and the North Wave is covered with 50% sedum, with thread-leaf tickseeds, chives, nodding onions, black-eyed Susans, Virginia wild rye, silver king, and butterfly milkweed. Fragrant sumacs cover the new staircase, and sedums grow profusely under the grates.  Monitored from July 2006 to May 2007, the living roof prevented 27,500 gallons of stormwater – or 77% of all precipitation – from flowing into D.C.’s overburdened sewer system, and it continues to keep the roof temperature as much as 43.5 degrees F cooler than neighboring conventional black roofs in the summer as well as reducing building energy use by 10% over the winter.

Project of the Week American Society Landscape Architects Headquarters

Project of the Week American Society Landscape Architects Headquarters

Year: 2006
Owner: American Society of Landscape Architects
Location: Washington, DC, USA
Building Type: Corporate
Type: Extensive & Intensive, Test/Research
System: Single Source Provider
Size: 3000 sq.ft.
Slope: 30%
Access: Accessible, By Appointment

Project of the Week American Society Landscape Architects Headquarters

Designers/Manufacturers of Record:

Prime Consultant / Landscape Architect: Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc.
Project Manager: Chris Counts, ASLA, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates Inc.
Green Roof Consultant: Conservation Design Forum, Inc.
Structural Engineer: Robert Silman Associates, PC
Architect: DMJM
Plant Supplier & Consultant: Emory Knoll Farms/Green Roof Plants
Greenroof System: American Hydrotech
Roof Contractor/Plant Installation: TectaAmerica/Magco
Edging & Drains: Green Roof Products/St. Louis Metalworks
Lighting Design: Outdoor Illumination
General Contractor: Forrester Construction Company
Architectural Services: Gensler

Project of the Week American Society Landscape Architects Headquarters

Project of the Week American Society Landscape Architects Headquarters

View the PROJECT PROFILE to see ALL of the Photos and Additional Information about this particular project in The International Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database.

Project of the Week American Society Landscape Architects Headquarters

Project of the Week Video Feature

Watch the ASLA Headquarters Project of the Week Video below or see it on our GreenroofsTV channel on YouTube:

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Would you like one of your projects to be featured on Greenroofs.com? We have to have a profile first! Submit Your Project Profile.

Love the Earth, Plant a Roof (or Wall)!

By Linda S. Velazquez, ASLA, LEED AP, GRP
Greenroofs.com Publisher

Inaugural Green Wall Industry Survey Report from Green Roofs for Healthy Cities by Kara Orr

October 13, 2016 at 3:21 pm

Over 600,000 square feet of green walls were installed across North America in 2015.

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC) is pleased to announce the results of the first-ever annual Green Wall Industry Survey.  In 2015, more than 600,000 square feet of green walls were installed across North America.

The annual Green Wall Industry Survey collected a variety of data on North American green wall installations, including size, location, wall structure, type of green wall system, and whether or not the installation qualified for LEED credits.  The report is available, at no cost, at greenroofs.org.

“We are very pleased with the leadership in the green wall industry which has enabled us to compile this market research. As the sector continues to grow we look forward to even better data in the years to come,” said Steven W. Peck, Founder and President, Green Roofs for Healthy Cities. “We look forward to learning the latest in green wall research and technology at CitiesAlive: 14th Annual Green Roof and Wall Conference in Washington, DC from November 1-4, 2016.”

Inaugural Green Wall Industry Survey Report Green Roofs Healthy Cities

2014 CitiesAlive Awards of Excellence, Exterior Green Wall Award, The Shoppes at Kingsbury Square, Chicago, IL; greenfacade® System; Award Winner: Wolff Landscape Architecture.

Green wall installations are taking place in almost every US state, with some preference for the coastal states.  California is leading in green wall installations, with New York and Florida following in second and third place respectively.  A major selling point of green wall installations is their eligibility for USGBC LEED credits for a project.  Additionally, financial, social and environmental benefits such as improved property value, health and well-being, and reduced energy use can be attributed to green wall installations.

Inaugural Green Wall Industry Survey Report Green Roofs Healthy Cities

2014 CitiesAlive Awards of Excellence, Exterior Green Wall Award, The Shoppes at Kingsbury Square, Chicago, IL; greenfacade® System; Award Winner: Wolff Landscape Architecture.

The green wall industry represents a growing and developing market sector which requires policy support and conclusive data to support growth and development.  This inaugural report will serve as a baseline measure for subsequent reports.

Inaugural Green Wall Industry Survey Report Green Roofs Healthy Cities

“We are so proud to have laid the groundwork to be able to provide our members with valuable information about the growth and trends of the green wall industry in North America” said Melissa Daniels, CNLP, Vice President & Horticultural Specialist, Plant Connection, Inc. and co-chair of the GRHC Green Wall Technical Committee.

Inaugural Green Wall Industry Survey Report Green Roofs Healthy Cities

Programming Available Only at CitiesAlive

Green Walls & Water Management: Stormwater Management & Potable Water Use Best Practices
November 2 – 10:30 am – 12:00 pm:

Water scarcity in many parts of the country, and proposed changes to LEED credits, are among the factors that threaten the long-term success of green walls. Experts in the industry weigh in how to overcome these barriers by designing and maintaining for maximum resilience, using green walls for stormwater management, using non-traditional sources of water, minimizing potable water use, ensuring that the benefits of green walls are clearly articulated, and more.

Chaired by Warren Gorowitz, Vice President of Sustainability, Ewing Irrigation and Landscape Supply, learn from green wall experts:
Dr. Alan Darlington, Founder & Owner, Nedlaw Living Walls
Hal Thorne, Chairman & CEO, GSky Plant Systems Inc.
Melissa Daniels, CNLP, VP & Horticultural Specialist, Plant Connection, Inc.

Green Stormwater Management Case Studies from Around the World
November 2 – 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm:

Designing for Biodiversity Green Roofs in Europe
Kamilla Aggerlund, Landscape Architect MDL, Assistant Professor, University of Copenhagen
Addressing a trend in Denmark, a strong wish among the public to add nature and biodiversity into cities, referred to as ‘city nature’. The role of green roofs and walls in this trend is presented along with the evolution of products for this market such as wild habitat plantings.

Using Green Wall Evapotranspiration to Manage Storm Discharge: An Example in San Juan, Puerto Rico
David L Aponte Dones, MSCE, GRP, Environmental Engineer, Office of Landscape Architecture
This presentation explores The Banco Popular Foundation building in San Juan Puerto Rico, where two green walls with a combined area of 3,200 sq. ft. manage more than 5,000 gallons of harvested water daily.

2016 Top 10 List of Hot Trends in Greenroof & Greenwall Design
Linda Velazquez, ASLA, LEED AP, GRP, Publisher & Design Consultant, Greenroofs.com
Haven Kiers, ASLA, LEED AP, GRP, Design Editor, Greenroofs.com
Enjoy a special 10th Anniversary Edition of Greenroofs.com’s popular Top 10 List of Hot Trends in Greenroof & Greenwall Design series with the theme of What’s old (or classic) is new again!

Inaugural Green Wall Industry Survey Report Green Roofs Healthy Cities

Designing Stormwater Runoff Minimizing Green Walls
November 3 – 10:45 am – 12:45 pm:

Water, Indoor Plant Walls and Building Performance
Dr. Alan Darlington, Founder & Owner, Nedlaw Living Walls
Dr. Darlington will discuss, with good design, living walls can replace key air handling components, and can use non-traditional water sources like stormwater or HVAC condensate to further sustainability goals.

Living Alternatives to Concrete Retaining Walls
Mark Woolbright, Filtrexx Living Wall Division Manager, Filtrexx International
This session will teach us how living walls can provide structural reinforcement, aesthetic diversity, temperature moderation, green space, and habitat.

Green Walls and Hanging Gardens
Matthew T. Berrelli, P.E., Eastern US Sales Engineering Manager, Ronstan Tensile Architecture
Using case studies of actual projects, this presentation will identify common barriers to green façade projects, like cost, maintenance, and various misconceptions and objections by clients, builders, and the designers themselves.

LED Lighting for Green Walls
Nathan Weipert, Sales Engineer, Sunlite Science & Technology
LED fixtures are the latest trend and Nathan will discuss how white light is produced from LED fixtures and how the spectrum emitted can affect the plant’s growth.

Training: Green Walls 101: System Overview and Design
November 1st – 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Price: $175 members / $199 non-members:

This course discusses design and construction best practices for green facades and living walls, including maintenance and irrigation requirements. Discover the latest research findings on the environmental benefits of these technologies. Registration includes a 95-page course manual.

Earn 3.5 Continuing Education/Professional Development Hours from LA CES, AIA CES, USGBC/GBCI, APLD, and NALP/CNLA.

Instructor: Melissa Daniels, CNLP, VP & Horticultural Specialist, Plant Connection, Inc.

Inaugural Green Wall Industry Survey Report Green Roofs Healthy Cities

Register for CitiesAlive here.

Kara Orr, Green Roofs for Healthy Cities

Inaugural Green Wall Industry Survey Report Green Roofs Healthy Cities

Kara Orr is the marketing coordinator at Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC), a membership-based industry association developing the green (vegetative) roof and wall industry in North America. Contact her to discuss sponsorship, trade show and programming opportunities.

GRHC’s mission is to increase the awareness of the economic, social and environmental benefits of green roofs and green walls, and other forms of living architecture through education, advocacy, professional development and celebrations of excellence. Visit www.greenroofs.org for more information.

Contact Kara at: 416-971-4494 x226.