Our New Sky Gardens ~ Greenroofs of the World™ WebTV Video Premiere & GPW: Cook+Fox Architects, LLP

April 20, 2011 at 9:31 am

Greenroofs.com Project of the Week: 4/18/11
Cook+Fox Architects, LLP
New York, NY, USA
3,600 sf. Greenroof

Year:  2006
Client/Owner: Cook+Fox Architects
Location: New York, NY, USA
Building Type: Corporate
Type: Extensive, Test/Research
System:  Custom
Size: 3,600 sq.ft.  
Slope: 2%
Access: Accessible, Private

Project Description & Details

In the summer of 2006, Cook+Fox Architects decided to set a greener, healthier example with a roof that absorbs stormwater, lowers surface temperature, and benefits both the local ecosystem and the human environment.  Having grown rapidly, the firm had recently moved to an 8th floor penthouse of a former upscale department store in the Ladies’ Mile Historic District in Manhattan.  The new space looked onto a sizeable terrace-level rooftop, but it was coated in black tar.  While the owners of the building were open to the proposed greenroof, they were concerned about the integrity of their existing roof membrane and building drainage system.

For these reasons, they were interested in a flexible system that could be moved later if necessary.  Green Paks, a modular greenroof system by Green Roof Blocks, was installed with eight types of Sedums and Talinum on the architects’ headquarters.  Two years later the roof did leak, and a new roof was needed.  Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the Cook+Fox Architects LLP Office is that it is the first known modular greenroof system to have been entirely removed with new waterproofing installed, and then re-installed in the fall of 2008 to great success without having to dig up a single plant, let alone incurring the cost of a new greenroof system!

Designers/Manufacturers of Record

Architect: Cook+Fox Architects
Modular Greenroof System: Green Paks by Green Roof Blocks
Landscape Designer: Jost Greenhouses
Plant Supplier: Emory Knoll Farms and Jost Greenhouses
Growing Media: McEnroe Organic Farm
Monitoring: Paul S. Mankiewicz, Gaia Institute
Greenroof Consultant: Kelly Luckett, Green Roof Blocks

Cost was also an initial issue for Cook+Fox, which was another reason the lower price option Green Paks were so attractive.  Along with a host of other sustainability issues,  Mayor Bloomberg introduced important incentives for rooftop greening with their comprehensive and sweeping PlaNYC  – add that to the fact that 20+ Cook+Fox volunteer architects actually installed and planted the  880 Green Paks, and you’ll understand how they kept the total costs down, plus were vested in its future from the beginning!

See some photos below of the initial installation and the first couple of seasons from the Flickr account of  one of the architects at the time, Shelby Elizabeth Doyle:

Learn all about Cook+Fox’s entire pre- and post Green Pak design considerations and installation experience plus learn about what NYC has been doing to promote sustainability and  greenroof construction by watching the premiere of our WebTV episode “Sky Gardens ~ Greenroofs of the World™: Cook+Fox Architects Office” on Earth Day – this Friday, April 22, 2011 here on GreenroofsTV!

Two years in the making, join me  as we film on location in New York City and St. Louis and interview the client/owner Cook+Fox‘s Senior Associate Mark Rusitzky; Rohit T. “Rit” Aggarwala, Former Director, Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability at the Office of the Mayor of the City of New York (2006-2010); Plant Consultant Vic Jost of Jost Greenhouses; and  Kelly Luckett, President of  Green Roof Blocks.

Find out how the Cook+Fox greenroof has fared since the Green Paks  re-installation!

Watch the Trailer here.

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.

Watch the Premiere of Sky Gardens ~ Greenroofs of the World!

November 3, 2009 at 3:25 pm

After a long 16 months,  the first episode of our WebTV series Sky Gardens ~ Greenroofs of the World will be up and ready to see on Sunday, November 8, 2009.   You can watch Episode 1: Rock Mill Park on the Greenroofs.TV Channel on Greenroofs.com and YouTube.     Download our Press Release here.

Episode 1 Screenshot

The Sky Gardens ~ Greenroofs of the World video series grew naturally out of my previous column “Sky Gardens ~Travels in Landscape Architecture” which ran from June, 2003 through April, 2006 here on Greenroofs.com.   With that column I was combining my various fields of expertise, and the  description read:

“What do you get when you cross a landscape in the sky with an ecological designer, greenroof website publisher, and an international flight attendant?   Why, a column entitled “Sky Gardens ~ Travels in Landscape Architecture” of course!   Welcome to the ramblings of my unique bird’s eye perspective of the world, as I continue to visit new cities and noteworthy landscape architecture projects ~ both at ground and greenroof level.”

My hectic schedule proved too much for such an indepth column, and it evolved into  this Sky Gardens ~ where cool green meets lofty blue Blog.   But I still wanted to pursue the thought of examining greenroof projects in-depth: the who, where, what, why and how’s of the entire planning and design process.   Our oldest son, Joey, is a screenwriter with film experience and so with  the help of his film production company,  Red Hand Productions, last year I decided to channel this vision into a more visual medium – video.

We selected one of my own designs here in Alpharetta for the first episode, and it’s been a true labor of love.   I’ve been involved with the Rock Mill Park project since 1999 when I interned as a student of landscape architecture with the City of Alpharetta.   I was thrilled when my design for “Celebrating Ecological Design in a Native Landscape” became a reality with construction of The Greenroof Pavilion and Trial Gardens of Rock Mill Park in 2007.   So many talented and generous people contributed to this endeavor, and being able to film and share this project built on such an environmentally sensitive and culturally important former Cherokee-owned site was an honor for me.   See 2008’s Love the Earth: Plant a Roof! and What I Did on My Summer Vacation”¦ for a little more background info.

 Rock Mill Park in the 1830's

Rock Mill Park in the 2000's

I think you’ll enjoy our first episode, where we interviewed many people involved in the project and filmed on site at Rock Mill Park; Alpharetta City Hall at Mayor Arthur Lechtas’ office; the City of Alpharetta Engineering/Public Works Department; the historic Log Cabin  at the former site of Milton High School; Saul Nurseries “Swamp” location; and the former Cherokee capital, New Echota in Calhoun, GA, now a Historic Site.

Overhead view of Rock Mill Park; Photo by Harris Hatcher

We’ve had some trials and tribulations along the way, but that just makes it more special now that it’s done!   On November 8 you can see Episode 1: Rock Mill Park in four 10-minute installments on our home page and the Greenroofs.TV page on our website, where they will be added to the Greenroofs.com playlist on the greenroofstv channel on YouTube, found at http://www.youtube.com/greenroofstv.   All four videos will be lined up in order for easy viewing.

Look for our second Sky Gardens ~ Greenroofs of the World episode which highlights the gorgeous Cook+Fox Architects LLP  corporate headquarters in Manhattan, NY, and details some of the greening initiatives that New York City is spearheading, coming soon to GreenroofsTV!

~ Linda V.