GPW: Allen & Overy LLP HQ, Bishops Square

July 17, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Greenroofs.com Project of the Week: 7/11/11
Allen & Overy LLP HQ, Bishops Square
London, England, UK
58,125 sf. Greenroof

Year: 2005
Owner: Allen & Overy
Location: London, England, UK
Building Type: Multi-Use
Type: Extensive & Intensive
System: Single Source Provider
Size: 58,125  sq.ft.  
Slope: 1%
Access: Accessible, Private

Project Description & Details

The new headquarters for Allen &  Overy steps back from Bishops Square in a series of green tiers, with roof gardens overlooking the plaza below. The building was commissioned by Allen & Overy to meet the needs of a modern international law firm with strong environmental objectives in mind, serving both retail and office use. Located in the historically sensitive area of Spitalfields, it completes the regeneration programme of this important neighbourhood bridging the City and the East End.

The headquarters encompasses three landscaped greenroof terraces, and a fourth terrace is covered with photovoltaic cells to capture the power of the sun and reduce the energy take of the building. These open green spaces on private terraces provide an area where staff can relax and also help to reduce urban heating. Alumasc ZinCo green roof components were used as part of the key specifications, including FD 40 Floradrain ® water storage and drainage board as well as specialist substrates which support a large number of grasses, shrubs, and flowering perennials including turf, lavender, heather, iris, sedum, and boxwood.

Designers/Manufacturers of Record

Project Architect: Foster + Partners
Developer: Hammerson Plc, Corporation of London
Planning Authority: Tower Hamlets
Landscape Architect/Sub Consultant: Townshend Landscape Architects
Contractor: Willerby Landscapes
Greenroof Supplier: Alumasc Exterior Building Products
Greenroof System: ZinCo
Waterproofing: Hydrotech Structural Waterproofing


Additional Info

Commencing construction in 2001, the the state-of-the-art building was designed and built specifically for Allen & Overy by leading architects Foster+Partners and  was  finished in 2005.  Their driver for the greenroofs was twofold: they wanted to improve the biodiversity of this highly built up area of London and also wanted to create an outdoor garden type of area for staff to have their lunch, hold meetings and use for client events.

“Bishops Square development provides a major new public space for London larger than the Piazza at Covent Garden. It completes the regeneration programme of this historically important neighbourhood bridging the City and the East End.  Comprising 4 acres of landscaped civic space, a new covered market area, 40,000 sq ft of retail space and 774,000 sq ft of high spec offices, the scheme extends the original wholesale fruit and vegetable market to create a new urban destination with an eclectic mix of offices, residential buildings, shops and a network of pedestrian routes and plazas.” ~  Foster+Partners case study

Foster+Partners also says that the building incorporates the largest commercial photovoltaic installation in Europe and will produce enough energy to power the landscape lighting across the site – I don’t know if this fact still holds true, but it does have a large and rather impressive solar array.  The main roof has about 580m2 photovoltaic cells generating around 50,000kWh per year and the Allen & Overy’s website says the solar array saves 23 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

“We are proud to have been awarded a rating of ‘Very Good’ by the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM), the world’s leading system for assessing the range of environmental aspects associated with buildings. ” ~  Allen & Overy’s website

The Allen & Overy HQ greenroof  is not only ecologically sensitive, but designed in an elegantly linear fashion.  The private terraces are used often, not only by the employees but also to entertain special gatherings.  Their office brochure states “One of the best features of Bishops Square is the ability to hold barbecues in the summer or evening drinks on the terrace.”

In fact, the  prestigious  offices of Allen & Overy has hosted both the 2010 and 2008 World Green Roof Congresses.  Aramis and I were lucky to have attended the 2008 World Green Roof Congress here put on by Dusty Gedge of Livingroofs.org and CIRIA, with support from the European Federation of Green Buildings, so we can attest to the beauty of the spaces and the hospitality of the greenspace; the views were pretty spectacular, too!  You can read a little about it here.

The open space is extremely inviting: built in benches provide comfortable seating, tall grasses sway gracefully in the wind here and the flowering perennials provide color and structure throughout the seasons.  Granted the bright green grass needs higher maintenance than the other plants, but it does provide nice contrast and the turf is used by many.

The reflective windows of the building present an ever changing London cityscape scenery to visitors – I took this photo in September, 2008 where you can see the iconic Swiss Re Headquarters at 30 St Mary Axe, popularly known as the Gherkin, also designed by Foster+Partners:

The Allen & Overy HQ greenroof offers something that many extensive living roofs unfortunately do not – highly valuable and sought after  amenity  space.  Structural issues aside, it would be awesome if we could have more intensive greenroofs out there to not only provide a cool respite to our animal friends but also to help sooth the human beast in all of us after a long hard day at work!

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.

Greenroofs.com’s “This Week in Review” on GreenroofsTV: April 8th, 2011

April 10, 2011 at 10:53 pm

Our daughter,  Anjuli, has been writing, filming and editing our “This Week in Review” video since August, 2010 and each week you can expect to learn What’s New here on  Greenroofs.com.   Here’s the transcript for April 8, 2011 –  click on the photo below to see the video, or  here.   Enjoy!

–   Hello, I’m Anjuli Velazquez and welcome to This Week in Review for April 8th, 2011 on  GreenroofsTV.

–  Project of the Week

– Our project of the week is the National Trust Visitor Centre at Portstewart Strand built in 2008 in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom.  The National Trust is Northern Ireland’s largest conservation charity and the Strand, nestled amongst a two mile stretch of award winning beach and sand dunes, has been designated an Area of Special Scientific Interest and a proposed Special Area of Conservation.  Meeting the highest environmental standards, the new National Trust Visitor Centre facilities here are designed to maximize energy from natural light.  The structure was constructed with cedar panels from renewable sources and includes a greenroof; the vegetation and the timber will weather naturally to blend in with the landscape.  Sustainability is also key and in accordance with the Trust’s policy of managed coastline retreat, the facility, which is built on sand, is demountable, so it can be relocated with minimal impact.  A ZinCo green roof system from sustainable roofing specialists Alumasc was chosen for the new National Trust Visitor Centre at Portstewart Strand in County Londonderry.

– To learn more about  The National Trust Visitor Centre at Portstewart Strand, click on our project of the week photo on our  homepage.

–   “What’s New“

–  Watch the trailer for the Rooftop Rainforest TV program on Sky 1 HD with  Dusty Gedge on our greenroofsTV page at the link below.  The program follows urban ecologist and wildlife expert Dusty Gedge in his ambitious effort to build an indoor rainforest on top of London’s Westfield Centre in Shepherd’s Bush.  Gedge will face countless obstacles as he attempts to construct a structure to house tropical trees, plants, animals and insects.

–  Our annual Earth Day Photo Contest is upon us!  Starting today, April 8th, you can submit your photos for the 2011 Earth Day Photo Contest.  Go to the Sky Gardens Blog and read, “Enter the 2011 “˜Love the Earth, Plant a Roof!’ Earth Day Photo Contest!“ later tonight and/or our Facebook page at facebook.com/greenroofs for all of the details of entering and voting for this year’s contest!

–  While you’re at the Sky Gardens Blog, check out Linda’s latest posts. Read about our project of the week on the “GPW: National Trust Visitor Centre at Portstewart Strand“ blogpost.  You can also read my script on the “Greenroofs.com’s “˜This Week in Review’ on GreenroofsTV: 4.1.11“ post.  And on the “Join DC Greenworks for their “˜Day Without Oil Reception’ on April 14th“ post, you can read how two leading environmental advocates are teaming up to commemorate the first anniversary of the Gulf Oil Spill and preview the 2011 Earth Day celebrations with a Day Without Oil gathering to promote reduced use of fossil fuels.  You can participate by signing the pledge to: Refrain from using gasoline or other fossil fuels for one day, and donating the value of one day’s oil consumption – $17.40 to an environmental organization on the front lines.  Go to the blogpost for all of the details.

–   “Upcoming Events“

–  April 11th-12th: is the GRHC 2011 Living Architecture Regional Symposium in Washington, DC.  Don’t miss exhibits from American Hydrotech, Barrett Company, Capitol Greenroofs, CETCO, Conservation Technology, Etera,  International Leak Detection (ILD), KISSS, Rooflite, Sempergreen, Sika Sarnafil, Tremco and XeroFlor America.

–  April 12th-13th: is ROOFTECH, The Canadian Roofing Exposition in Montreal, Canada.  Don’t miss exhibits from   A & A Melters, Appian Way Sales, International Leak Detection (ILD), LiveRoof Ontario, Sika Sarnafil, Soprema Canada, and Tremco Roofing.

–  Stayed tuned for our latest Sky Gardens – Greenroofs of the World: The Cook+Fox Architects Office episode in Manhattan, New York coming soon!  Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the Cook+Fox Architects LLP Office is that it is the first known modular green roof system to have been entirely removed with new waterproofing installed, and then re-installed in 2008 to great success.  That is what makes this project truly unique – completely dismantling and replacing the roof using the same growing media and plants, without having to dig up a single plant, let alone incurring the cost of a new green roof system!  For more information about this project profile you can search Cook+Fox in our projects database, or visit this link below:  http://greenroofs.com/projects/pview.php?id=670

–   “In the News“

–  Kim Glovas of CBS Philadelphia, gives you the “Guide To Going Green.”  She says, “Today, tree huggers and business tycoons are both involved in the greening of America.  The green movement encourages people to clean up their litter; to use less water; to recycle paper, glass and plastic; and to drive environmentally friendly vehicles, like hybrids and electric-powered cars.”  With Earth Day coming up on April 22nd, many people would like to know how they can help our planet but maybe not where to start.  On this article, you can read and listen to how the average home-owner can help by decreasing their own carbon footprint with things like landscaping: using locally grown plants and flowers to save on fossil fuels, and home energy: like installing your very own greenroof.

–  Nicole D’Alessandro of examiner.com, says “Greenroofs are growing.”  The West Woods Nature Center served as the pilot green roof project for the Geauga Park District to study the benefits of greenroof construction and technology and the list of greenroofs across Northeast Ohio is growing with projects like the Cleveland Environmental Center in Ohio City, which included a portion of green roofing, and with the help of its Environmental Science students, the Cleveland State University’s Recreation Center got a 7,000 sq ft greenroof.  There are many benefits to green roofs like: decreased stormwater runoff; decreased impermeable surfaces, which helps reduce the urban heat island effect; and increased insulation in cold climates and absorption of heat in hot climates, which affects a building’s energy use.  Greenroofs can be beautiful and offer a wonderful habitat for wildlife while also extending the life of a roof.  Any concern of installing a greenroof can be taken away with the help of professionals.

–  Mark Apfelbacher of Water World, asks “Green Roof Professional: What does it mean?”  He says, “With so many accreditations and acronyms floating around in the water industry, it’s an accomplishment equally worthy of certification to identify half the listed designations.”  GRP acknowledges the level of professional green roofing expertise and allows individuals to have the distinction of being someone who has the appropriate knowledge.  We know the vast benefits of green roofs, and they can last a long time when designed and managed correctly; but there are rare cases of failure, like Chicago’s Aquascape, Inc, which collapsed in February.  Although engineers are still investigating the cause of the collapse, Apfelbacher says “it’s crucial to note that the collapse shouldn’t discourage use of green roofs as multi-functional building improvements…green roofs have been installed in much harsher climates with higher annual snowfall levels than that of Chicago and have weathered the elements for decades.”  A GRP accreditation is a valuable title to earn for understanding green roof system design and implementation, and also to help teams understand the challenges of green roof systems and the best practices to go about building and maintaining them.

–   To learn more about these stories and new ones posted daily, go to our  In the News or  newslinks section of our website.

–   Have something you think we should know about and post on our website?   You can send us your green articles, videos and images to  editor@greenroofs.com.

–   Stay up-to-date with what’s going on at  Greenroofs.com by subscribing to our  greenroofsTV channel on YouTube, following us on  Twitter, liking us on  Facebook and being a member of our network on  LinkedIn.

–   This has been This Week in Review for April 8th, 2011 on GreenroofsTV.  I’m Anjuli Velazquez and I’ll see you next week!

*This week’s episode is sponsored by  The Greenroof Directory, brought to you by  Greenroofs.com.*

Did we miss something?   We’d love to hear from you!

~ Linda V.

Greenroofs.com’s “This Week in Review” on GreenroofsTV: April 1st, 2011

April 2, 2011 at 11:01 pm

Our daughter, Anjuli, has been writing, filming and editing our “This Week in Review” video since August, 2010 and each week you can expect to learn What’s New here on Greenroofs.com.   Here’s the transcript for April 1, 2011 –  click on the photo below to see the video, or here.   Enjoy!

–   Hello, I’m Anjuli Velazquez and welcome to This Week in Review for April 1st, 2011 on GreenroofsTV.

Project of the Week

–   Our projects of the week are the Cheyenne I and III (251 & 253 Medical Center Blvd.), greenroofs built in 2007 and 2009 in Webster, Texas.   Developer and General Contractor, Jacob White Construction Company, wanted the buildings to stand apart from all other commercial buildings in the Houston area.   And they did just that when 251 East became the first LEED Gold certified building that side of Austin and 253 West gained LEED-CS Platinum certification in 2009.   The most impressive and ambitious part of these projects are the greenroofs complete with gardens, walking paths, and a lush landscaped area.   On September 13, 2008 Hurricane Ike went across the site as a strong Category 2 hurricane with 120+ mph winds and 11 inches of rain, yet there was no impact on the green roof nor the building.   In both cases, Webb Architects designed a custom system using EnkaRetain & Drain from Colbond with a locally designed growing media mix – the material cost savings alone was in the neighborhood of $250,000 each.   Approximately 73% of all rain water is retained, while the excess is transported to the roof drains that direct it to underground cisterns for storage and that reclaimed water is used for everything from irrigating the grounds to flushing the toilets.

–   To learn more about the Cheyenne I and Cheyenne III greenroofs, click on our project of the week  links on our homepage.

–   “What’s New“

–   Advertiser Press Release:   Metro Green Visions introduces MGV GroRoof Hybrid Green Roof System. MGV GroRoof, a new modular green roof system, is poised to make a strong impact in the marketplace, offering the best of both worlds, it installs like a modular tray system but functions and appears like a monolithic extensive green roof.

–   The American Horticultural Society is pleased to announce that Ed Snodgrass is the 2011 recipient of the G.B. Gunlogson Award.   The award is one of 12 Great American Gardeners Awards that the AHS presents annually to individuals, organizations, and businesses that represent the best in American gardening.   Congrats to Ed, co-owner of Emory Knoll Farms and our very own contributing editor of the “Ask Ed“ Plant Column here on Greenroofs.com!

– Green Roofs for Healthy Cities is pleased to announce the results of its 2011 Annual Industry Survey of Corporate Members which found that the greenroof industry grew by 28.5% over the course of 2010, which was up significantly from the 16% growth recorded in 2009!  The City of Chicago was #1, with Washington D.C. #2 in the Annual Top Ten U.S. Cities List.

–   Read our latest guest feature contributing editor blog post on Sky Gardens by Christine Thuring, “EcoBuild London (March 2011).”   Christine talks about the world’s largest sustainable construction fair, the biggest EcoBuild yet with over 50,000 visitors, over 1,300 suppliers and more than 130 free seminar sessions feazturing over 600 speakers.

–   (Check out Linda’s latest Sky Gardens Blog post about the “GPW: Cheyenne I and III (251 & 253 Medical Center Blvd.)” which has info on research data for the buildings.

–   Joblinks Update:    ZinCo USA is looking for two Regional Account Managers for Architectural/Contractor Green Roof Sales. One is located in Boston, MA and the other on in Philadelphia, PA.   Go to greenroofs.com/joblinks.htm  to apply to these jobs and check out our other Green Roof Jobs postings.    Go to greenroofs.com/joblinks.htm to apply to these jobs and check out our other Green Roof Jobs postings.

–   Industry News: New “Design Guidelines and Maintenance Manual for Green Roofs in the Semi-Arid and Arid West“ are released.  The guidelines are a collaboration of the University of Colorado Denver, City and County of Denver, Green Print Denver and the Urban Drainage and Flood Control District.

–   “Upcoming Events“

–   April 4th & 5th: is the Rooftop Rainforest TV programme featuring Dusty Gedge, which will be broadcast on Sky 1 HD in the UK.

–  April 5th: is a Green Infrastructure Ontario Coalition: One Day Training Workshop in Thunder Bay, Ontario Canada.

–  April 6th – 7th: is Water & Environment 2011, CIWEM’s Annual Conference in London, United Kingdom.

–  April 7th & 12th: is Designing with Nature – Compost BMP Design Webinar for Green Infrastructure and LID.

–  April 7th – 12th: is RCI – 26th International Convention and Trade Show in Reno, Nevada.

–  And on April 8th – 9th: is Green Build Cornwall in Cornwall, United Kingdom.

–   “In the News“

–   Ross Dulmaine of IBTimes reports on “Green roof uberwork: Bjarke Ingels’ M2 House.”   He says “from a distance the M2 house looks like just another little rolling hill.   Approach more closely and you find a modern, subtly camouflaged residence whose roof is covered in beautiful, easy to maintain sedum.”   Located in Denmark, the home was designed to blend into its rural surroundings and one side features huge, light-infusing glass sections which provide plenty of natural light to the living and kitchen areas.   Check out the article on IBTimes for some more beautiful photos.

–   Sandy Hingston of Philly Mag’s The Philly Post invites you to “Build A Green-Roof Birdhouse.”   In Longwood Gardens, she took a birdhouse-making class with the most cutting-edge architectural design: a green roof.   Longwood has been experimenting with bluebird houses in its fields for years hoping to attract more but with local summers heating up, eggs were reaching boiling points inside these birdhouses.   Green roofs create a heat differential that aids airflow and reduces interior temperatures.   The sedums used were specially grown at Ed Snodgrass‘  Emory Knoll Farms in Street, Maryland where he focuses on perennial green-roof plants that can stay outdoors year-round.

–   Jeffrey Tomich of stltoday.com asks “Five Questions with green roofer Kelly Luckett.”  He talks about how Kelly Luckett, president of Green Roof Blocks, is taking back one rooftop at a time in St. Louis.   Kelly explains that there are many benefits to green roofs: they soak up about half of the storm water that would otherwise run off into gutters, they keep rooftops cooler, saving energy in the buildings underneath and they provide a habitat for bees, butterflies and birds.   Be sure to visit this article to read Kelly’s answers to questions like how he got into the green roof business, how green roofs are priced and what’s next for Greenroofs.com’s “Green Roof Guy.”

–   To learn more about these stories and new ones posted daily, go to our  In the News or newslinks section of our website.

–   Have something you think we should know about and post on our website?   You can send us your green articles, videos and images to editor@greenroofs.com.

–   Stay up-to-date with what’s going on at Greenroofs.com by subscribing to our greenroofsTV channel on YouTube, following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook and being a member of our network on LinkedIn.

–   Coming Soon: Stayed tuned for our latest Sky Gardens – Greenroofs of the World episode, The Cook+Fox Architects Office in Manhattan, New York!

–   This has been This Week in Review for April 1st, 2011 on GreenroofsTV.  I’m Anjuli Velazquez and I’ll see you next week!

*This week’s episode is sponsored by The Greenroof Directory, brought to you by Greenroofs.com.*

Did we miss something?   We’d love to hear from you!

~ Linda V.

Final Reflections of Fall 2010 Greenroof Conferences: Vancouver, B.C., Part 3

February 14, 2011 at 4:44 am

Vancouver, B.C.

The stunning Vancouver, B.C. with its mix of rugged beauty, eclectic architecture, and progressive thinking was our last stop on our “international conference tour” at the end of last year –  after previously having presented the Greenroofs.com  “2010 Top 10 List of Hot Trends in Greenroof & Greenwall Design” in Mexico City  and Singapore.

Aramis and I  were excited to attend and exhibit at CitiesAlive!, the 8th Annual Green Roof and Wall Conference on November 30 through December 4, 2010  in this beautiful harbor  city of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada,  co-hosted by Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC) and the British Columbia Institute of Technology  (BCIT).    Neither  of us  had been here, and  we really had been looking forward to seeing  this naturally gorgeous  city surrounded by majestic snow covered mountain peaks, and we weren’t disappointed!

Celebrating its 125th Anniversary on April 6 of this year, Vancouver, B.C. is “Canada’s Cultural capital.”   Originally inhabited by the Coast Salish people – the ancestors of the Squamish, Burrard, TsleilWaututh, Musqueam (Xw’muthk’i’um), Tsawwassen, Coquitlam (Kwayhquitlam), Katzie and Semiahmoo Indian bands, Spanish explorers first “discovered” Canada’s west coast in the early 1590’s.   Captain George Vancouver arrived 200 years later, and fur trading, gold mining, and  tree logging soon followed by the mid 1800’s. Vancouver’s cultural diversity is reflected everywhere – you have a huge selection of shopping, restaurants, bars, pubs, and nightclubs in various locales throughout the city.

 

Vancouver also has professed a steadfast commitment to sustainability – their long term goal is to lead the world in green building design and construction, and it promises to be “the greenest city in the world” by 2020.   Vancouver’s targets include requiring all buildings constructed from 2020 onward to be carbon neutral in operations and reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in existing buildings by 20% over 2007 levels.   Reportedly, Vancouver has the greenest building code for new homes in North America, but they don’t plan to stop here  – they believe the technology already exists to support a more ambitious new construction requirement: net zero or carbon neutral new buildings.   Read the “GC 2020 Draft Green Building Action Plan” here.

“These green building innovations will create thousands of new jobs, create a significant economic stimulus, increase the value of buildings, reduce property owners’ operating costs, help Vancouver become more resilient to climate change and energy price fluctuations, and position Vancouver as a global leader in green building technologies and expertise.” ~ Talk Green Vancouver/ City of Vancouver

As you may know, Corporate Knights, Canada’s magazine for clean capitalism, recently ranked Victoria and Vancouver, B.C. at the top of the list of Canada’s most sustainable cities – see the 2.9.11 Press Release.

Our  hotel and venue were both beautiful and green.   The luxurious Pan Pacific Vancouver Hotel  is situated atop a pier at the magnificent Canada Place complex on Vancouver’s dramatic waterfront.   And its iconic white sails have made it a prominent landmark for the city (currently being renovated).

Part of the Green key ECO – rating program  (rated 4) itself,  the Pan Pacific is  conveniently located just a short walk above or below ground to the multiple award-winning venue, the LEED ® Platinum certified for New Construction Vancouver Convention Centre.   This expansion project is also known as  the Vancouver Convention Centre West, and last year it served as the international broadcast and media center for the XXI Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games. (Haven and I included it in 2007’s Top 10 List under the #2 category, Bigger is Better – Mega Greenroofs.)

In addition to its massive 261,360 sf living roof – the largest in Canada –  seawater heating and cooling, on-site water treatment and fish habitat are built into the foundation of the Convention Centre’s West Building, making the expansion project one of the greenest convention centers in the world.   Located  both  on land and  in the water, the views were  breathtaking and spectacular!   The  floor-to-ceiling glass allow for maximum viewing pleasure of the North Shore mountains and the harbor, its boats, and even sea planes landing at will.

Planted with more than 400,000 indigenous plants and grasses from the Gulf Islands, the roof provides a beautiful flowering  natural habitat to birds, insects and small mammals.   Many people worked on this project- see this gorgeous video taken by David Buge with Bruce  Hemstock of PWL Partnership Landscape Architects narrating on top of the Vancouver Convention Centre:

Although the greenroof is inaccessible to the public, the designers cleverly have allowed glimpses of the various angles and vegetated planes on two separate levels for visitors to enjoy, see below:

And the interior is just as cool and eco-friendly as the massive six-acre native plant greenroof overhead.    For  example, a  phenomenal mosaic of cedar and hemlock pieces  covering  the interior  walls creates a warm glow and adds multi-dimension to the expansive space.

Kudos to GRHC and BCIT for securing this fabulous, uber-sustainably designed venue!

Back to the CitiesAlive! Conference and Trade Show: We arrived on  Tuesday, November 30 to make sure we were on time for  the following day’s pre-conference activities (this was also the first day of tours, but we were too late to make it).

On Wednesday, GRHC  offered five  half-day education classes and  one anticipated  new one, the Introduction to Rooftop Agriculture – a  topic that is really hot right now.   Additionally, they had four 1.5 hour education sessions which  all sounded interesting!   But since I had to choose,  I attended the 4-hour “Integrated Water Management for Buildings & Sites”  seminar presented by Jeffrey Bruce, FASLA, GRP,  President of Jeffrey L. Bruce & Company  (and Chair of GRHC), while Aramis set up our exhibitor booth and attended the Corporate Members Committee Meeting.

I had heard mixed reviews about the course from its initial launch in Washington, D.C. last year, that it was certainly informative but a bit dry.   But as someone with a degree in landscape architecture and a fairly good background in stormwater management, I enjoyed it.     It wasn’t particularly dry, just quite technical and very in-depth in terms of definitions, policies,  and procedures – although it said it was an introductory class, I would say  it was definitely not  for beginners!   Developed by GRHC and the Association of Irrigation Consultants (ASIC), with leads Jeff Bruce and Lynda Wightman of Hunter, it embraces new approaches to design for Net Zero Water consumption.

The course covered water types and sources, and how we may manage water and energy resources more effectively including application and recapture methods.   Jeff is a very good instructor – patient and  extremely knowledgeable (his company  also developed the course)  -and  the class  was very interactive.   We had some  lively discussions from a really multi-disciplinary group of professionals from across Canada and the U.S., both from private practice and government at various levels.   And the 98-page “Integrated Water Management for Buildings & Sites” Participant’s Manual  is a veritable Bible of Integrated Water Management  information.

Greenroofs.com  was proud, once again, to be a Media Sponsor for the 8th year.   The CitiesAlive! Opening Plenary on Wednesday night, sponsored by Architek.ca,  was extremely interesting as we were greeted with a lovely traditional Coast Salish welcome from Elder Rose Point of the Musqueam First Nation and welcome song from Gerry Oleman, photo above from BCIT.

GRHC President Steven Peck was the Master of Ceremonies and he spoke about the many efforts and accomplishments of the industry association in the past year, including many firsts.   We also heard from City of Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, who proclaimed his city would be the greenest in world, and from Rod Goy, the Acting Dean of the School of Construction and the Environment at BCIT, who spoke about their commitment to greening the built environment.

The always popular Paul Kephart of Rana Creek Living Architecture was the eloquent keynote speaker and shared his vision as a restoration ecologist and designer of living architectural systems.   He also spoke about several of his collaborations with unique and large scale projects including the Gap Headquarters, Transbay Terminal Bay, the California Academy of Sciences, and the Croton Water Treatment Plant (Mosholu Golf Course)  in New York which, when completed, will be the largest continuous greenroof in North America at nine acres.

Afterwards the Trade Show opened, the socializing started and didn’t stop until late.   Thursday dawned overcast but the sessions started bright and early at 8:30 am.   As usual, there was a huge number of expert international speakers in every track, with four tracks in all – Policy, Design, Research, and Expert Discussion Panels.   In my opinion, it’s almost too massive a program, since it’s impossible to  experience even a fraction of all the excellent presentations.   What most people did was jump from session speaker to another to ensure they could hear their favorites.   I think the ideal would be to send four people from each company or organization to attend each and then get together and debrief, but, really,  who could afford that.

I found that I ended up splitting the next two days worth of sessions between the Design Track and the Expert Discussions.   I started off the first day, Thursday, December 2nd, with the Barriers and Opportunities to Advance Collaborative Design Practices panel and heard from Paul Kephart, landscape architect David Yocca of Conservation Design Forum, and environmental engineer Greg Allen from Sustainable Edge.   Jeff Bruce moderated, and these  four highly  seasoned professionals provided an intense interplay of personal opinion and practical experience, with plenty of audience interaction adding to the pot of working with disparate professionals.

The Temperate Green Roofs session followed and we learned about The Ted & Lois Hole Green Roof Healing Garden in Edmonton, Alberta.   Designed by the wonderful Kerry Ross, Project Architect with IBI Group Architects and Ernie Webster, Landscape Architect with IBI/Landplan, this 22,500 sf hybrid extensive/intensive green roof is located at a new facility for holistic healing, the Royal Alexandra Hospital.   Designed to commemorate Lois Hole, the former Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, and her husband Ted, it serves as a passive healing garden and visual amenity.   The  trees, shrubs, tall grasses and flowers were selected to represent the natural flora of Alberta, and were supplied by the family nursery.   Some of the beautiful features include lots of seating areas, a water fall and reflecting pool, colorful glass screens, and places for art.      

I hopped over to  Expert Discussions – Standards Development for Green Roofs and Walls – Future Directions, Challenges and Needs with Mike Curry  of Midwest Trading, Dr. Robert Berghage  of Penn State, Kelly Luckett of Green Roof Blocks, and Blair Bennett of Soprema.   Moderated by Zachary Williams of Carlisle SynTec, it was pretty interesting.   There was a lot of candid sentiment about the process and practical issues from from what appeared to  be an audience of mostly engineers, architects, city planners and the likes.   Everyone wanted to know how their product or system might fare and how to get involved, and maintenance issues and ensuring maintenance contracts were included in deliverables were also a hot topic.

But I hopped back after about 20 minutes because I didn’t want to miss Nate Griswold from American Hydrotech  and his presentation about the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts  and some of their unusual challenges with this project shaped like a hyperbolic paraboloid.   Problems arose with the varying slopes as well as the high amount foot traffic and as a result, a new steep slope product and assembly for this type of greenroof was developed.

Unfortunately, I missed out on most of  The Hugh Garner Green Roof Project – an integrated process, presented by Monica Kuhn of Monica E. Kuhn Architect, Inc. and Carolyn Moss of Moss Sund Architects, Inc., but I learned more about it when we featured this great multi-unit residential Housing Co-operative in downtown Toronto  as our first Greenroof Project of the Week for 2011:

The GRHC 2010 Awards of Excellence Luncheon followed and twelve awards were given this year – eight  for awesome buildings with greenroofs and greenwalls, including local favorite, the Vancouver Convention Centre Expansion Project.   Below is Peter  MacDonagh, one of the principals of The Kestrel Design Group, who received a Special Recognition Award of Excellence for their work with The City of Minneapolis Target Center Arena, which we featured in  our 2010 Hot Trends Top 10 List in the  #9 category, “Green Sporting Venues.”

There were some other really cool projects, see them all  here, as well as four deserving individuals honored within our industry.

One of these was  Kelly Luckett, above, AKA The Green Roof Guy, who won a Civic Award of Excellence for his hard work on the RP-14 Wind Design Guideline (read his  Green Roofs, a Civic Award of Excellence, and a Lifetime of Memories  article).   Talk about someone who really should have been recognized!   He has put in years of his life (not to mention probably tens of thousands of dollars from his own pocket) to further this important issue for our industry.   And he was really excited and humbled about receiving it, too.   I can  only say how humble and proud I felt when he acknowledged me for giving him a platform to write.  Way to go, Kelly!

The Lifetime Achievement Awards  ceremony was truly poignant and inspiring as a special tribute was held for two legends of the roof garden/greenroofing industry.   Author of “Roof Gardens, History, Design and Construction,” W.W. Norton, 1999, the late Theodore Osmundson, FASLA,  was honored.   Theodore Osmundson became a Fellow of the ASLA in 1963 and was ASLA president from 1967-1969.   We heard about  his lifelong passion for landscape architecture, and roof gardens in particular, from his son, Gordon.

 

Inspired by the Rockefeller Center Roof Gardens  in New York City, industrialist Henry Kaiser hired Osmundson in 1958 to design the beautiful 3 and a half acre public park, the Kaiser Center Roof Garden  in Oakland, CA, which  became Osmundson’s best known work.  Gordon Osmundson, also a successful landscape architect, has taken  on the task of  working on a second edition of his dad’s highly successful “Roof Gardens” book.

Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, OC, FASLA, FCSLA, LMBCSLA  then graced the stage and spoke about “Reflections of six decades designing natural sites.”   Educated at Harvard University, she expressed her love and gratitude for landscape architecture where she has shone brilliantly as  a leader in garden roofs, and spoke about her early work while raising a family.   She shared the visions of some of her numerous  important projects, including the  stunning Visitor Centre Green Roof at the VanDusen Botanical Gardens.

Designed by Busby Perkins + Will  and Cornelia,  the center is slated to meet the Living Building Challenge 2.0 (as per the Cascadia Green Building Council) as well as LEED Platinum standards.  To receive its Living Building certification, the center will have to operate for 12 months with net zero energy while providing all of its own water.

Thursday afternoon was spent in and out of our Exhibit Booth on the Trade Show Floor, popping into a variety of sessions, and simply catching up with lots of people!

The Trade Show floor had a good turnout, and most exhibitors we spoke to were pleased with the quality of visitors to their booths (meaning designers and specifiers).   I have to say  our Greenroofs.com booth was hopping most of the time, and we had tons of visitors – thanks to all of you who came by to say hello!

This may have been due to our lively and lovely in-house booth mates, Contributing Editors Patrick Carey (and GRHC Trainer), Haven Kiers (also a  GRHC Trainer), and Caroline Menetre, above, who camped out here off and on.   We had some interesting booth  neighbors, including the vivacious Kathy  of BusyBee Gardening across from us, seen below, as well as neighbors Craig of MYKE ® Pro Premier Tech Biotechnology and Geneviève Nöel of Mubi Regenerative Consulting, below her:

Dr. Clayton Rugh of Xero Flor America, above,  and Xero Flor Canada were also close by and I have to say Thank you! to Joy Schmidt for giving me a copy of the lovely book “Vancouver 2010.”   All about the 17 Olympic and 10 Paralympic Games days, it  features stunning photos of Vancouver and  their Xero Flor greenroof technology that covers approximately 56,000 sf of the Millennium Water Project  – Vancouver’s Olympic Village.   Here are more Trade Show pics:



That evening, Green Roofs for Healthy Cities put on a really nice, invitation-only  GRP Reception for the first year’s class (2009-2010) of graduating Green Roof Professionals.   It was casually elegant  and beautifully set up –  the beverage and food selection was wonderful and the service was excellent.   Aramis and I saw a lot of our friends and colleagues here, and met quite a few new ones, too.

We heard Sara Loveland and Ashleigh Uiska (with Dusty Gedge) threw an awesome afterparty, but we had our own much smaller version with our band of Contributing Editors and colleagues.   By the way, Sara won our free yearly Premium Listing in The Greenroof Directory.

The Friday sessions were just as bustling and varied.   I sat through (and thoroughly enjoyed) Green Wall Case Studies II, starting with Interior Living Wall Biofilter Projects – Lessons Learned from Pioneering Experience from Dr. Alan Darlington of Nedlaw Living Walls and Birgit Siber of Diamond and Schmitt Architects.   They shared stories of years of research and project monitoring, and how living walls have the capacity to break down hundreds of different kinds of contaminants found in indoor air; they demonstrated how a biofilter can substantially reduce the need to bring in fresh air by generating its own clean air indoors.

One of my favorite presentations was next, Innovative and Cost Effective Biofilters for Residential Applications from Robert Cameron and Dr. Robert Berghage from Penn State University.   They have an experimental site on campus as well as the one Rob Cameron built at his home using a combination of materials on site, some donated, and some leftover from experiments from other Penn State projects.    They conducted studies showing that  living systems do not need to be highly sophisticated to work beautifully.

Rob  Cameron, right, asks, How can we take wasterwater and make it a resource?   Using plants, from food crops to ornamentals, he showed us how the living wall with “Living Columns” – basically vertical  plastic corrugated tubes – act like a constructed wetland and can filter out pollutants from an entire household.   At his own residence he integrated these living columns with a greenroof for downspouts and rain water harvesting, and  combined a living wall with an extensive greenroof to provide a vertical garden for tomatoes, peppers, herbs, and other veggies.

By the way, George Irwin of Green Living Technologies  (GLT) was scheduled to speak during this session, and was deemed a no-show.   Since he’s a Contributing Editor here, Caroline  texted him to see where he was – he answered that he had indeed let GRHC know early in the week that something major had come up and would not be able to make it.

That morning I also sat in on a couple of sessions from Local InterestFrom Barn Raisings to Green Roof Raisings: Community-Built Green Roof was presented by Bryce Gauthier,   Director of the Projects In Place Society.   What a great story!   Projects In Place has taken the concept from the old community-based barn raisings and applied it to building sustainable projects.   Using almost 100 volunteers  including BCIT students, this small non-profit installed a 500 sf greenroof in two days on top of a business on the edge of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.   Projects In Place Society posted their CitiesAlive PowerPoint on their website, make sure to see it.

I skipped Retrofitting Existing Buildings With Green Roofs by Dr. Karen Liu of Xero Flor International because I had already seen and loved her similar (I hope) presentation at 2009’s CitiesAlive! in Toronto.   Instead, I listened in on the Expert Discussion- How Green IS Your Green Roof: Devising a LEED Style Credit System for Green Roofs – Challenges and Opportunities with Steven Peck, Kerry Ross, Dr. Robert Berghage and Chuck Friedrich of Carolina Stalite.

Talk about a charged subject!   Some argued that we should not create yet another rating system, but should rally to make the highly universally accepted (yet sometimes controversial) U.S. Green Building Council  (USGBC)’s LEED  program work better for our industry in terms of rating greenroofs.   Others argued that GRHC knows our subject best and that starting new made the most sense rather than trying to fix another existing product.   Having both my LEED AP and GRP designations, I have opinions, but will share them in another post.

So even though I was extremely interested in this subject, I returned to the Design Track and Local Interest  to hear about The Visitor Centre Green Roof at the VanDusen Botanical Gardens  from Ken Larsson of Sharp & Diamond Landscape Architecture and the lovely Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, which was a treat, indeed!

Cornelia is a force to be reckoned with, and her exuberance shone through the entire presentation.   It is a fascinating project – 3/4 of the 20,000 sf roof is greened, while 1/4 is “blue;”  the undulating roof is based upon the shape of  a native orchid – this project  would have fit nicely in  our Top 10 List  as an example of the #3 position,Biomimicry as Eco-literacy and Holistic Design.”   Maybe for 2011.   Lunch on the Trade Show Floor followed, along with the Poster Sessions.

Next up was  Haven’s and my session where we were right in the middle  of The Big Picture View, and we were very pleased at  the turnout.   Kerry Ross started with her  extremely informative Nordic Adventures: a field study of green roofs in Norway.  She highlighted cold climate greenroofs from a recent Scandinavian trip; through her research and documentation of projects has been able to better promote greenroof design and maintenance within Canada.

We followed with  our Top 10 List presentation, and it  was jam packed!    This was the first time we had co-presented together, and Virginia (Jennie) Russell from the University of Cincinnati, our moderator extraordinaire, kept us in-line with methodical announcements for us to pick up the pace.   So, it was a bit rushed, but fun (see  our PowerPoint here).   So many great projects to show, so little time!

We were honored to be in the same session as Cornelia Oberlander, who followed us and presented along with Ross Dixon of Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg.   They shared their experiences  with the Rooftoptop Renewal – The Redevelopment of Robson Square – An Intensive Green Roof in Downtown Vancouver.

This iconic rooftop civic center courthouse complex and public plaza was originally completed in 1983 by Arthur Erickson Architects and landscape architect  Cornelia Hahn Oberlander; replacement of the original waterproofing membrane and restoration of the plantings is currently underway, and is expected to be completed sometime within this year.   Refurbishments  included surveying to see which tree specimens would be saved and evaluating the best methods for removal, safe keeping during construction, and then replanting.

The Closing Plenary opened with  its own  lively Top 10 List invitation to join GRHC at the 9th Annual CitiesAlive 2011 in Philadelphia  by members of the Philadelphia Local Host Committee.   Co-hosted by the City of Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, the next Green Roof and Wall Conference will be held in the City of Brotherly Love from November 29 to December 3.

The Panel Discussion Peak Oil, Urban Farming and the Roofs and Walls of Our Cities: Creating a Future We Desire wrapped up the Conference.   Delivered by visionary yet practical Keynote Speaker Greg Allen, PE, LEEP AP, of Sustainable Edge, the presentation was forward thinking but set in a very grim reality – we  must release our bonds with oil and embrace sustainable energy strategies as well as develop local urban farming on our rooftops and walls to ensure food security – basically  we need to  explore alternative food options more intelligently.

Panelists included Thomas Mueller of the Canadian Green Building Council, Vancouver Councilor Andrea Reimer, Keith Agoada of Sky Vegetables and Jeff Bruce, and a lot of people raised their own concerns about food supply and quality control, organics, and infrastructure  for urban agriculture in the sky.    Greenroofs.com was definitely in sync, as Haven Kiers and I had Tower Oases as Skyrise Urban Ag in the 2010 #1 category for our Top 10 List of Hot Trends in Greenroof and Greenwall Design.

We enjoyed our Habitat Havens Tour the next day on Saturday, and especially our tour guide, the lively and informative Tyrel Sutton from Flynn Canada.   We had a beautiful, clear day to roam around four rooftops (really three, more on that later) that were selected because they were designed to either replicate a specific ecosystem or to provide food for birds, butterflies, or bees.   We were lucky because the tours on Tuesday were rainy – in fact, at least one was cancelled.

There are quite a few publically accessible projects around Vancouver, and the Local Host Committee put together a 9-stop Self-Guided Green Roof and Wall Tour list that was included in the program.   We didn’t see much, but  Caroline did – this is her photo of the ING Green Wall, left, designed by CitiesAlive exhibitor Green over Grey – Living Walls and Design Inc.

I would say there were maybe 700 people at CitiesAlive.   With the exception of a few hiccups – spotty snacks, flimsy conference  program, tour time changes  – overall, I felt that Steven Peck and Green Roofs for Healthy Cities  did a fantastic job of planning and executing this first “international” conference.   Kind of funny since they’re Canadian,  but this was the first time the conference was held outside of the U.S.    Plus it was the first time under its new name – CitiesAlive.   (As you’ll recall, the previous seven incarnations were titled “Greening Rooftops for Sustainable Communities.”)

And  the Vancouver Local Host Committee (Rod Goy, Marita Luk, Andrea Martinello, Blair Bennett, Nicholas Rousseau, Dr. Katherine Dunster, Helen Goodland, Andrea Linsky, Andrea Kausel and Lyn Ross) should be commended, too, for their outstanding accomplishments and participation in this successful conference!   Visit Green Roofs for Healthy Cities’ Acknowledgements page, where I borrowed this photo below:

In general, people were very happy with everything, with minor grumblings about not enough food at the Opening Plenary  and dessert  on the Trade Show floor after the Awards of Excellence Luncheon.   Also, for the first time, CD’s of the conference proceedings were not available, but you can purchase video recordings of the over 60 speakers that go along with each’s PowerPoint presentation (“Full Compilation Streaming Media – Audio Synched to PPT”) from GRHC for $120.

In reflection, we should be happy the conference agenda is so big – I’m sure Greenbuild  had similiar growing pains, talk about a massive, multi-day, multi-track  program!   Or ASLA, or AIA, for that matter.   It simply, very clearly, illustrates the tremendous growth of our greenroof and greenwall industry, and acceptance of building integrated greenery into mainstream design.   It is impossible to attend each presentation, so it’s great that GRHC developed the Living Architecture Academy – an online learning center with technical papers from all the past conferences and proceedings.   Having such a resource at our fingertips is inmeasurable.

Regarding the Trade Show, we’ve all noticed a trend of some past exhibitors not exhibiting lately, sometimes due to the challenging economy, scheduling conflicts, or feeling resources could be better used elsewhere.   So, I would also just like to add that all of us who are members of GRHC should pay a big thanks to all of the companies who have exhibited in the past, and who faithfully continue to do so.   Being international for many of us, for Vancouver it was more cumbersome and expensive to ship everything, but conferences couldn’t be held without the support of exhibitors and sponsors.   I would encourage everyone doing business within our industry to exhibit and work together to make  our committment and exposure  even better.   Here are a few  more Trade Show pics:

One of the very best things about all these conferences is the chance to meet new colleagues and see old friends from across the world and catch up on each other’s lives and happenings – we were happy to do this with the always effervescent  Dusty Gedge of Livingroofs.org,  Kerry Ross and her husband Bob,  Chuck Friedrich and Ernie Higgins of ItSaul Natural – Mr. Natural  (also from Atlanta), Contributing Editor  Dr. Bill Retzlaff of SIUe, and too many other folks to mention!   Many of our “usual” German colleagues were missing (Manfred Köhler and  Roland Appl, among others), probably due to the numerous previous international congresses where we saw them, but it was great seeing several folks from the City of Portland’s Beaurau of Environmental Services and lots of international students, too.

I wish I had had more time with a bunch of people – the always wonderful Maureen Connelly from BCIT, Jennie Russell,  and Andrea Martinello of N.A.T.S., for example, but there will be other conferences!

I’m sorry I  couldn’t attend  Maureen’s panel session of Expert Discussion: Taking Green Roofs and Walls to the Next Level in British Columbia – A Pathway to the Future! because it conflicted with our Top 10 presentation session.   It included the fanstastic Deputy City Manager of the City of Vancouver, Sadhu Johnston – previously Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley’s Chief Environmental Officer and  Deputy Chief of Staff, where he headed up much of their greenroof program.

In my opinion, Maureen Connelly is the true greenroof champion in Vancouver with her many years of  dedication and research at British Columbia Institute of Technology’s Centre for the Advancement of Green Roof Technology, and should be commended for an outstanding job – keep up the great work, and thanks BCIT for all that you do!   (See their project profile in The Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database here.)   Their Mission Statement:

“The mission of the BCIT Centre for Architectural Ecology – Collaborations in Green Roofs and Living Walls is to conduct world-class, innovative research on green roof and living wall systems and to provide research-based education across disciplines, to students and practitioners.”

The BCIT Centre is evaluating the function and performance of extensive greenroofs and living walls in the rainforest climate of coastal B.C.   Through collaborations with industry, government and academic partners, their vision is to help advance the widespread adoption of these technologies in this region.   It would have been great to have visited the research facility, but, just like any working trip, there simply wasn’t enough time.   Make sure to read BCIT’s “750 attend BCIT-co-hosted green roof conference” of December 13, 2010, where you can also see a huge gallery of photos.

We were here five nights and every day was devoted to conference events – although we didn’t get out to see the city and surroundings, many of our  friends did (like Caroline and  Janet Faust of JDR Enterprises).   Caroline was fortunate enough to go up on a seaplane and took this wonderful aerial  photo of Vancouver, above.    Like most people, she  also visited  Whistler Mountain, one of North America’s top ski and snowboard resorts (and  snapped this fun snow picture left).

The two greenroofed places I really wanted to visit but didn’t was the awesome Vancouver Public Library  (also known as Library Square Building)  with its  pioneering rooftop built in 1995, and  the fantastic 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Olympic Village, also known as Southeast False Creek and Millennium Water with about 287,000 sf total of greenroofs.

Read my 2.17.10 Sky Gardens post about it here.   We featured  Millennium Water in 2007’s Top 10 List in the #1 category – Visionary Proposed Projects since the City of Vancouver mandated that at least 50% of the buildings should be covered in green.   Next time!

Not content to leave things alone, upon leaving  the Vancouver International Airport (YVR), I had to take a bunch of photos of the 17-meter high YVR Canada Line Station 4 Living Wall, designed by the talented Randy Sharp of Sharp & Diamond Landscape Architecture.  As you may know, the Canada Line is Vancouver’s new rapid transit rail link connecting YVR to downtown Vancouver, and visitors are greeted by this beautiful green wall of green and silver euonymus, mondo grass, and licorice fern.   Read my 3.26.10 Sky Gardens post about it here.

We will  defintely return to Vancouver, B.C. as a vacation destination, where we can take in all the sights and locations of this gorgeous city at our leisure!   That’s it for now.

If you haven’t already, make sure to read our December, 2010 Guest Feature Article  by Janet Faust of JDR Enterprises, “CitiesAlive! 2010,” where she did a great job in describing her reflections of this eighth yearly  conference.   Her account of compares the experience to a fine wine and Janet comments  how  these Green Roofs for Healthy Cities’ conferences have gotten better with age!

If you’d like to present at the 9th Annual CitiesAlive! Green Roof and Wall Conference in Philadelphia, the Call for Paper Abstracts will be released in a few weeks.

Next up will be a series of posts about individual tour  sites from each of these unique cities we had the pleaure of visiting last year:   Mexico City, Singapore, and the lovely Vancouver, B.C., Canada.

Happy Greening from Alpharetta, Georgia,

~ Linda V.