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Now Playing at the Virtual Summit 2015: “Two Extremes in Waterwise Design from Denver, Colorado and Athens, Greece” by Andrew Clements and Karla Dakin

on May 19, 2015 at 6:38 pm under

In celebration of honoring Earth Day 2015 and our planet’s ecology through healthy, regenerative design, we are highlighting each of the 23 awesome videos from our 30+ spectacular speakers from‘s Greenroofs & Walls of the World Virtual Summit 2015 ~ Connecting the Planet with Living Architecture: People, Projects & Design, running through May 31st.


Our hope is that by familiarizing you more with each presentation and its particular benefits, you will be enticed to join us during our wonderfully easy-to-navigate online Virtual Summit!  And, along with the speakers’ input, I will identify 5 Key Learning Objectives or “takeaway” bullet points that each video presentation provides to participants.

VS2015-AndrewClementsKarlaDakinsmallToday we are spotlighting the collaborative video “Two Extremes in Waterwise Design from Denver, Colorado and Athens, Greece” by the thoughtful and creative Andrew Clements of Oikosteges (a compound of two ancient Greek words ‘Oiko’ from which the Latin ‘eco’ is sourced meaning ‘related to the home’ and ‘steges’ meaning abode, roof over your head) and the lovely and vivacious Karla Dakin of K. Dakin Design.


We have been aware of Andrew’s excellent work within Greece, and we have known the awesome Karla for some time now.  Aramis and I got to spend a good deal of time with her in Hangzhou, China in 2012, when we both spoke there.  Aside from being extremely creative and knowledgeable about greenroofs and design principles – she is the co-author of The Professional Design Guide to Green Roofs, 2011) – Karla has a wicked sense of humor and is a lot of fun!

VS2015-Clements-AntiparosBoth Karla and Andrew have experimented extensively to design vegetated roofs with minimal or no supplemental irrigation in a hot, dry city like Denver or Athens.  They both conclude the possibilities exist but the challenges lay in client expectations of what an non-irrigated green roof will look like.  Together they discuss plant selection, irrigation options and how to convince clients to go dry.

I really love the style of their upbeat video – it is set up as a true back and forth conversation rather than a presentation, and is a joy to watch!


Athens, Greece.  “Nearly fifteen years ago Andrew Clements began researching bio-climatic architecture and particularly roof greening in 2000, initially for his own needs.  After 6 years of R & D with the invaluable help of a small team of specialists (architects, civil engineers, geologists, meteorologists, eco-system specialists) the first Mediterranean roof greening approach was born in 2006.  Christened Oikosteges, its mission is to recreate natural, bio-diverse Mediterranean ecosystems on any and all built structures in the cities and towns of the Mediterranean and in similar climates around the world, using a number of natural approaches which are informed by such concepts as biological succession.

These ecosystems require little or no maintenance and little or no irrigation once established.  The ecosystems are feather lightweight so that they can be applied to virtually any built surface in this active seismic region.  The Oikosteges team established Green Roofs Greece, a not for profit organization in order to share experiences and ideas with the worldwide networks of green roof activists.” ~ Read his complete bio here from the VS2015.

Denver, CO, USA. “Growing things, building things, and relishing the chaos, entropy, and generative quality of nature – all are ideal creative means for Karla Dakin, who appreciates change in the process of art and design.  Principal of K. Dakin Design Inc., Karla specializes in artful, environmentally, flexible landscape architecture with an emphasis on knowing context and what feels the most appropriate.

She has completed a diverse array of projects, over 100 residential gardens, as well as many commercial and public projects like “Sky Trapezium,” a permanent green roof installation at the Museum of Contemporary Art / Denver. In her collaboration with Lisa Lee Benjamin she designed the gardens around the Whole Foods Flagship Store in Boulder, Colorado and the 10,000 sq. ft. green roof atop the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust in California.  Karla is the co-author of The Professional Design Guide to Green Roofs, 2011, and has lectured on green roofs across the world.” ~ Read her complete bio here from the VS2015.


You will benefit from these 5 Key Learning Objectives as Andrew Clements and Karla Dakin share on the subject:

1) Learn about Karla and Andrew’s “A Tale of Two Cities” and interest in waterwise greenroofing in the similar arid settings of Denver, Colorado and Athens, Greece and how it informs their design processes;

2) Denver is an arid prairie with 14-16″ of precipitation, including snow, per year; arid with harsh extremes, soils are gravelly and rocky with high winds – hard to garden.  Athens is similar to Denver but different as it has earthquakes – but can also snow with sub-zero temperatures with up to 9 months per year of drought; 

3) Examination of the native plant communities they have studied and experimented, offering a multitude of possible plants to select for greenroofs: Karla – the Ponderosa pine ecosystem in the western Rockies, Alpine ecosystems, and the desert areas (succulents, cacti).  Andrew – the dry, rugged garigue ecosystem in Athens with little soil, aromatic herbs, pines, stunted shrubs, and outcrops in the landscape;

4) Climate appropriate plant studies and issues encountered on these projects and others: Colorado – Denver Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver Botanic Gardens, a commercial roof in Denver, and a residence in Boulder; Athens – restoration of a hotel complex with many 12-year old greenroofs, a high end villa, commercial roof, Ministry of Finance, and a residential roof.  Discussion of their 5 favorite plants to use;

5) Irrigation is a critical factor: options, issues, and strategies in both Denver and Athens; discussion of substrate types and depths.  Greenroofs can thrive with little or no irrigation after establishment.

Watch the 35:05 “Two Extremes in Waterwise Design from Denver, Colorado and Athens, Greece” by Andrew Clements and Karla Dakin now playing at the Greenroofs & Walls of the World Virtual Summit 2015.  If you have not yet registered (only $49 or 25), please do:

Registration fee:

$49 – special discounted pricing;

$25 for students/faculty and government professionals

All Video Presentations, Q & A Transcripts, & Exhibitor Booths are On Demand +
Networking Live 24/7 through May 31, 2015

Earn CEUs including 10 GRP CEUs.  Register here.



Registration Open through May 31st for the Virtual Summit 2015

We hope you will support our work!  Please remember that these video presentations will not be made public for at least one year.

Happy watching and participating,

~ Linda V.

Learn more about these awesome video presentations and their 5 Key Learning Objectives at the Greenroofs & Walls of the World Virtual Summit 2015:

“A Green Building Should Look Green, Which Means Hairy!” by Dr. Ken Yeang.

“Biodiversity in the Sky – How Green Roofs Can Be Designed as Wild Life Refuges” by Dr. Stephan Brenneisen.

Green Roofs to New Cities” by Dr. Diana Balmori.

“A Higher Purpose – Benefits to Human Health and Education through Green Roofing” by Elizabeth Hart.

“Beyond Extensive and Intensive: Defining the Comprehensive Green Roof” by Molly Meyer.

“Biosolar Roofs” by Nathalie Baumann and Dusty Gedge.

“From Passive House to the Cold North—How Vegetative Envelope Components Impact Buildings” Panel with Dr. Bob Cameron, Dr. Allen Lee, Dr. Karen Liu, and Chris Wark.

“Greening Rooftops in Alberta: People, Place + Projects” by Kerry Ross.

“Greening the World Inside and Outside” by Mark Paul.

“Greenwalls in Middle Earth” by Graham Cleary.

“Pollinators on the Parapets” by Angie Durhman.

“Small Scale Green Roofs” by Dusty Gedge and John Little.

“Social Healing with Greening” Panel – Part 1 with Patrick Carey, Peter Ensign, and George Irwin.

“Social Healing with Greening” Panel – Part 2 with Patrick Carey and Darius Jones.

“Soil Ecological Processes on Green Roofs: Research and Observation Meet Theory and Intuition” Inspiration Nook Video by Christine Thuring.

“Stewardship of Rooftop Ecosystems” by Michael Furbish, Brad Garner, and Dr. Whitney Griffin.

“The Development of Revolutionary Large Scale Vegetated Infrastructure Projects in Latin America and the Foundation of a New Industry” by Pablo Atuesta.

“The Great Green Roof Review: Success & Succession” by Jenny Hill and Terry McGlade.

Only Two Weeks Left for the Virtual Summit 2015! See the “ 2014 Top 10 List of Hot Trends in Greenroof & Greenwall Design + a Look into 2015” by Haven Kiers & Linda Velazquez Now.