The Visionaire



Project: Visionaire Green Roof – 2,075 square foot green roof, New York, NY

Award Winner: Mark K. Morrison Landscape Architecture PC (Prime Consultant / Designer / Construction Administrator)
Drainage System: American Hydrotech
Irrigation: Netafim
Growing Medium: Long Island Compost & McEnroe Farms
Pergola Design: Fradkin McAlpin Associates Ltd.
Structural Engineers: Robert Silman
Survey, Flashing, Roofing: Eagle One Roofing Contractors Inc.
Construction: Windsway Construction
Irrigation and Lighting: National Lawn Sprinklers
Construction of Pergola: Jim Tribe
Fountain Design and Fabrication: Eve Sheridan
Metal Fabrication: MPI Productions
Upholstery: Lakeville Interiors
Eagle Street Farm: Installed Vegetables
Metalwork for Potting Table: Haas Welding Services

Green Roof at the Visionaire

The roof terrace at the 35th floor of the Visionaire building maximizes the productive capabilities of this certified LEED Platinum building. This project features more than 160 species of ornamental plants, as well as a potager vegetable garden with vertical screens for climbing vegetables and a fruit orchard with dwarf trees. The project demonstrates that city dwellers with small terraces can grow quantity and quality produce; the vegetables are grown in 4’ x 4’ boxes, based on the Peace Corps module for flexible and continuous food production within small plots. Agricultural features also include a cold frame for continuous harvest, an herbal knot garden and a berry patch for blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries. Numerous edible plant materials are interspersed throughout the landscape at large, including strawberry plants as ground cover. The client / owner has successfully used the vegetable gardens as the sole food source for numerous dinner parties.

Roof irrigation uses recycled and treated black water from the building. The built project has weathered blizzards and other weather events with no damage to the vegetation or building. During Hurricane Irene in 2011, a storm event with 13” of rainfall within a 24 hour period, there was no flooding on the roof terrace.

This intensive system points to expanded opportunities for an exceptional variety of plant species to survive in extreme conditions and heights (approximately 117m above ground level), while also providing oases for flying species. The client hosted a research project through Scenic Hudson and Columbia University and, contrary to current beliefs, insects and pollinators flew up to the 35th floor (rather than laterally through the city.) The researcher identified over 30 species of bees on the roof terrace. Ecological habitat at various heights could offer productive opportunities for elevated flat surfaces city-wide, while aiding significantly in carbon sequestriation and evapotranspiration.


This green roof has achieved the following project goals: 1) providing a restful and beautiful entertainment venue, 2) creating an ornamental garden for the client, 3) expanding possibilities and providing a discourse in urban agriculture, and 4) offering ecological habitat for and a research venue for urban migratory species. The sequential layering of environmental complexity, the extreme ornamental variety, and the culinary richness of this green roof together provide a new paradigm in urban greening.

Green Infrastructure Design Charrette

About Green Roofs

by Steven Peck
GRHC founder/president

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