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.

 
 

GPW: Unilever Corporate Headquarters

May 26, 2011 at 4:57 pm

Greenroofs.com Project of the Week: 5/23/11
Unilever Corporate Headquarters
Englewood Cliffs, NJ, USA
16,000  sf. Greenroof

Year: 2009
Owner: Unilever
Location: EJ, USA
Building Type: Corporate
Type: Extensive
System: Custom
Size: 16,000 sq.ft.  
Slope: 1%
Access: Inaccessible, Private

Google Map: http://goo.gl/maps/7KkH

Project Description & Details

HDR was commissioned to assist Unilever in the relocation of approximately 400 employees to their campus at Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.  A major renovation of the facilities would be required to support the consolidation and maintain the Unilever Headquarters image. The green roof project was an outgrowth of updating the facility and promoted Unilever’s proactive stand on sustainability.

The Unilever Green Roof Project is a 16,000 SF membrane roof retrofit over a 4-story office building.  13,000 SF of the green roof resides over the 3rd floor and the remaining 3,000 SF resides between two open atriums over the 2nd floor.  Specific project challenges involved high visibility from adjacent conference and executive office space; existing railings that did not meet current building codes; existing roof leaks; minimal roof slope; concrete waffle slab structure; and existing load capacity.  A new Hydrotech monolithic membrane system with an extensive LiveRoof pre-vegetated tray system including 15 types of Sedum and one Delosperma was implemented.

Designers/Manufacturers of Record

Architect/Engineer: HDR, Inc.
Modular Greenroof System: LiveRoof
Waterproofing Manufacturer: American Hydrotech
Waterproofing Contractor: Grandview Waterproofing Inc.
Greenroof Contractor: Parker Urban Greenscapes
LiveRoof Grower/Nursery: Creek Hill Nursery
Rooftop Pavers: Hanover Architectural Products
Edge Resistant Systems: Permaloc

 

Additional Info

HDR, Inc.’s work included a full renovation of a 1970’s vintage office space, as well as 24,000 square feet of new construction for modern office areas.  They also created a central campus conference center and renovated the 16,000-square-foot 700 Campus cafeteria.

Special emphasis on the design was placed on developing interaction among the various business groups; “engagement areas” allow employees to come together and explore product innovations and marketing strategies; site planning also included  a “vitality trail” around the campus.

See the Unilever roof below before the greenroof, during the waterproofing phase, and after.  Read HDR, Inc.’s case study  here.


This is not the first commitment from Unilever to green architecture.  In fact, their European headquarters located in Hamburg, Germany’s HafenCity on the Elbe River, is considered much more than an office complex. Designed by Behnisch Architects, the vision is for it to act as an extension of a new burgeoning city core.  Envisioned like a vertical village, the huge inside atrium embraces tons of natural light, supplemented by super efficient LED interior lights.  Read more about this at Inhabitat: “Unilever’s Energy Efficient Office is One of the Greenest in Europe.”

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.

 


GPW: SeQuentials Biofueling Retail Station

May 20, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Greenroofs.com Project of the Week: 5/16/11
SeQuential’s Biofueling Retail Station
Eugene, OR, USA
1,900  sf. Greenroof

Year: 2006
Owner: SeQuential Biofuels
Location: Eugene, OR, USA
Building Type: Commercial
Type: Extensive
System: Custom
Size: 1,900 sq.ft.  
Slope: 17%
Access: Inaccessible, Private

Project Description & Details

SeQuential is an innovative company that produces fuel for vehicles predominately from off season farming of canola oil and agricultural and industry waste.  Completed in September, 2006, the SeQuential Biofuel Station is a demonstration in realistic, feasible, and sustainable technologies featuring examples of real world solutions that reduce energy usage and impacts on local water quality.  These features include solar panels on the fuel pump canopies, passive solar design of the convenience store, and a vegetated roof that is part of a site-stormwater system including bioswales and a detention pond.

The living roof contains over 4,800 individual plants in 5 inches of growing media. The layer of plants and engineered soil reflects sunshine and acts as insulation, keeping the interior building space cooler during the summer months.  In addition to being project managers, Habitats, Inc. staff designed the fuel station site plan, landscape and stormwater features, and designed, installed and planted the vegetated roof.  They researched available grant funding, explored LEED certification and worked with local and state planners to secure permits for the project.

Designers/Manufacturers of Record

Site and Landscape Design & Green Roof Design and Installation:
Sarah Whitney, Habitats, Inc.
Architect: Susan Hill, Tate Hill Jacobs
Mechanical, Plumbing and Electrical: Solarc Architecture and Engineering
Solar Array Design and Installation: Weber Elliott Engineers
Transportation and Sanitation Planning: Branch Engineering
General Contractor: Pacific Northwest Environmental
Solar Array Design and Installation: Vince McClellan, Energy Design
Site Remediation: Oregon Department of Environmental Quality

Additional Info

SeQuential Biofuels is a Portland fuel company born in a Eugene garage in 2000 when co-founders Ian Hill and Tomas Endicott were home-brewing biodiesel, and in 2006 became the first all-biofuel station in the Northwest, and eco-friendly to boot.  And it was a huge help that Ian’s mother, Susan Hill of Tate Hill Jacobs, was the architect.

“It is our mission to lead the renewable fuels movement in the Pacific Northwest by expanding the awareness of the economic and environmental benefits of domestically produced biofuels.    It is our vision to offer retail options and promote quality sustainable fuel alternatives to answer consumer’s growing demand for choice. It is our goal to see biofuel regionally produced and regionally consumed.” ~  SeQuential Biofuels

Today, SeQuential’s Biofueling Retail Station is a mixed-use  property that provides biodiesel fuels to a growing fleet of environmentally friendly vehicles but in 2005, along with other programs, SeQuential used an EPA brownfield cleanup grant – the first of this type – to remediate the former gas station.

Many participants were involved, including Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), SeQuential Biofuels, U.S. EPA Region 10, Lane County Property Management, Lane County Board of Commissioners, Oregon Economic and Community Development Department, and the Oregon Department of Energy.  Also known as the “Lane County – Sequential  Biofuels Project,” in 2007 it received the Phoenix Award Special Recognition for Energy Innovation.  Read about the award and  their huge efforts here.

The station offers  five blends of biofuels: E10, E85 (bioethanol), B5, B20, and B99 (biodiesel)- the numbers after “E and B” indicate the percentage mix of ethanol to gasoline, and biodiesel to petroleum diesel, respectively.  A  33.6 kilowatt BIPV canopy with 224 solar modules (some with clear backing to allow the sunlight to shine through)  shelters the pumps, providing up to half of the station’s electricity.  The convenience store design takes advantage of passive solar heat and lighting to reduce energy needs and according to the customers, one of the biggest attractions of the store is the selection of products sold inside the Biofuels Station: a 60-40 mix of natural and conventional foods which include fair-trade coffee, natural sodas, and seasonal organic produce.

“Most people’s perceptions of gas stations are that they are dirty, dingy places, but that’s not always true.” ~ Ian Hill, co founder of SeQuential Biofuels in  Biodiesel Magazine

Obviously, that’s not the case here!  And because the station is just 1,000 feet from the Willamette River, concerns with runoff were great.  The extensive living roof is highly visible with its 2:12 roof slope and is  planted with a mix of Oregon species of low-growing succulents, bulbs for seasonal colors, and wildflowers.  Working in tandem with the greenroof are the vegetated bioswales to further intercept runoff as well as capture pollution and silt.

And educational signage informs the visiting public of the many eco features:

Continuing their  commitment to cleaner energy, SeQuential Biofuels added a second station in Portland, Oregon, utilizing a sizable grant from the City of Portland. Oregon’s biodiesel industry has benefited greatly from a wide array of tools and incentives to foster the development of a robust local biofuels market, including Portland’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). As in the case of greenroofs – or ecoroofs –  Portland is a leader in this arena, too, by creating this market mover.  City leaders believe that biofuels offer promising benefits for both Portland and Oregon as whole, including: local and regional economic development opportunities; improved air quality; reduced greenhouse gas emissions; and decreased dependence on volatile oil supplies.

Currently, the RFS requires that all diesel fuel sold in the city as well as the entire state contain a minimum of 5% biodiesel or B5 (and that all gasoline contain a minimum of 10% ethanol, E10) – the first city in the U.S. to do so.  A proposed  City of Portland standard for all biofuel to contain a minimum blend of 10% biodiesel (B10) effective mid 2010 was temporarily suspended by the Portland City Council due to economic and technical circumstances, so it has reverted to B5 for now.  All of the biodiesel sold in the City of Portland must meet  ASTM quality standards.

Biodiesel costs about 50 cents more per gallon than petroleum diesel, but is renewable and better for the environment.  When burned, the fuel produces less carbon dioxide than petroleum and is made in part from recycled materials.  Putting their money where their mouth is, the Portland Water Bureau’s own fleet has used B20, B50 and B99 blends for a few years, which has been a huge incentive for providers like SeQuential Biofuels.

Read more from SeQuential Biofuels here, including the list of awards, and see the case study and more photos  from the designers of the living roof and other stormwater features, Habitats, Inc.,  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.

Greenroofs.com’s “This Week in Review” on GreenroofsTV: March 18th, 2011

March 18, 2011 at 10:00 pm

Our daughter, Anjuli Velazquez, 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.     She’s become quite popular, and we thought it would be a great idea to start posting her transcript, too, to make things easier to research.   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 March 18th, 2011 on GreenroofsTV.

Project of the Week

–   Our Project of the Week is The Department Store, Stephen Marr Hair Salon Greenwall built in 2009 in Takapuna, New Zealand.  In 2010 The Department Store was named top retail concept store in the world by Monocle magazine.   One of the centerpieces of the store is the lush interior greenwall on the top floor.  The double-sided greenwall, designed and installed by Natural Habitats Landscapes, is New Zealand’s first interior greenwall.   The wall is 10 meters long by 2 meters high and boasts well over 1,000 individual plants.  It divides the upper level, promoting unique spaces that can be used for presentations like fashion shows.  The building has had skylights installed to ensure the wall is given as much natural light as possible, and so the use of supplementary man-made lighting is kept at a minimum.   This greenwall is an original and breathtaking piece of artwork, but also offers some incredible environmental benefits, like: increased thermal insulation to buildings, noise dampening, and creating cleaner and better quality air, which means healthier buildings and people.   From a commercial perspective, the greenwall increases the building’s value and has also been found to raise employee productivity.

–   To learn more about The Department Store, Stephen Marr Hair Salon Greenwall, click on our project of the week photo on our homepage.

–   “What’s New“

–   Check out Linda’s latest Sky Gardens Blog posts about the New Zealand greenwall, and the “CitiesAlive 2011 Call for Paper and Poster Abstracts.”   Green Roofs for Healthy Cities is pleased to be working with the City of Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society as co-hosts for CitiesAlive, the 9th Annual Green Roof & Wall Conference to be held later this year in Philadelphia from November 29th to December 3rd.   GRHC says they’re looking for papers that display novel ideas on taking a green approach to storm water management through the use of green infrastructure, indoor greening and residential green infrastructure.   All applications are due by April 15th, and for more information you can visit this blog post and/or e-mail Luna Ghose at lghose@greenroofs.org.

–   Do you think green walls can’t survive in the cold; they don’t look good in the winter, they are only viable in the south or indoors”¦ well, think again!   Contributing Editor George Irwin writes about Winter Interest with Green Walls in his latest column and shows some pretty interesting photos of various looks.

–   Advertiser Press Release: Irrigation Water Technologies America, Inc. recently signed an exclusive agreement with Australia-based Irrigation Water Technologies to manufacture and distribute the revolutionary water conserving KISSS product in North America.

–   Green Roof Jobs:   Joy Kuebler Landscape Architect is seeking resumes for a Landscape Architect/Designer with 5-6 years experience for their busy Buffalo, NY office, so make sure to check this job and many others in JobLinks if you’re looking to work in our industry!

–   “Upcoming Events“

–   March 18th – 27th: is the WMG Water Harvesting Certification in Phoenix, Arizona.

–   March 22nd: is the 2011 Green Roof Technology Workshop in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

–   March 23rd – 27th: is the San Francisco Flower & Garden Show in San Mateo, California.

–   March 24th – 27th: is a Green Roofs for  Healthy Cities – Green Roof Boot Camp in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

–   March 25th – 26th: is the GreenScaped Buildings Spring Open House in San Diego, California.

–   March 25th – 27th: is the Better Living Show – Home, Garden & Lifestyle in Portland, Oregon.

–   And don’t forget that on Saturday, March 26, 2011 at 8:30 PM (local time, wherever you are), lights will switch off around the globe for Earth Hour and people will commit to actions that go beyond the hour.   With Earth Hour almost upon us, the organization’s thoughts, as well as ours, are with the people of Japan during this incredibly challenging and sad time for their country.

–   “In the News“

–   Kathleen E. Carey of the Delaware County Daily Times reports on “Green LEEDs to platinum: SAP America earns distinction for utilizing environmental sources for newest building.”  The Newtown Square campus of SAP America Inc. in Delaware County is holding one of the highest environmentally sustainable distinctions in the world with its new Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platinum level construction.  Just some of the features that have led to its LEED Platinum certification are: its entry to the building – the passageway features a floor comprised of recycled materials, including seashells and pieces of crushed bottles and glass; glass panels surrounding the building with the goal of directing 90 percent of daylight to reach 75 percent of the employees; underneath the floors are tubes that transfer the natural temperature of the Earth which is generated from the 10 geothermal wells in the rear of the property to the inside of the building; and a rooftop garden that spans more than 1 acre which features lavender, rosemary, sedum and butterfly bushes.

–   Katie Kosier of Care2.com talks about “Removing Barriers to Green Building.”  With the help of Philadelphia based Re:Vision Architecture, Pennsylvania’s largest electric and natural gas utility company, PECO, installed a 45,000-square-foot vegetated green roof on its headquarters in central Philadelphia.  It’s the largest in urban Pennsylvania and the roof absorbs more than 1.5 million gallons of rainwater runoff annually, it reduces air temperature in the summer and   it also provides a beautiful habitat for wildlife.   Principle Scott Kelly of RVA, says “For us, it’s about removing barriers to green building.”   You can find more information about the PECO Greenroof in our International Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database by typing in Project ID number 851.

–   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.

–   By the way, did you know that now you can watch YouTube videos just like this one on DirecTV?  That’s fun!

–   Still haven’t picked up one of our 2011 Greenroofs & Walls of the World 12 Month Wall Calendar yet?   Go to greenroofs.com/calendar.htm and order some today!   Thanks to George Irwin for this great photo!

–   This has been This Week in Review for March 18th, 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.