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Roofmeadow Leads Six-Firm Team to Win National Infill Philadelphia: Soak It Up! Competition

Philadelphia Firm Wins $10K Prize by showing that, “Stormwater is a problem; rainwater is an opportunity.”

Philadelphia, PA. – (March 11, 2013)Roofmeadow and its team are proud to announce that their design submission, “Leveraging Water + Plants in Zero Lot Sites,” was awarded the $10,000 Infill Philadelphia: Soak It Up! prize. The announcement came on Thursday, March 7, 2013, after the nine finalist teams made their presentations to a 23-member jury and a packed auditorium at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA.

According to the competition sponsors, “This national, interdisciplinary design competition was created by the Philadelphia Water Department, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Community Design Collaborative to inspire innovation in green stormwater infrastructure for Philadelphia.” Infill Philadelphia: Soak It Up! attracted 28 submissions, 101 firms, and 315 professionals from around the country. A winning team was selected from each of three categories. The jurors, drawn from the public and private sectors, included Howard Neukrug, PE, Water Commissioner, Philadelphia Water Department, Jon Capacasa, Water Division Director, EPA Region III, and Inga Saffron, Architecture Critic, Philadelphia Inquirer.

The Roofmeadow team’s infectious rallying cry was “Stormwater is a problem; rainwater is an opportunity” (provided by team member Muscoe Martin, AIA, LEED, m2 Architecture). The team adapted this theme to its selected category – one of three – Industrial – Warehouse Watershed, a north Philadelphia warehouse and city-owned vacant lot poised for re-development. Roofmeadow’s team comprised engineering, architecture, art, landscape architecture, and construction expertise and included m2 Architecture, Meliora Environmental Design LLC, SED Design, Sere Ltd., and In Posse (all from Pennsylvania).

Infill Philadelphia: Soak It Up! Juror Tavis Dockwiller, ASLA (Viridian Landscape Studio, Philadelphia, PA) observed that the design “weaves art, social, environmental and industrial needs into a working solution. The project is a big dream that together we can bring to fruition if we just let this team lead us. It is not only their vision and detail, but also their hope that inspires . . . .”

Team-leader Laura Hansplant, ASLA, Director of Roofmeadow’s Design Department, explained, “The Roofmeadow team integrated five connected strategies that store and slow the flow of rainwater from the warehouse’s blue-green living roof, down across the building façade into a water-storing art installation, from which rainwater seeps into specially designed planters and tree trenches along the sidewalk. New courtyards soak up additional rainfall and bring light into the building’s interior. The design is so precisely engineered that the team did not have to rely on the adjacent vacant lot to absorb any excess rainwater from the warehouse site. The vacant
lot is re-envisioned as a neighborhood park featuring rain gardens and community social spaces. The design showcases the warehouse owner’s metal mesh products; completely transforms the warehouse, and helps revitalize the community.”

Infill Philadelphia: Soak It Up! award presentation.

From left, Dominique  Lueckenhoff, EPA Region III (Sponsor), Tavis  Dockwiller, ASLA, Viridian Landscape Services (Juror), Joanne Dahme, Philadelphia Water Department (Sponsor), Laura Hansplant, ASLA, Roofmeadow (Presenter), Muscoe Martin, AIA, LEED, m2 Architecture (Presenter), and Howard Neukrug, PE, Philadelphia Water Department, (Sponsor).

Photo provided courtesy of Mark Garvin.

Charlie Miller, a civil engineer and Roofmeadow’s founder, commented, “We were able to prove that a series of beautiful and thoughtfully engineered ‘thin’ landscapes on challenging urban industrial sites can work in concert to keep huge amounts of rainwater out of the public system and create spaces that educate and delight. This is how communities are reborn.”

The Roofmeadow team also will receive a profile in Grid Magazine, a presentation slot during the March 21 Academy of Natural Sciences Philadelphia Urban Sustainability Forum, and exposure at Greenbuild 2013, the national conference of the US Green Building Council.


About Roofmeadow
A Philadelphia firm with national projects, Roofmeadow began in 1997 to engineer green roofs and manage their installation and maintenance. Noted projects include Chicago City Hall, PECO Headquarters, Philadelphia, PA, and the Brooklyn Botanical Garden Visitor Center. Roofmeadow today adapts its engineering and landscape architecture expertise to thin landscapes on ground, buildings, and structures. To guarantee successful installations, Roofmeadow certifies the best in both materials and installers. Its Roofmeadow® Stewardship Program assures that Roofmeadow green roofs and its other landscapes thrive and evolve for decades. Please visit for more information.

About Infill Philadelphia: Soak It Up!
This nearly five month competition is a part of the 18-month Infill Philadelphia: Soak It Up! partnership of the Philadelphia Water Department, the US EPA and the Community Design Collaborative. The partnership’s goal is to revitalize urban neighborhoods through green stormwater management -- a goal that also is advancing Green City, Clean Waters, Philadelphia’s $2-billion, 25-year green stormwater management plan. Please visit for more information.

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Melissa Muroff


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