2009 Awards of Excellence: Celebrity Solstice

solstice sr 1

Special Recognition

Hosting everything from bocce to picnics, this cruising green roof is an industry first.

Project: Celebrity Solstice – Lawn Club
Award Recipient: Green Roof Service LLC (System Design, Green Roof Expertise)
Client: Celebrity Cruises
Ship design: Wilson Butler Architects
Installation: Borchers GmbH
Material Supply: Optigreen International AG
Turfgrass Consultant: Dr. John Cisar, University of Florida
Growing Media Supplier in U.S.: Skyland USA LLC

Most people find the idea of a garden or lawn on a 15-storey building quite unusual. Now imagine a grassy playing field, 15-storeys up on the deck of an ocean-going cruise-ship. That is exactly what this year’s Special Recognition award winner is: at 122,000 tons and 1,033 feet long, the Celebrity Solstice is a recent addition to the Celebrity Cruises fleet with an important difference: an authentic 15,000-square-foot grass green roof that covers one-quarter of the uppermost deck of the ship. The Lawn Club provides the perfect venue for guests to enjoy bocce, croquet, a picnic with wine and cheese or a round of golf – all while cruising on the ocean.

Testing was performed in Miami and Germany, as well as on a cruise ship, with various grass types leading to the development of a daunting list of requirements including: a layer set-up that could support Arctic, Northern Europe, Mediterranean and tropical weather conditions; wind resistance for wind speeds 100 mph and wind gusts over 120 miles per hour; a system stable enough to withstand sliding (the ship tilts up to 12° or 27 percent); and vegetation that could be highly salt tolerant and a maximum weight of 130 metric tons for a 15,000-square-foot green roof. Finally, as the ship’s “Lawn Club,” this green roof required that the chosen vegetation be prime turf grass to support activities such as bocce, croquet and golf-putting.

solstice sr 2


Although impressive on its own, the Lawn Club stands out all the more for being part of a ship-design philosophy concerned with overall sustainability including elements such as photovoltaics, reuse and refining of oil on board and a water run-off collection tank for the green roof itself.
The mark of a truly innovative project is not only the questions it answers, but also the questions it invites. Our judges commented not only on how innovative and unique the Solstice was, but on the world of possibilities it opens up. New insights into salt and wind tolerance for green roof vegetation and new models for recreational green roofs on buildings are just two of the many possible spin-offs possible from this industry-first green roof.

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