2011 Awards of Excellence: Millennium Village

Millenium Village Overhead
As the athlete village for the 2010 Winter Olympic
Games, the green roof design depicted athletes
competing in 8 different winter sports such as hockey,
skiing, and skating. The figures, which consisted
of perennials with red foliage, contrasted well with
the pre-cultivated green sedum mat in the background.

Intensive Residential

Project: Millennium Village, Vancouver, BC – 197,542 square foot green roof
Award Recipient: Durante Kreuk Ltd. (Landscape Architect)
Client: Millennium Development
Green Roof Supplier: Xero Flor Canada Ltd.
Green Roof Supplier: LiveRoof
Green Roof Plant Supplier: Linnaea Nurseries Ltd
Architectural Services: Merrick Architecture Borowski Sakumoto Fligg Ltd.
Architectural Services: GBL Architects
Architectural Services: IBI/HB Architects
Architectural Services: Nick Milkovich Architects Inc.
Architectural Services: Walter Francl Architecture Inc.
Architectural Services: Robert Ciccozi Architecture Inc.

The design philosophy of the green roofs was "usability and accessibility".
- Alain Lamontage, Landscape Architect, Durante Kreuk Ltd.
Millenium Village Overhead 2
Each courtyard was designed to have a
unique character and feel.

Leaving a Green Olympic Legacy

Millennium Water is a single-phase development which covers eight city blocks in Vancouver, British Columbia. It is a LEED Gold Certified neighbourhood, the first in North America. The 197,542 square feet of green roof was provided across eight parcels, amounting to over 50% of the total roof area being greened.

The intent behind the design of the all-private parcels was to create a series of courtyards, which range from semi-public to private. Those located on the ground floor can be accessed by anyone meandering through the neighbourhood, enhancing the experience through this new development which traditionally would have introverted courtyards only viewed and accessible for residents. Each courtyard was designed to have a unique character and feel with a wide range of programming elements to meet the future intended mixed demographic of this flourishing neighbourhood. One important aspect of each courtyard is the drop of the structural slab, in some cases up to 36”, which allows generous growing medium build-up, creating a seamless experience within each courtyard, podium levels or at ground. Some of the main features include outdoor terraces, urban agriculture, lawn areas for unstructured play or relaxation, water features and children’s play areas, all of which was intended to nurture the development of relationships between neighbours building a strong sense of community. In most cases, the courtyards are surrounded by a mix of buildings such as senior living, rental, social housing and market without any barrier and division. This was done in an effort to promote interaction between different social groups and create a truly sustainable neighbourhood.

The green roofs at Millennium Water + Vancouver Athletes Village host a variety of interesting features. Rain and wind sensors which are tied back to a smart controller to avoid irrigating when not required. The irrigation system operates in the night reducing water demand and loss from winds and evaporation. Also, each building has its own cistern which has been sized to accommodate for a minimum-six week drought. Water is collected from every rooftop and stored in underground cisterns, and then reused for irrigation and toilet flushing for each site.

The green roofs are designed to stimulate the senses and allow the residents to relax and rejuvenate. One key element was the harmonious integration of water features from fountains, waterfalls, flowing channels and reflective ponds, which play an important role in the aeration of water collected and stored in the cisterns preventing otherwise stagnant water. The sound of flowing water has long been known in horticultural therapy to induce calming effects and reduce stresses. Parts of the green roofs were designed to be a fragrant garden. A variety of plants with fragrant blossoms and foliage such as lilac and roses were selected to provide pleasing, natural perfume to stimulate the senses.

Much of the landscape was designed to incorporate edible plants, such as blueberry bushes, raspberries, cherry, fig and pear trees and even some kiwi vines to encourage residents to understand where food comes from, as well as support wildlife. Other plant material was selected based on their characteristics to attract bees and other pollinators to promote and assist the overall ecological system of Vancouver. The remainder of plant material is indigenous and adaptive plants, which have a high drought tolerance, greatly reducing water demand. The wide variety of plants and soil media depth (from 3” to 30”) has served the roofs well as a useful research site for the British Columbia Institute of Technology.


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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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