Water has been called the oil of the 21st century. Whether too much (Exhibit A: Hurricane Sandy) or too little (Exhibit B: California, Texas, and the Southwest), conserving, cleaning, and controlling it has never been a higher priority for architects and their clients. From rooftops to underground, these innovative systems and products work to make the most of every drop.
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Slate-clad addition to the American Swedish Institute evokes contemporary Scandinavian design.
Minneapolis-based architecture, engineering, and planning firm HGA faced a tall order when the American Swedish Institute asked them to design an addition to the building known locally as “The Castle.” The turreted Turnblad Mansion, constructed in Minneapolis’ Phillips West neighborhood in 1908 and home of ASI since 1929, lacked the kinds of multi-purpose spaces required by ASI’s cultural and educational programming—and was suffering wear and tear from a steady stream of visitors. “The project was about creating a front door that was more welcoming and inviting than the existing building, that can help protect the mansion and allow it to be used as a house museum,” said project architect Andy Weyenberg. At the same time, “the mansion remained the focal point,” he explained. “It will always be the identity of ASI. Everything we did, we wanted to respect the mansion and keep it as a centerpiece.” HGA’s intervention honors the primacy of the Turnblad Mansion while updating ASI’s image with a contemporary facade inspired by Swedish building methods and materials.
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An aluminum rain screen and locally-sourced brick articulate a two-part program.
The Brook, developed by Common Ground and designed by Alexander Gorlin Architects, is part of a new wave of affordable housing communities popping up all over the United States. Unlike the public housing projects of the mid-twentieth century, which focused exclusively on housing and tended to suffer from a lack of routine maintenance, The Brook, located in the Bronx, combines apartments and support services under one roof. This duality is manifested in the envelope’s contrasting material palette—dark grey brick for the residential spaces, raw aluminum over the community facilities. “The idea of the exterior was to symbolize, as well as reflect, the internal program of Common Ground as supportive housing,” said Alexander Gorlin. “It’s inspired in part by Le Corbusier and his idea of expressing the program on the facade, and expressing the public functions as a means of interrupting a repetitive facade.” Read More
In the midst of Greenbuild’s International Conference & Expo, held from November 18–22 in Philadelphia, AN sought out the newest and most innovative sustainable building products. We found attractive new finishes and furnishings, including a new chair derived from carbon polymers, and a plethora of building components that aim to harness the Earth’s energy for optimal building performance.
Xero Flor America
This vegetated green roofing solution (above) rolls out in a mat system for easy application, as well as rapid access for repairs. Each 40-inch wide panel is comprised of a root barrier, drain mat, water retention fleece, growing medium, and pre-vegetated layer of sedum. Also known as stonecrop, each order is grown in one of Xero Flor’s six regional fields, so living roofs are acclimated to the installation environment and contribute to local LEED credits. Read More
The following selections can substantially aid in stormwater management, along roofs, walls, plazas, and more.
Hybrid Green Roof System
This modular roofing system features Moisture Portal technology and hidden tray lips that connect the roots of each vegetation unit for even water and nutrient distribution across the entire system. In times of excess precipitation, drain channels disperse water at seven gallons per minute for each linear foot. LiveRoof features mature grasses and perennials for a monolithic appearance, but with modular benefits for maintenance and ease of installation. It comes with a 20-year module warranty.
A dramatic 16-story building designed by SOM has continued construction on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 14th Street in Manhattan. The structure will eventually open at the University Center for The New School, and with its Muntz metal (a type of brass made of copper and zinc) and glass facade now in place, most of the activity is happening behind closed doors. Or in this case, on the roof only viewable from neighboring buildings. In late July, crews installed a thin emerald necklace where the building sets back including what appears to be a variety of sedum plants commonly found on green roofs. The building is expected to be complete this fall. In the meantime, read about SOM’s unique approach to expressing circulation on the facade in an AN In Detail report.
The Bjarke Ingels Group, along with Tess, Transsolar, Base, Transitec, and Michel Forgue, have revealed their winning design for EuropaCity, a 200-acre urban cultural and commercial destination located between Paris and Roissy. Combining the forms of a dense European city with an open landscape, EuropaCity is set to be a retail, cultural, and leisure city of unprecedented scale. Modeled on the European urban experience and equipped with cutting edge green technologies, the development will serve as a retail and cultural hub for the region as well as a laboratory and showcase for sustainable design.
Southern Philadelphia High School has teamed up with Roofmeadow, a Philly-based green roof design and engineering firm, and the Lower Moyamensing Civic Association to bring the city its first rooftop farm in a new campus-wide plan to take the school from gray to green. The plan includes rain gardens, street trees, vegetable gardens, and a rooftop farm. These elements will be incorporated into a new curriculum for the school’s culinary and science departments, providing students with a chance to escape the classroom and engage in hands-on learning, while nearby residents will gain access to fresh produce and new green space.
“South Philly High is on the cutting edge of sustainability and innovation,” said Kim Massare, President of the Lower Moyamensing Civic Association in a statement to greenroofs.com. “It is changing the way we think about what a school should be and using technology to drive change in a totally new direction.”
The school is working with Roofmeadow and community representatives to develop the master plan, which targets large, underutilized properties on the school’s urban campus. The project will be crowdfunded through Projexity, an online platform that provides the support and framework for bottom-up neighborhood development projects, from creating proposals, to gathering funding, holding design competitions and getting the final approval necessary to move forward. The first of five stages of fundraising begins here on April 9th.
Nothing says “sustainable architecture quite like a green roof. AN has rounded up eight of the latest green roof and subsurface components that the pros use to seal out, drain, or retail water, like the Green Roof Blocks system (above) by Green Roof Blocks.
The Green Roof Block system is a completely self-contained module made from high-grade anodized aluminum. It can be pre-planted with a growth medium that the company guarantees will never break down. Built-in drainage and convenient handles make the units easy to install.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been 10 years since the first green roof gathering in Chicago, when 400 green roof enthusiasts came together from around the world to share their passion and knowledge of green roofs. Since then, we’ve laid some very important foundations for the industry, which enjoyed an amazing 115% growth rate last year.
On October 17-20 at CitiesAlive, we will gather at the Congress Plaza Hotel in Chicago once more, to celebrate all that we have accomplished together, and lay plans for the future growth of this industry. Performance is the unifying theme for programming that features the best and brightest in green roof and wall design, research, policy. ‘On the roof with’ conversations feature examples of what green infrastructure is best at – stormwater management, urban agriculture, increasing biodiversity, energy efficiency, job creation and more. Together, we’re building a legacy of outstanding performance!