Thank You to Our Sponsors and the Winner of the 2nd iPad2 at the Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 is…

September 30, 2011 at 1:33 pm’s inaugural  Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 was simply awesome!

Thank you to our Rare Earth Sponsor, TREMCO, for making it a reality, especially Ralph Velasquez!  Ralph, Executive Director of Sustainability with  Tremco,  was one of our Keynote Speakers and created a wonderful video presentation about CSR – Corporate Social Responsibility.

Also, we are very grateful to the support of our Emerald Sponsor, American Hydrotech.  Richard C. Hayden, RLA, ASLA, CLARB, is the Garden Roof Department Manager at  American Hydrotech and  shared some amazing projects and experience with “Sloped and Complex Green Roofs.”

As you already know the winner of our first iPad2 given away for early bird registrants was James Neville of Neville Environmental Services from Vancouver, B.C., Canada…

Without further ado, the winner of the second Apple iPad2 is…

Kira Udo, Student at Georgia Perimeter College!

Kira lives in Roswell, Georgia, just a stone’s throw from us here in Alpharetta. She is studying French with a concentration in Business Administration.  She’s interested in greenwalls and loves the work of Patrick Blanc.  Congratulations!

All of the content of the  Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 is available online through October 28, 2011. That includes the:

Tremco Meeting Room;
Tremco Booth in the International Pavilion;
American Hydrotech Booth in the North American Pavilion;
All of our other Exhibitor Booths in The Expo Pavilions including Grant Associates, Green Living Technologies, Green Roof Blocks, GreenGrid Roofs, Green Roof Plants, ILD, J-DRain, and Roofmeadow;
The Associates Booths at the Associate Pavilion;
The featured presentations and expert panel discussions with live Q & A records in the Rare Earth Auditorium;
and the rest of our stellar cast of  international  luminaries in the On Demand Auditorium.

It’s certainly not too late to register and see all of these amazing speakers and their interaction with our audience!  Registration will be open through October 28, 2011.

Here’s what one attendee had to say afterwards:

“Thank you for hosting the Virtual Summit 2011.  The event was extremely useful to me.  I’ve been working with green roofs here in Florida since 1995 and feel I learned more in two days than in most years since the time I first started growing plants way back, on a tin roof.

Most importantly though, the enthusiasm and success of others was so very important.

Here in Florida we lag behind the rest of the nation and the world.  But that is changing.  I know green roofs here will evolve just as beautifully and successfully as elsewhere.

Just seeing the inspirational work of others gave me the boost I needed.  Thank you and Aramis and the staff and speakers.  The Virtual Summit 2011 showed the world the importance of your outreach and informational organization.” ~ Kevin Songer

Thanks, Kevin!  If you  weren’t  able to join us live, we hope you will still sign up and enjoy the 32 presentations at your leisure through October 28!

See you at a physical conference somewhere in the world soon, and remember,

Love the Earth, Plant a Roof!

~ Linda V.

GPW: Musée du quai Branly

September 26, 2011 at 12:07 am Project of the Week: 9/19/11
Musée du quai Branly Greenwall
Paris, France
8,600 sf. Greenwall


Year: 2005
Owner: Musée du quai Branly
Location: Paris, France
Building Type: Museum
Type: Living Wall
System: Single Source Provider
Size: 8,600 sq.ft.
Slope: 100%
Access: Accessible, Open to Public

Project Description & Details

Situated close to the Eiffel Tower, the Musée du quai Branly features indigenous art, cultures and civilizations from Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas. The museum complex contains several buildings, as well as a mediatheque and a garden. The building was designed by architect Jean Nouvel, and the façade measures approximately 13,000 sf (1,200 m). Yet its most noticeable feature is the stunning and now iconic 200 m long by 12 m tall living wall covering the entire northwest façade, punctured by large windows.

Designed by Patrick Blanc using his hydroponic Le Mur Végétal system, the Musée du quai Branly greenwall is one of Blanc’s most famous vertical gardens, and one of the most highly photographed in the world. Facing the River Seine with a park and small streets in between, the micro-climate creates a good environment for a large variety of plants. A range of species were selected from the world’s main temperate zones, including North America, Europe, the Himalayas, China, Japan, Chile, and South Africa. Patrick insisted that the biodiversity represented in this vertical garden echo the cultural diversity of artists the world over, whose works were on exhibit in that very museum.

Designers/Manufacturers of Record

Architect: Jean Nouvel
Green Wall Designer: Patrick Blanc
Green Wall System: Le Mur Végétal
Planning Phase Project Director: Françoise Raynaud
Construction Project Director: Isabelle Guillauic

Google Maps Link

Additional Info

Nicknamed MQB, the Musée du quai Branly opened in June, 2006. In addition to the permanent collection, the museum hosts a variety of shows, concerts, cinema and cultural activities all year round. Behind a sound-proofed glass wall is a secluded garden where visitors can sit and relax after their tour.

At first, residents were unsure of the new living wall cloaking the four-story building, and now they are highly protective of it.

I was in Paris last year in May and of course I made sure to visit the Musée du quai Branly, not the inside, just the outside. To say I was fascinated is an understatement! As I examined plant species at eye level I started following flowing drifts of plant communities diagonally, upwards, downwards…

The building was enveloped in different shades and sizes of green, red, yellow, lilac, pink and white. I started to feel like the reflective windows were just getting in the way of the beautiful picture, yet after a while of observing the colors of the sky change and white billowy clouds pass by, the juxtaposition of modern architecture and the look of a primeval forest was somewhat surreal.


Writing in the 2006 New York Times article “Quai Branly: A perverse, magical space” Nicolai Ouroussoff says, “By contrast, the exterior of the administration building is swallowed up by a vertical carpet of exotic plants punctured by big windows. On some stories, the plants invade the building, crawling down the interior walls. (“When you put in little flowers, people are happy,” Nouvel said of his design.)”


I can see that. The building is almost magical in its irreverent disregard for the status quo of boring flat façades of “normal” buildings – the undulating plant masses, the lushness of the sensuous sweeping bands of vegetation, and the desire to touch them all draws the visitor into the façade itself, as if it were a sub-tropical forest floor on its side. Photos above and below by contributing editor Christine Thuring in 2009.


One of the very best qualities about Patrick Blanc’s works is that the plants really look like they are the structure – not just planted on top of it. Integrated design at its finest!  Patrick is a great proponent of plant biodiversity – the wall contains over 15,000 plants and 150 different species from around the world.


It was fun watching some people’s reactions as they passed by – the thoroughfare that runs along the left bank of the Seine is very close to the Eiffel Tower, and the street is heavily populated with tourists.  I guess Parisians have had a few years to become accustomed to the rather large structure and have since become nonplussed – but I noticed that most passersby had to stop, look at the wall and then touch it, as if to make sure the plants were real!


A lot of people gingerly felt the many varieties of species, and in fact Patrick Blanc told me that he and architect Jean Nouvel not only expected people to touch them, they hoped they would! Some wanted to put up a screen or see-through barrier so people couldn’t access the plants, but Patrick stood his ground and said most certainly not, that it was part of the experience to use all the senses to really appreciate this living work of art.

As a result, some portions of the living wall need to be replaced occasionally, and Patrick said he was fine with that – sometimes folks pick the “pretty flowers and leaves” and don’t realize it’s a living being.

I saw several areas where the felt had obviously been replaced and stapled in new – to be honest, I’ve seen this in numerous applications of this type of living wall system, although this is the first (but certainly not last) and only Patrick Blanc greenwall I’ve seen.

The patented Mur Végétal system has been around for about 15 years now, and there are many knock-offs.  Patrick says he’s flattered and welcomes the opportunity for others to learn from his many years of research an experience with the hydroponic system.

Paris is a refined global city always seeking new ideas and ideals, and the Musée du quai Branly is a modern museum living in this classic setting, yet it also has been designed to contradict and inspire.  Just like Patrick Blanc’s magical vertical garden wall.

“This is a museum built around a specific collection, where everything is designed to evoke an emotional response to the primary object, to protect it from light, but also to capture that rare ray of light indispensable to make it vibrate and awaken its spirituality. In a place inhabited by symbols of forests and rivers, by obsessions of death and oblivion, it is an asylum for censored and cast off works from Australia and the Americas. It is a loaded place haunted with dialogues between the ancestral spirits of men, who, in discovering their human condition, invented gods and beliefs. It is a place that is unique and strange, poetic and unsettling.” ~ Ateliers Jean Nouvel

Read about my visit with Patrick Blanc a couple of weeks ago here, and don’t miss my exclusive video interview with Patrick Blanc and his “The Vertical Garden – from Nature to Cities” video presentation at the Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 on September 27 & 28.

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.


Notre Voyage Fantastique: Chicago & Patrick Blanc

September 14, 2011 at 11:40 pm

All Photos by Caroline Menetre Unless Otherwise Noted
Story by Linda Velazquez and Caroline Menetre

Along with my son and cameraman Joey Velazquez, our contributor Caroline Menetre and I flew up to Chicago on September 10 to interview world renown French botanist, Patrick Blanc,  at the beautiful 4-star Sofitel Chicago Water Tower for the upcoming Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011.

We had an awesome time with him and  thoroughly  enjoyed our short stay in the Windy City!  Caroline goes first and then I’ll follow with my reflections:

Caroline Menetre: Last Thursday I had the fantastic opportunity and pleasure to go to Chicago with Linda and her son,  Joey  (known for his  photography and  film work – he’s also the director/videographer for the Sky Gardens – Greenroofs of the World™  videos),  for her exclusive pre-summit interview with Patrick Blanc.

Most of you devotees know of the noted French botanist and artist and his spectacular green wall installations all over the world.  I can honestly say this man’s work was (one of) the main impetuses for me going back to school in horticulture and to some day design like he does.  (I can dream, can’t I?)

There are numerous facets of Patrick’s knowledge and skills to admire, but as an artist I’m drawn to the design aesthetics, and well…he’s the master.  Each installation is a magnificent work of art.

It was an honor to meet Patrick, and a thrill to sit-in and listen to such an intimate interview and conversation.  He was enthusiastic and passionate about his work, understandably.  I aspire one day to actually see some of his installations in person. And should Atlanta ever be the lucky recipient of his work, I’ll be the first one on-site. (Linda told him I would happily volunteer for any work!)

Linda will expound on the exclusive interview with Patrick, so I will just give a brief synopsis of our quick trip.  We arrived early in the morning and went straight to the “magnifique” Hotel Sofitel for Joey (videographer extraordinaire) to set up for shooting later that day.

Patrick had two lectures that day – a master class to graduate students at the College of Architecture at the Illinois Institute of technology and the Alliance Française de Chicago (he had also given a lecture the day before at the Chicago Botanic Gardens),  so we had some time in between sessions for a quick stroll around “the greenest, most environmentally friendly city in the nation.”

I could go on and on about all of the greening and environmental efforts achieved in Chicago, but the most obvious visual aspect is the lushly planted medians and storefront streetscapes. While the average Chicago visitor marvels at the upscale boutiques, restaurants, and hotels along “The Magnificent Mile” on Michigan Avenue, I strolled the stretch with head down, scanning from curb to curb, oohing and aahing at every plant and artful planting (shops? what shops?).

Of course, I had to photograph most of them for planting inspiration, and I also saw them as beautiful floral paintings – even did some effects on a few:


During our meandering travel towards  Millennium Park, we did take a detour – into the Apple Store – to inquire if we could see their greenroof.  Not accessible to the public, we were treated to a behind the scenes tour up on the top floor where the employees can enjoy overlooking their greenroof from the huge glass expanse of their conference room.  Very nice!

And finally, before heading back to the hotel, we strolled the famous expanse of the 1 million+ sf greenroof that is  Millennium Park, and the beautiful Lurie Garden – the featured nature component of one of the world’s largest greenroofs.  The 2.5- acre garden is a combination of perennials, bulbs, grasses, shrubs and trees.  It was a beautiful day to enjoy the park, and an additional pleasure to our trip.

Chicago and Patrick Blanc.  These are a few of my favorite things…

Linda: Chicago was beautiful and we had a great day overall – neither Caroline nor I had been back here in a few years, and Joey had never been, so it was great roaming around like tourists.  When we passed the Apple Store and Caroline suggested we stop in and see if we could actually visit the roof, I thought she was crazy – but, after showing my card – we were in!  Very cool GreenGrid modular greenroof!  The  employees  love it.

Believe it or not, I had never made it previously to  Millennium  Park – wow, what a great job the City of Chicago and all the excellent designers did on creating such an interactive and attractive space for all to enjoy!

Of course the highlight was capturing Patrick Blanc on film and creating an interview to remember.  When Patrick agreed to speak at our  Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 last June, we weren’t sure what format he’d be using because of his hectic travel schedule.  So when we were offered the chance to interview him here in the U.S., we jumped at the opportunity.  What a charmer he is, and what a pleasure we had!

“As a botanist, Patrick Blanc is at home in the jungles from Bali to the Amazon. As a landscape artist, he has brought breathing walls and biodiversity to the grandest hotels, restaurants and stores of Le Tout-Paris and worked with French designer Jean-Paul Gaultier on the catwalk. But what the man with green hair is best known for is the “vertical garden”, an idea seeded in the heart of Paris on rue d’Alsace that spread to Jean Nouvel’s Quai Branly Museum before being exported all over the world.” ~

Very charismatic, “The Green Man” had on his customary green accents – flowered shirt, gorgeous brocaded paisley Indian jacket, shoes, streaks in his hair…

A genuinely nice guy, Patrick is best known for creating the hydroponic  Le Mur Végétal or  the Vertical Garden living wall system.  Also a botanist at the French National Centre for Scientific Research, he specializes in plants from subtropical forests and spends several months out of each year combing lushly foliated jungles and other exotic landscapes in search of new species for testing and additional research for use in his creations.

Of course, his work is highly popular and he is insanely sought out as a botanist, artist, and designer.  We talked about some of his current projects, like Central Park in Sydney, Australia, with architect and long time collaborator Jean Nouvel, where over 12 vertical gardens envelope the façades with garden boxes and vertical wires incorporated into the loggias that wrap the towers in plant life.

Although Aramis and I met Patrick last November when I spoke at the International Skyrise Greenery Conference in Singapore, the only work of his that I have seen live is the gorgeous living tapestry at the Musée du quai Branly in Paris, which we also talked about – these are a few of my photos from May of last year:

Yet over the five years of our Top 10 List of Hot Trends in Greenroof & Greenwall Design, Haven Kiers and I have highlighted many of his projects – whether conceptual (top below) or real (bottom below), they simply are all stunning! Look for some more of Patrick Blanc’s works during this year’s Top 10 List,  which  we’ll be inaugurating at the  Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011.

Patrick is very passionate about his work and very optimistic about the future of ecological design.  We spoke about his early inspirations and aspirations – and I mean early.  He was into tropical aquariums and plants at the tender age of five and started creating and manipulating designs at eight!  Clearly, his scientific mind was off and running, and it hasn’t stopped since.

After my interview, Patrick signed my copy of The Vertical Garden: From Nature to the City, 2008 – a big, beautiful coffee table book that just happens to capture his spirit, work, and purpose in glorious color.  But, stay tuned – the upcoming revised edition with profiles of all his new projects is coming in October, 2011!  I guess I’ll just have to buy it, too…

Patrick’s integration of the huge number of plant species he always includes in his work is a testimonial to his belief in the value of plant community biodiversity.

His quick smile and easy laugh plus his open sharing of ideas made our interview very pleasant and fun – look for about 30 minutes of my exclusive interview with him on September 27, 2011, interwoven with film from one of his recent lectures.

If you haven’t registered yet for the Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011, please do so here.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank Jean-Luc Le Gouallec of for inviting us,  Aimée Laberge of  the Alliance Française de Chicago (who, along with Air France, the participation of the Services Culturels of the French Consulate in Chicago, the Chicago Botanic Garden, the Chicago Architecture Foundation and the College of Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology sponsored Patrick’s visit) for arranging our Chicago visit,  Carrie Makris of the Sofitel Chicago Water Tower who graciously allowed us to scope out the best site and set up filming,  and most importantly to the lovely and talented Patrick Blanc for his time and participation!

See you online on September 27 & 28!

~ Linda V. & Caroline Menetre

Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011: Don’t Miss 7 Expert Panels!

September 8, 2011 at 1:32 am

Last week I told you about our Keynote Speakers for the Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summit 2011 –  Andrew Grant, Charlie Miller, Ed Snodgrass and Ralph Velasquez –  awesome thinkers, designers, trend setters, eco-luminaries all of them!  And among others, we have French botanist and modern green wall pioneer  Patrick Blanc, whom I’m interviewing this afternoon in Chicago…

See the GGW Virtual Summit  Speakers page and  Agenda to learn all about each presenter and their presentations or the panel sessions.

Speaking of our panel sessions, we have seven very distinct, innovative, and important collaborations that you are sure to enjoy and learn from personal experiences of movers and shakers in their respective fields from international non-profit, private and university level to U.S state, city, and borough level to professional association, private enterprise, and corporate experiences.

Click on the photos or titles to learn more about each  scheduled  time slot on the Agenda and each individual  – they all have live Question & Answer sessions afterwards, so don’t miss them to pick their brains on how they are  succeeding  in greening our roofs and walls:

Biodiversity and Greenroofs” above  left to right:  Christine Thuring (Moderator),  Nathalie Baumann, Dusty Gedge,  and  Gary Grant discuss original research and unique experiences, from field work upwards to bigger picture perspectives, as well as corresponding experiences with legislation on urban nature conservation.

Christine is moderating the panel on “Biodiversity and Green Roofs” where she also speaks about her research on plant community development and ecological processes on extensive green roofs with time.  Nathalie speaks about “Green Roofs / Natural Roofs = Biodiverse Habitats and Ecological Compensation in Urban Space: 15 Years of Experience in Switzerland.”  Dusty speaks about “Designing and Working for Biodiversity on Green Roofs for Over 10 Years.”  And Gary speaks about “My First Biodiverse Green Roof in 1992, Considerations for Planning and Design and Some Thoughts on the Future.”


Greenroofs & Walls for Educational & Social Equity in the Bronx” above left to right:  Robert Bieder (Moderator), Jon Beuttler, Jess Dannhauser, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., Javier Lopez, New York State Senator Gustavo Rivera, and Steve Ritz.  Fueled by a passionate and committed Bronx Borough President, Ruben Diaz Jr., it is common knowledge that the Bronx is leading NYC in embracing green technologies and the green economy. To wit, the policies and educational initiatives underway in and of the Bronx are making dramatic strides in the quality of life and opportunities for all residents with concentric benefits and ripples felt citywide, statewide and nationally.

This panel featuring: a State Senator, noted business leader, NYC project manager, health care manager, social service providers and a dedicated educator speaks to triple bottom line benefits, impacts and the uses of green roofs, green walls, and urban agriculture as highly replicable, critical components to creating and leveraging social equity and economic and educational opportunities in challenging times.


The Portland Ecoroof Program: A Cross-section of the Green Roof Movement in Portland, Oregon” above left to right:  Tom Liptan, Matt Burlin, Amy Chomowicz, Casey Cunningham, and Alice Meyers.  The Portland Ecoroof Program started in 1996 when a city employee constructed an experimental ecoroof on his garage.  From this small start, the program has grown and as of July 2011 there are over 420 green roofs of varying sizes, on all types of buildings, from multi-story apartment complexes and commercial buildings to humble sheds, kiosks, and garages.  These green roofs cover nearly 30 acres of Portland rooftops (extensive and intensive roofs).

The Portland Ecoroof Program consists of technical support, incentives, education, policies, and research.  The program is incentive-based rather than regulatory, and the city’s policies reflect this approach.  This presentation provides an overview of how these program elements work with the private sector and general public to sustain the green roof movement in Portland.


Vertical Agriculture: A Global Movement Starts Locally, from Walls & Roofs to Table” above  left to right:  George Irwin (Moderator), U.S. Congressman Tom Reed, and Tom Ferraro.  Urban agriculture is on the rise globally – up the walls and on rooftops.  Fresh, local crops benefit the entire community for many reasons.

U.S. Congressman Tom Reed from the 29th district of New York, Tom Ferraro, CEO of Foodlink – a national network of 200 food banks – and George Irwin, CEO of Green Living Technologies International (GLTi), provide interactive conversation and commentary concerning the impact of education, economics and opportunity around local food production with green walls and roofs.  Rochester-based GLTi started in New York City and has since grown nationally and internationally through education and collaborative hands-on projects with local youth, the underprivileged and disadvantaged in New York and Los Angeles and with business partnerships in Santiago, Dubai, and beyond to include their Food Factory and more.


Wind. Water. Heat. Grow. Greenroofs.” above left to right:  Dr. Bill Retzlaff, David Aponte, Kevin Songer, and Joe Webb.  Greenroofs are impacted by wind, water and heat on an unrelenting basis.  Through wind trials and real hurricane survival stories in Houston, TX, Jacksonville, FL, Edwardsville, IL, and Puerto Rico, we have met those challenges and will discuss various projects’ responses and successes to Hurricanes Ike and (any others?).  Drought, hot winds, and unseasonable 100 ° days can also quickly desiccate or kill greenroof plants.

Dr. Bill Retzlaff moderates discussing wind studies and plant trials for greenroofs at SIUE. Joe Webb talks about his project which endured 110 to 120 mph winds and 11″ of rain in 24 hours and shares water mapping and Living Building Challenge Water requirements.  Kevin Songer talks about the Outdoor Turbine Hurricane Simulator at the University of Florida, water conservation through ‘nature-based irrigation design,’ and the importance of biodiversity.  David Aponte speaks to his experience of engineering and designing greenroofs with the correct growing media and plants in hurricane-prone, sub-tropical Puerto Rico.


Greenroofs: Wind & Fire” Panel above  left to right:  Kelly Luckett, Mike Ennis, and Jim Kirby.  No longer can the green roof be deleted from a project due to failure to comply with the fire code.  After three years in the making from members of Single Ply Roofing Industry in cooperation with Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC), we now have a green roof design guide for minimizing the risk of fire on green roofs.  The securing of a place in mainstream construction through the International Code Council (ICC) has resulted in a milestone for the North American green roof movement. Fire concerns are only half of the code story as the wind design guide is still progressing through the ANSI process – we must overcome both the wind and the fire obstacle.

Kelly Luckett, President of Green Roof Blocks, moderates and shares his experiences representing GRHC with the consensus based ANSI/SPRI VF-1 and RP-14 standards.  Jim Kirby, NRCA’s AED, Technical Communications, provides NRCA commentary about building codes, vegetative roofs and RP-14.  Mike Ennis, Technical Director for SPRI, speaks to SPRI’s leadership leadership in the development of fire and wind standards and experience in the building code arena.


And, because the panel sessions weren’t stirring enough, we’ve ended with the “Green Roofs Without the Hype” Panel above left to right:  Patrick Carey, Dr. Robert Berghage, Charlie Miller, and Ed Snodgrass.  Here are four people with the knowledge to speak frankly about the current state of affairs in green roofing.  This panel focuses on the designation and evaluation of expertise, appropriate background and training, roadblocks to research and education, design origination and control, chain of custody issues, installation, and the residential market.

We hope you join us for this very interactive virtual experience – think film festival meets 2-day  webinar  and online expo extravaganza!

Pre-register or learn more by visiting:  Don’t forget to pre-register by this Friday, September 9  for the discounted Early Bird rate of  only $49 ($25 for students/faculty and government professionals).

Brought to you by, we’d like to thank to our Virtual Summit Sponsors TREMCO (Rare Earth) and  American Hydrotech (Emerald) and our Exhibitors and Media Partners – make sure to visit them at the  Expo Pavilions.

See you online on September 27 & 28, 2011!

~ Linda V.