“Vertical Garden City, Singapore” by Tan Puay Yok

November 27, 2013 at 2:22 pm

I received my copy of Dr. Puay Yok Tan’s new book Vertical Garden City, Singapore, 2013 a couple of weeks ago, and Wow, it is awesome!

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Although clearly focused on the beautiful tropical island nation of Singapore, 192 pages of gorgeous color photos of skyrise gardens beautifully illustrate vertical and horizontal examples of greening from across the world.

“Singapore is a modern, cosmopolitan city that is claiming its place as a global city of the world. This has emerged amidst dramatic transformation of its landscapes since its founding at the start of the 19th century. This is only possible through a deliberate approach of actively reinstating greenery to replace natural spaces that have been inadvertently lost during urbanisation.

The emphasis on urban greening as a cornerstone of Singapore’s urban development approach continues today. One key strategy it has adopted is to green up its vertical spaces as the new frontier of urban greening. In little more than a decade since the idea of skyrise greening was actively promoted in the city, numerous skyrise greenery installations now dot the city’s landscapes. Several are striking architectural marvels, while others help to silently blend the buildings with its environment. How did the groundswell occur? What were the policy considerations and instruments used to promote the concept to the building industry? What more can and should be done?

Vertical garden city, Singapore describes the skyrise greening movement and efforts in Singapore, and profiles selected projects in the city that exemplify innovation, creativity and the boldness to try new ideas. This book also explores how an ecological perspective can help to derive more functions from skyrise greenery. It is a valuable resource to those who want to know more about Singapore’s efforts in greening its vertical spaces.” ~ Urban Redevelopment Authority

With forewords by one my own favorite green architects, Emilio Ambasz and Dr. Tan Wee Kiat of the amazing Gardens by the Bay, Singapore, Puay Yok acknowledges many early influences including Ian McHarg along with former Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew who in 1963 lead the first tree planting day in his nation and started the Garden City movement.

“Mr. Lee Kuan Yew started a rapid urban greening programme and an urban planning approach in which greenery received equal, if not more, emphasis than the expansion of buildings and infrastructure.” ~ Tan Puay Yok

Five decades later, Singapore truly is a tropical City in a Garden.

I’m pleased to say that Puay Yok asked me to contribute to his book, along with Dr. Manfred Köhler and Steven Peck.  I wrote “Worldwide Trends in Greenroof and Green Wall Implementation,” where I spoke about the Top 10 general categories of trends that we here at Greenroofs.com have been observing over the past decade or so.  Thanks, Puay Yok, for this honor!

Topics include typologies of skyrise greenery, research and development, key policies, and prospects for the future, which Puay Yok says “The Way Forward is Up.”

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A large selection of Singapore’s thriving installations and signature sky gardens can found including: The Skypark at Marina Bay Integrated Resorts, School of Art, Design and Media, Solaris, Universal Studios Singapore, Marina Barrage, T3 Changi Airport, Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, School of the Arts, The Pinnacle@Duxton, Reflections at Keppel Bay, Sky Gardens House, Gardens by the Bay, and many more. (Not surprisingly, over the years we have highlighted all of these in Haven Kiers and my Top 10 List of Hot Trends in Greenroof & Greenwall Design!)

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Available for purchase, you can either pick one up at the Urban Redevelopment Authority in Singapore, or through the mail – find out more here.

Thoughtfully presented and flawlessly published, Vertical Garden City, Singapore is not only a stunning coffee table book, its presentation of Singapore’s legacy of building green infrastructure and urban biodiversity conservation makes it an essential addition to your living architecture library!  Wouldn’t it be great if all governments could follow suit?

~ Linda V.

The World Green Roof Congress, Copenhagen 2012 in 3 Weeks!

August 30, 2012 at 1:58 pm

The exciting  World Green Roof Congress, Copenhagen 2012 will be held in three weeks!  Have you made final plans and registered yet?

Founded and organized by our talented UK colleague Dusty Gedge – also President, European Federation of Green Roof Associations (EFB) and co-founder  of  livingroofs.org  –  the  World Green Roof Congress, Copenhagen 2012  follows on the success of the previous World Green Roof Congresses held in London in 2010 and 2008.

International Ideas Exchange

“This bi-annual World Green Roof Congress will bring together the leading practitioners – policy makers, architects, designers, urban planners, manufacturers, engineering, environmental & ecological consultants – from around the world to highlight the need to transform urban grey to urban green.” ~  World Green Roof Congress, Copenhagen 2012

Hosted by the city of Copenhagen and supported by the Danish Ministry of the Environment and the Lord Mayor of Copenhagen, the organizers says the scene is set for a congress that has sustainability at its core.  Copenhagen’s ambitious goal of being carbon neutral by 2025 means that greenroofs are embedded as an integral part of political policy.

And, Copenhagen is the first city in Scandinavia to have a mandatory greenroof policy.  The new policy makes vegetation and soil a mandatory obligation in planning new developments. The policy covers all roofs that have less than a 30 degree ptich in the new local plans.

Congress Programme

You’ll hear from  60 speakers from over 28 countries and the program is jam-packed:

18 September: Pre-congress Tour & Welcome Reception  includes the Green Roof Tour and Case Study: Malmö where you’ll visit the  Augustenborg Botanical Roof Garden and the Emporia Shopping Centre.

(We visited the  Augustenborg Botanical Roof Garden in 2003 and it was really interesting then – I’m sure much has grown! For example, I don’t remember seeing this cool fountain on any of the roofs, below:)

19 September: Congress Day 1  opens with the Congress Welcome Address by Dusty Gedge,  Lord Frank Jensen, Lord Mayor of the City of Copenhagen, and Congress Chairman Introduction from  Jim McClelland.  The Keynote Address by renowned green architect Emilio Ambasz  (whom we had the distinct pleasure of meeting in Singapore in 2010) follows.  A full day of great speakers and Q & A sessions will entertain you where you can choose from the following parallel sessions: Water, Food Finance Contracts, Hot and Arid, and Plants & Biodiversity, capped off by the Congress Reception from 19.30 – 21.00.

(Side note: I’m sure the WGRC 2012  Congress Reception will be great – Aramis and I attended in 2008 and we had an awesome time!  The food, drinks and service were awesome!)

20 September: Congress Day 2  opens with the Chairman’s Welcome by Manfred Köhler,  University of Applied Sciences in Neubrandenburg and President of WGIN,  and Tina Saaby,  City Architect for the City of Copenhagen,  Architecture, followed by the Keynote Address from Nur Faezah Mohd Sanif, Skyrise Greenery National Parks Board in Singapore.  During the day you’ll select from these tracks:  Approaches to Planting, Energy, and Plants, Walls, & Rain Gardens.

The unique  City Mayors Panel Discussion, sponsored by CIRIA, follows.  This  international panel of mayors will be sharing the vision for their cities in 2020.

“Take a world tour of green roofs.  Join Mayors and policy makers from world cities and understand each city’s unique incorporation of Green Roofs into existing and new city infrastructure.” ~  World Green Roof Congress, Copenhagen 2012

Learn about all the speakers  here.

21 September: Post-Congress Tour  to the  Danish State Archives, the awesome Big 8 Windswept House, and Tivoli Hotel.

Your congress ticket includes: access to all plenary and parallel conference sessions, pre conference reception on the 18th September, conference reception on the 19th September, conference materials and refreshments on both congress days – tours are separate.

Registration Discount Code

Make sure  to quote VIP Code WGRC114 when making your booking here.

Unfortunately, Aramis and I cannot attend this time because of all of our other international travels later this fall to China and India (look for my upcoming posts about it!).  Copenhagen is a great city and reason enough alone to attend the WGRC 2012!  Throw in Dusty Gedge and all these great speakers and participants, and it’s a win-win for all.

But, the ever lovely Contributing Editor Christine Thuring  will be in attendance and has promised to report back to everyone!  In fact, she’ll be speaking on the first day of the WGRC 2012 in the Plants & Biodiversity track about her experiences with the  University of Sheffield and “Ecological Dynamics of Old Extensive Green Roofs.”

If you’re going, we’d love to hear from you as well.  Please send us photos and a few lines and we’ll put your reflections up here as a Guest Post.

By the way, if you haven’t already, make sure to read Dusty Gedge’s June 2012 guest feature article “Copenhagen, the Green City for the  Third World Green Roof Congress” here on Greenroofs.com.

If you have any questions or need any assistance, contact the WGRC Conference Team at: wgrc2012@tfigroup.com and 0044 207 808 5617.

We wish Dusty, CIRIA and all the attendees a wonderful and successful  World Green Roof Congress, Copenhagen 2012!

Happy Greening,

~ Linda V.

Greenroofs.com”™s “This Week in Review” on GreenroofsTV: August 5, 2011

August 12, 2011 at 11:59 pm

Each week you can expect to learn What’s New here on Greenroofs.com through our “This Week in Review” video.  Here’s the transcript from August 5, 2011 from our daughter, Anjuli – 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 this week, August 5th, 2011 on GreenroofsTV.

Project of the Week

– Our project of the week is the  ACROS Fukuoka Prefectural International Hall built in 1994 in Fukuoka, Japan – and it’s one of the earliest contemporary examples of creating living architecture with plants within the greenroof & Wall industry!  Architect Emilio Ambasz designed a 100,000-square-meter park in the city center onto 15 stepped terraces of the ACROS, or “Asian Crossroads Over the Sea,” building. Underneath the park’s fifteen one-story terraces is over one million square feet of multipurpose space with an exhibition hall, a museum, a 2,000-seat proscenium theater, conference facilities, governmental and private offices, and several underground levels of parking and retail space. Along the edge of the park, the building steps up, floor-by-floor, in an arrangement of low, landscaped terraces. Each terrace floor contains an assortment of gardens for meditation, relaxation, and escape from the congestion of the city, while the top terrace becomes a grand beautiful view of the bay of Fukuoka and the surrounding mountains. A stepped series of reflecting pools on the terraces are connected by upwardly spraying jets of water, to create a ladder-like climbing waterfall to cover-up the ambient noise of the city beyond.

– To learn more about the ACROS Fukuoka Prefectural International Hall  , click on our project of the week photo on our homepage.

What’s New“

–   There are only 5 days left to pre-register for our Greenroofs & Walls of the World Virtual Summit 2011 – Connecting the Planet + Living Architecture: People, Projects & Design. Pre-register by August 10th and to be eligible to win an iPad2!  If you want to know the latest news about the event search for #virtualsummit2011 on Twitter.

–  Industry News:    The Louisville Metro Council unanimously passed an ordinance adopting changes to the Land Development Code sponsored by Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh. The changes also encourage builders & developers to orient their buildings to account for the sun, reduce energy used on lighting and to reduce surface water runoff by using green roofs or adding open space.

–   Joblinks Update:    Apex Green Roofs is seeking a Green Roof Installer for a job position in Somerville, Massachusetts.

–   Head over to the Sky Gardens blog to read Linda’s latest posts: “GGW Virtual Summit 2011: Connecting with Content!,” “Go Green with Greenroofs and Patrick Carey!” where Patrick, who’s one of our contributing editors here, is interviewed, “Greenroofs.com’s “˜This Week in Review’ on GreenroofsTV: July 29th, 2011,” and our GPW.

– “Upcoming Events“

–   August 7th: is the Salt Spring’s Eco-Living and Home Tour in Salt Springs Island, British Columbia, Canada.

–   August 7th-10th: is GovEnergy 2011 – The Premier Energy Training Workshop and Trade Show for Federal Agencies in Cincinnati, Ohio.

–   August 7th-12th: is the 96th Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America in Austin, Texas.

–   And, as you should know by now, August 23rd & 24th: is our Greenroofs & Walls of the World Virtual Summit 2011 held online around the world!

–   And check out our homepage for more Upcoming Events!

– “In the News“

–   Dean Fosdick of the nwitimes.com says “”˜Living walls’ are a great backdrops for floral tapestry.” Landscaper Darien Ball built a living wall to highlight the Tiffany stained-glass lamp exhibit at the Biltmore Estate this summer with colorful vegetation. The vertical garden has 6 by 24 feet floral tapestry panels and was made with a plant-by-numbers system. The colors are those of butterflies, tree branches and dragonflies, all staples of the Tiffany lamps, windows, vases and bowls that were created for the wealthy in the late 19th century. Lorrie Baird, a senior gardener who cares for another living wall at Longwood Gardens says that gardeners can create their own living walls at home. There are kits with planters, water barriers, pumps and soaker hoses are available via the Internet.

–   Melissa Jenco of TribLocal reports on “Library installs green rooftop.” The Gail Borden Public Library planted a message of sustainability that will help to absorb rainwater, produce oxygen and provide extra insulation for its building. Due to the added layer of insulation, director of marketing, development and communications, Denise Raleigh said the library expects some energy savings and that they will be happy with any kind of savings, even if its small, because they see themselves as a kind of a leader or partner in sustainability in Elgin, Illinois. For a first hand view, library goers can see the greenery from Studio 270 or the Literacy Connection or they can also ask a member of the communication staff at the administration office on the second floor to check it out.

– 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 August 5th, 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.

GPW: ACROS Fukuoka Prefectural International Hall

August 12, 2011 at 10:59 pm

Greenroofs.com Project of the Week: 8/1/11
ACROS Fukuoka
Prefectural International Hall
Fukuoka, Japan
1,049,406 sf. Greenroof

Year: 1994
Owner: Dai-Ichi Mutual Life Mitsui Real Estate
Location: Fukuoka, Japan
Building Type: Commercial
Type: Intensive
System: Single Source Provider
Size: 1,049,406 sq.ft.
Slope: 2%
Access: Accessible, Private

Google maps link

Project Description & Details

Architect Emilio Ambasz transposed a 100,000-square-meter park in the city center onto 15 stepped terraces of the ACROS, “Asian Crossroads Over the Sea,” Fukuoka Prefectural International Hall. The design for ACROS Fukuoka proposes a powerful new solution for a common urban problem: reconciling a developer’s desire for profitable use of a site with the public’s need for open green space. The plan for Fukuoka fulfills both needs in one structure by creating an innovative agro-urban model.

Its north face presents an elegant urban facade with a formal entrance appropriate to a building on the most prestigious street in Fukuoka’s financial district. The south side of the Hall extends an existing park through its series of terraced gardens that climb the full height of the building. Along the edge of the park, the building steps up, floor-by-floor, in a stratification of low, landscaped terraces. Each terrace floor contains an array of gardens for meditation, relaxation, and escape from the congestion of the city, while the top terrace becomes a grand belvedere, providing an incomparable view of the bay of Fukuoka and the surrounding mountains. Growing media depths range between 12″ and 24″.

Designers/Manufacturers of Record

Architect: Emilio Ambasz, Emilio Ambasz and Associates, Inc.
Associate Architect: Nihon Sekkei
Landscape Architect: Nihon Sekkei Takenaka Corporation
Engineer: Nihon Sekkei Takenaka Corporation
Engineering Consultant: Plantago Corporation
System Manufacturer: Katamura Tekko Company

Additional Info

The city-owned site was the last large undeveloped plot in central Fukuoka.  The city chose to develop the site in joint venture with private enterprise and the plan was for a commercial developer to lease the land for sixty years and construct the building. A portion of the building’s space would be devoted to public and municipal operations including a symphony hall; the remaining allowable space would be revenue-producing with various offices, shops and commercial enterprises.

At the same time, the competing developers sought to maximize income potential of the large land mass.  Yet the architect was concerned about the effect of the development on adjacent 100 meters by 250 meters Tenjin Central Park, the only green open-space left in that part of the city. To the maximum extent possible, the architect wanted to give back to Fukuoka’s citizens all the land the building would subtract from the city.

The Google Aerial view below really puts the massive scale of the greening project into perspective:

Architect Emilio Ambasz “was awarded this commission for successfully achieving reconciliation between these two opposing desires: doubling the size of the park while providing the city of Fukuoka with a powerful symbolic structure at its center,” (Architecture News Plus).  Below is the more formal, glass-fronted street-facing facade directed at the financial district area:

Emilio Ambasz, a highly accoladed early pioneer in the field of green architecture, achieved this by planting vegetation on the all the stepped planes, in effect mitigating the negative effect of the building footprint completely.  By replacing 100% of the land that the building displaced with vegetation, ACROS is organically integrated into the site – an example of Ambasz’s “Green Over the Grey” philosophy.

“I see my task as an architect as that of reconciling our man-made Nature with the organic one we have been given.” ~ Emilio Ambasz

I had the pleasure of meeting the indomitable (and sarcastically witty) Emilio in Singapore last November, and in his keynote address at the Skyrise Greenery Conference he explained that he has never set out to design a greenwall on a structure – they are all simply greenroofs, planted horizontally with cascading vegetation covering the vertical surfaces.  To learn a little more about him, read “The Elusive Mr. Ambasz,” a great interview of Emilio in Architect Magazine by Vernon Mays of July 31, 2009.

Photographer Hiromi Watanabe captured some really stunning photos of the ACROS for Ambasz and Associates – this is probably his most famous below.  We featured this photo of the ACROS in the 2008 Greenroofs of the World™ Calendar:

The $380 million award-winning (Business Week / Architectural Record Award, 2000; DuPont Benedictus Award, 2001; and the Japan Institute of Architects Certificate of Environmental Architecture, First Prize, 2001) ACROS is 60 meters high with 14 floors above ground and four below – and one of the largest buildings in the world whose surfaces are covered in greenery.  Due to its shape on the park-facing southern side, it’s not surprisingly also called a “step garden.”  It consists of 13 levels with widths between 120 to 98 meters (depending on the level), a depth of six meters, and with 76 varieties of 37,000 short trees planted ranging in height from 1.7 to 1.9 meters.

As you can imagine, its monumental green beauty is just one of its many beneficial features.  In September 2000, the Takenaka Corporation, Kyushu University, and Nippon Institute of Technology jointly carried out a thermal environment measurement survey, proving that rooftop gardens are effective in alleviating the urban heat island phenomenon:

“The thermal environment measurement survey was conducted on the step garden by collecting data from longwave and shortwave radiation meters, ultrasonic three-dimensional wind speed and temperature meters and scintillometers set up on the top, tenth, sixth and fifth levels.” ~ Heat Island Phenomenon Proven to Be Alleviated by Rooftop Greening, Takenaka Corporation

The study found the following: a difference of 15°C between the surface temperatures of the concrete, coming to the obvious conclusion that the greenery and greening suppresses a rise in the surrounding air temperature.

Yet sometimes the news of obvious charms is slow coming to the rest of the world:

“…the building is a success in its native land, its terraced south facade utilized by many in the area for exercise and rest, affording views of the city and the harbor beyond.  Unfortunately it has received little press overseas, especially in the United States, a country without Japan’s starvation for usable land.”  ~ A Weekly Dose of Architecture, December, 2000 – their early photos below:

That may have been an early sentiment, but for those of us in the sustainable design field, the ACROS has always been a stunning example of sensitive site planning and integration of nature into the built environment, and remains an iconic building of green, blending and blurring the distinction of vertical and horizontal planes. Typical of Emilio Ambasz’s projects, ACROS Fukuoka Prefectural International Hall is a very powerful synthesis of urban and park forms.

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.