2011 Awards of Excellence: Central Ave

Central Ave. Constituent Services Center Green Roof - Twilight
The pavers are pedestal mounted and allow for rainwater
to be collected & diverted to an underground cistern.

Special Recognition

Project: Central Avenue Constituent Services Center, Los Angeles, CA – 7585 square foot green roof
Award Recipient: Paul Murdoch Architects
Landscape Architect: Burton & Company
Green Roof Consultant: Rana Creek
Green Roofing Assembly: Henry
Structural Engineer: Sato & Boppana
MEP Engineer: IBE Consulting Engineers
Civil Engineer: RBA/ Mollenhauer
Commissioning Consultant: Expedient Energy
Specifications Writer: Chew Specifications
Cost Estimator: Ciaran P. O'Halloran

Offering the first municipal roof garden for the City of Los Angeles, this neighborhood city hall introduces forward-looking environmental features that enhance building performance and provides a natural refuge for the community in a tough, urban area.
- Luv Khot, Project Designer, Paul Murdoch Architects
Central Ave. Constituent Services Center Green Roof - Accessibility
The roof garden features 40 native species
of plants.

A Community Oasis in Central L.A.

The new Central Avenue Constituent Services Center demonstrates sustainable development in an area that has had few such precedents – an example of how sustainability integrates social, political, cultural and economic issues within communities. A public roof garden is the first municipal green roof for the City of Los Angeles.

The neighborhood city hall is located in an area of Los Angeles with one of the lowest parkland to resident ratios in the city, and marked by violence and an extremely low medium household income. Single and multi-story commercial development along Central Avenue and single and multi-story residential development along the side streets characterize the area. The project goal was to create a new space to bring the community together, while providing an educational tool to the public through the visible, architectural expression of environmental innovations.

Central Ave. Constituent Services Green Roof - Canopy
Landscape design features, such as this
canopy, make the green roof an even more
attractive prospect in this greenspace-
thirsty neighbourhood.

To give the site a park-like feeling, the design establishes a grid of trees throughout reiforced by the building structure, façade rhythm and paving pattern. The community features a jazz festival each year to celebrate the history of jazz unique to Central Avenue. As jazz-like counterpoints, curved and angled walls, stairs and an elevator, and solar panel arrays that track the sun play off the grid’s regular rhythm. The public roof garden is easily accessed from a courtyard and the planting is seen from surrounding streets. The garden provides secure, public open space, rare in the community, and doubles zoning requirements for open space. The roof garden also demonstrates environmental alternatives in an urban context that mitigate storm water runoff, heat island effects and reduce building energy loads.

The roof garden is planted with over 40 organically grown plant species native to Southern California and adapted to the extreme growing conditions present on an urban roof. Salvias, Agaves, Penstemons and other flowering natives have been chosen to attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Sedums and fragrant ground covers like rosemary, lavender and sage blanket the planted beds, and climb over the sides of the building. Larger shrubs frame the garden and provide seclusion around seating areas. The 12-18” growing medium of scoria, aged compost, peat, sand, and perlite sits on top of a roofing assembly that is built to withstand extreme temperatures. Rainwater runoff from the roof parking area is directed to a custom-designed underground cistern. The water from the cistern is then directed drip irrigation system used for on-site landscaping at the ground level. This water conservation goes a long way towards ensuring the sustainability of the green roof in Los Angeles’ dry conditions.

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To view pictures and profiles of the other 2010 winners, please return to our 2010 awards page.

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