2009 Awards of Excellence: Macallen Building

Intensive Residential

An aesthetic masterpiece, these green roofs provide enjoyment for residences and neighbors alike.

Project: Macallen Building Condominiums, Boston, Massachussetts
Award Recipient: Landworks Studio, Inc.
Client: Pappas Properties
Design Architect: Office dA
Landscape Contractor: Greenscape
Architect of Record: Burt Hill
Roofing/Membrane Manufacturer: American Hydrotech, Inc.
Structural Engineer: Simpson Gumpertz & Heger
General Contractor: Bovis Lend Lease
Roofing Contractor: Marshall Roofing

Situated on a seam between South Boston and an expansive field of industry and infrastructure, the Macallen Building and landscape rise together as an icon of sustainable development in this rapidly evolving area. The LEED® Gold certified building and landscape were conceived in response to concerns about air and noise pollution, heat island effect and a lack of local greenspace. The development addressed the existing impervious asphalt site through the establishment of two layers of green roof as well as a large entry court of pervious pavers allowing stormwater infiltration.


The design incorporates two separate green roof areas: an upper sloping roof with a growing media depth of eight inches as well as recreational terrace, with a growing media depth ranging from six to 60 inches.
Responding to the three-storey building typology definitive of residential South Boston, Macallen’s eastern façade strikes a consistent height with adjacent structures before sloping up to 12 storeys to the West facing the city skyline. Rather than a stepped or flat roof, the slanted roof was a conscious desire of the design team to offer a vegetated view to the neighborhood.

The recreational terrace was raised four feet at the western end to provide depth for a lap pool, while elsewhere the growing media is mounded to create a language of hillocks with staggered high points.


Our judges responded to the aesthetics of the project and were impressed with the way the design used differing approaches to green-roof technology to create different environments at different tiers of the building. Another thing that helped this project to stand out to judges was the close relationship this project has developed with various landscape education programs – even becoming a classroom extension of the Harvard Graduate School of Design. But even outside of this formal educational component, both local students and anyone else passing through the neighborhood will be able to look up and see the progress of the highly visible sloping roof – providing a frequent reminder of this exceptional green roof project.

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