Post-Safari reflections

September 30, 2008 at 4:59 pm

So much for blogging while on the road! Two weeks have passed since Green Roof Safari ended, and I’m only getting caught up now. That said, after the Safari ended, I got swept up by the World Green Roof Congress, and then by a week in a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Grosses Walsertal. Apologies, as I digress (but must admit they are nice memories!!).

This blog posting is meant to share some reflections of the Safari. Since I’m only skimming the 6 day study tour, please don’t hesitate to send me your questions, either as a comment (at the bottom of this posting), or via email.

Hundertwasser Waldspirale

T-Mobile in Stuttgart

A wetland roof at Gemperle AG.

For its first run, Green Roof Safari visited between 4 and 6 sites a day, with a range of project designs which included Hundertwasser, intensive public spaces, extensive Sedum ‘deserts’ and ecologically designed roof habitats. For integrative, holistic projects, we visited two sustainable communities –Scharnhauser Park (near Stuttgart) and the Vauban District of Freiburg. Both are former military barracks remodeled for efficiency and mixed-use.

The tour met with a number of local experts representing policy and municipal campaigning, green roof design, research, and installation. The tour is indebted to the generosity of Stephan Brenneisen (Zurich University of Applied Sciences), John Doeveling (City Stuttgart), Christian Lang (Top Gruen), Christian Mathys (City of Basel), as well as our colleagues at Gemperle AG. Thanks also to Hotel Contel and Hotel Abalon for entertaining our curiosties.

We had great weather the whole trip, right up until the last day. And then, my, did the weather turn BAD! The downpour was torrential, and relentless. Nonetheless, we visited some unbelievable living facade projects in Zurich-Oerlikon. Doesn’t Brent’s red umbrella add a nice touch to MFO Park?

Brent is miniaturized in this grandiose park of living facades.

The night spent in the Alps, on the Rigi at 1,500 m above sea level, was literally in the clouds, so we didn’t get much of a view. Not of the Alps across Lake Lucerne, and hardly even of the little green roof bar on the terrace. Still, we knew that through the haze was the representing ‘green roof above 1000 m’. The photo below was taken in early August.

There is not a date for Green Roof Safari 2009 yet, but stay tuned to the website. Please don’t hesitate with questions or inquiries, and I’d love to hear any comments below.

Truly,

~ Christine

Green Roof Safari – we’re rolling!

September 7, 2008 at 3:12 pm

After months’ worth of planning and organization, this Sunday night I find myself in a green roofed hotel in Darmstadt, Germany. Tomorrow Green Roof Safari will run its first day, and I’m hoping everything unfolds as it ought. As does our small group of jet lagged participants, I’m sure!

Tomorrow, we’ll launch the itinerary with a colourful bang – Hundertwasser ‘Waldspirale’.

 

The Waldspirale (“Forest Spiral”) in Darmstadt is a remarkable achievement of an original Hundertwasser concept, truly representing the Austrian artist-architect-ecologist’s goal of “harmony with nature”.

A flowering meadow, interspersed with trees and shrubs, carries the visitor from ground-level slowly upwards in a horseshoe shape, eventually reaching a tower 40 m above ground.

From Darmstadt, we’ll proceed south to Pforzheim, where we’ll visit the FBB-green roof of the year (2006). The Schloessle Galerie Pforzheim is an intensive green roof atop a shopping centre, and is an island of green surrounded by densely packed houses. At 7,000 m2, the green roof includes lawn, a bamboo ring, plant caverns, a playground, an Amelanchier grove, and walkways.

From Pforzheim we’ll continue to Stuttgart – the first city in the world to   promote green roofs with financial incentives (since 1986).   We’ll spend 2 nights here.

My Green Roof Safari partner, Joerg Breuning, is originally from Stuttgart.   Joerg has been working with green roofs from apprenticeship through his own business for over 25 years. And I lived in Stuttgart for a year, on a year abroad at Uni Hohenheim. At the time (1997), I didn’t even know what green roofs were, quite happy with a summer job working in the botanical garden.

On Tuesday morning we’ll meet John Doeveling, Garden Architect for Stuttgart’s Office of Gardens, Cemetaries and Forests.   One of Doeveling’s jobs in Stuttgart is to coordinate, care and control Stuttgart’s incentive program for privately-owned green roofs.   We’ll spend the rest of the day packing in as many green roofs and views as possible!

From Stuttgart we’ll head to Freiburg and visit with Christian Lang, who was my internship supervisor back in 2002. It will be great to meet with Christian again, and check out some of the projects in the area.

I’ll try to write more when we get to Basel.. some reflections on Germany before the Swiss goodness kicks in!

Stay tuned,

Christine