Awards of Excellence 2014

Midtown High Rise

Midtown High Rise Green Roof

New York, NY

Award Winner
New York Green Roofs

Landscape Architect: HMWhite
Architects: Gertler & Wente
Structural & Wind Load Engineers: Urban Tech
Membrane Manufacturer: Kemper System
Lighting Designer: Atelier Lumiere
Carpentry: Riverside Builders

This project was carefully engineered to knit with the building’s infrastructure, to prevent potential wind uplift, accommodate significant weight restrictions, and support a sophisticated, multiseasonal plant palette tolerant of extreme growing conditions. Its primary role as an amenity space for a thriving corporation, combined with its positive ecological impact, redefines what is possible when creating a contemporary terrace garden in a dense urban environment.
— Amy Falder, Partner, New York Green Roofs

A Green Respite for Manhattan Office Workers

Transforming a corporate office building into a lush green oasis in midtown Manhattan, this vegetated roof offers staff of a booming realty company an unusually peaceful respite amidst the constant movement of a bustling city. 7,000 square feet of living roof and integrated decking establishes a buffer between a busy officespace and one of the densest urban environments on the planet. The design provides a visual on ecological succession of a changing landscape as it incorporates a mostly extensive mix of meadow grasses, flowering perennials, and low growing succulents. Observation of seasonal progression is enhanced with a few flowering trees and spring blooming bulbs.

The irrigation design incorporates advanced water conservation practices and technologies keeping the water below the surface of the vegetated roof so that evaporation, wind overspray and mist or surface run-off is mitigated. Water is applied directly to the plant's root zone, where it is most efficiently available for uptake by plant roots.

The project is a wrap-around terrace that exists outside of an owner-occupied commercial office space - all of the employees have views of the vegetated roof from their office windows and access to the green roof for use at their leisure. Staff members are allowed to visit any area of the roof and may choose to lounge on any of the floating decks, each of which is connected via stepping stones that meander through the vegetation. This rolling meadow exists in stark contrast to the pedestal paver hardscapes that exist on the terraces below and above, and it creates a visual landmark that is viewed by thousands of tenants occupying nearby high rises lining 3rd avenue. Located 17 stories above the street in an urban canyon of Midtown Manhattan, the project design accommodated the extreme growing conditions of its surroundings in a windy, concrete and glass jungle. It is anticipated that the roof will not only enhance the experience of its users for years to come, but will also serve as a representation for progressive ecological design in the built-environment, reflecting what we can do make our cities more liveable, efficient, and sustainable.

P.S. 6 Eric Dutt Eco Center

P.S. 6 Eric Dutt Eco Center

New York, NY

Award Winner
MKM Landscape Architecture PC

Architectural Design: Downtown Designworks Architecture PLLC
Landscape Contractor: Windsway Construction LLC
Structural Engineer: Murray Engineering
MEP Engineer: Beitin Assoc.
General Contractor: Hilt Construction

MKM collaborated with The Downtown Group on the design of this unique rooftop facility and year-round science classroom for Elementary School PS 6 in Manhattan’s Upper East Side. This intensive green roof and outdoor classroom offers numerous hands-on learning opportunities for students, and serves as a model for all schools on how to optimize productive and educational programs on otherwise under-utilized roofs.
— Anne Vaterlaus, Director of Design, Mark K. Morrison Landscape Architecture PC

Setting a High Bar for Environmental Education

When P.S.6’s beloved science teacher Eric Dutt suddenly died in 2007, leaving his dream of arooftop garden and greenhouse unfulfilled, the school community rallied around the idea of bringing his dream to life. Located atop a three-story building on Madison Avenue and 81st Street, and just a few blocks away from Central Park, P.S.6’s intensive green roof became a logical link in New York City's ecosystem. Seen from above, the lush green island of the green roof blends with street canopies and provides a welcome break in the prevalent rooftop blight. The rooftop includes an intensive green roof with individual planting zones for each school grade, a green wall, a greenhouse classroom, 16 solar panels, a composting center, a weather station, a picnic area, an outdoor classroom and a turtle pond powered by a windmill. The landscape areas are divided into distinct plant analogues that include emergent species within the pond, drought tolerant grasses to simulate a meadow, and bog species around the pond and dry stream-bed. The green roof is a Wildlife Habitat site certified by the National Wildlife Federation.

Students cultivate vegetables and herbs from seed in the greenhouse that are transplanted into raised planting beds. With the help of teachers and parent volunteers the students at P.S. 6 Eco-Center grow fruits, vegetables and herbs for the school cafeteria's salad bar. They collaborate with the cafeteria staff to develop recipes for the produce grown on the roof.

P.S.6’s green roof construction and ongoing use have become a testing ground for green roof integration into NYC’s public school system. Issues such as P.S.6’s structural building modifications, accessibility, and integration of green roof environment into science curriculum are examined by the staff of all NYC schools interested in pursuing green roof installation. In addition, P.S.6 green roof hosted city-wide free NYC eco-school workshops, such as "How to Create Wildlife-Friendly Schoolyard Habitats".

The garden, tended by the schoolchildren, school staff and parent volunteers, has flourished. "The shade garden fills in beautifully, and the green wall is thriving", says Allison Godshall, a P.S.6 environmental science teacher. Simone Braga, one of the participants of the Eco-Schools workshop hosted in June of 2013, has described the P.S.6 green roof oasis: “The flowers, the water dripping inside vases, birds drinking from everywhere, and grapes too! I forgot that I was in a very busy city.”

The Eric Dutt Eco Center inspires faculty, students and their families toward scientific discovery and exploration of the natural world and serves as a model for green roof opportunities available to public and private schools.