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The Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico is located at 951 Ave. Ponce de León, San Juan, PR 00907; 787.751.0160; visit their website. For more information about the project, please contact: Alejandro Pérez, American Lawn Maintenance, Inc. at 787.406.9001 or

The Conservatorio de Música de Puerto Rico is one of the finest music schools in Puerto Rico. Conservatorio de Música is a semi-governmental non-profit organization. This project is retrofit historic building of what used to be an orphanage called Antigua Casa de Niñas.

The purpose of this green roof is mostly aesthetic. It compliments the landscape surrounding the main building. Although it was built on a three story parking garage, it appears to be at ground level due to the slope of the site. This site is intended for visitors to enjoy. The green roof is composed mainly of five raised beds with a paved walkway between them. Some of these beds have steps and an entrance so the visitors can walk through them. One of these areas has an amphitheater for live performances and the plantings include several berms so people can lay on them to relax or listen to an ongoing concert. It has a great view of the ocean including a view of Fuerte San Geronimo (old Spanish fort.)

This is the first intensive green roof built in Puerto Rico and by far the biggest green roof on the island. The size of the area is approximately 40,000 sf. including paved walkways. The planters have varying depths going from 2 ft. up to 5 ft. To achieve these heights the architect suggested a filler material, but didn’t specify what. Our company researched locally available lightweight materials and came up with shredded rubber tires about 5/8 of an inch in size.

It’s not only lightweight, but it has some water holding capacity and it’s a great way to recycle (or dispose) a material such as rubber. We placed around 1200 cu.m. of this filler material. The growing media was not specified either. The only specs available were the laboratory results of the desired growing media. Based on those results we had to come up with a growing media made from locally available products. After several attempts we came up with a mix that we considered to be suitable to comply with the spec. This growing media was sent to Penn State for lab tests and the results were accepted by the architect. Our growing media also contains shredded rubber tires and it pretty high on organic material composition. The growing media was spread evenly around 8 inches above the filler material, except around in areas where trees were going to be planted which contained around 3 cubic feet. We placed approximately 450 cu.m. of this growing media.

Plant materials used are the following: Trees: Silver Bottom Wood, Tabebuia, Plumeria, Bauhinia, Ficus, Neem, Brusera Simaruba (Gumbo Limbo), Jatropha and Retama; Shrubs: Crossandra, Bouganvilia, Liriope, Ruelia, Coccoloba uvifera, Roheo, Scaevola, Pennisetum; Ground Covers: Zoysia Japonica (Sod) and Arastachis prostata. Right now the project is in its final stages, our portion of the project, which consists of filling planting areas and planting plants took about 3 months. We had many challenges along the way such as: filler material selection, inventing a locally produced growing media, flaws in the design of the green roof committed by the architects, flaws in the installation of the drainage system, general contractors’ green roof installation process were basically executed out of order (paver installation was done first which complicated access for our equipment to fill the planters. The planters were filled with a crane.


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