New York Green Roofs
Head Designer, Installation Project Manager: Adam Schatz, New York Green Roofs
Co-Creation Direction: Chad Gessin, Condo Board
Waterproofing Provider: Michael Balaban, Siplast Engineered Roofing Systems
A Return of Williamsburg’s Natural Systems
Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is currently a hotbed of real estate development. Most of the neighborhood suffers from a serious lack of green infrastructure. In 2011 New York Green Roofs (NYGR) was contacted by the condominium board of a large complex at125 North 10th Street and asked to follow up a major waterproofing rehabilitation to transform the existing rooftop spaces into something of a dream for the residents. Two distinctive six story buildings on the north and south sides of the property are connected by a vaulted courtyard walkway so that the condo works as a whole. With 86 units of owners to please, NYGR kicked-off the design phase by setting up a "co-creative" public meeting to hear about goals and desires for the green roof. A short list of elements to be included in the overall functional program was produced based on feedback and distributed to the tenants. Common themes included the importance of integrating the green roof with the existing garden sculptures, organizing plenty of space for entertainment and meals, creating sitting/lounge areas, and retaining open spaces for children and dogs to play. Surveys showed that the most important aspect of the renovation was to simultaneously create a greener environment and increase the property value of the residence with the project.
The resulting semi and intensive green roofs provide a beautiful, ecological experience when moving between buildings and when gathering together. On the south roof a series of gently rolling mounds and a colorful palette grasses and flowering perennials mimic landscapes that look and function as in the wild: robust, diverse, and visually harmonious, with views of the Williamsburg Bridge and sunsets over the Manhattan skyline to boot. The vaulted courtyard pass through is a hybrid of both wild and cultivated plant communities. Industrialization drove most nature out of cities years ago. This project brings back Williamsburg's natural systems that thrive within our built world. The judges praised the beauty of this project and its maintenance strategy to ensure continued project health and viability. The judges also highly praised the plant palette variety used in this installation.