Awards of Excellence 2017

VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre

VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre

Vancouver, BC

Award Winner
Connect Landscape Architecture

Project Team

Acoustics: BKL Consultants Ltd
Green Roof Advisor/Supplier: Jelle Vonk, Zinco Canada
Architect: Jim Huffman, Perkins + Will Canada
Building Envelope: Sophie Mercier, Morrison Hershfield
Civil Engineer: RJ Binnie & Associates
Client: Harry Jongerdon, VanDusen Botanical Garden; John Ross, Vancouver Parks Board
Construction Manager: Rebecca McDiarmid, Ledcor Construction
Landscape Architects: Cornelia Hahn Oberlander; Ken Larsson, Connect Landscape Architecture, Inc
Landscape Contractor: Jeremy Miller, Houston Landscapes
Living Roof Consultant & Supplier: Ron Schwenger, Architek
Mechanical/Electrical: Goran Ostojic, Integral Group
Membrane Installer: Metro Roofing
Membrane Supplier: Soprema
Structural Engineer: Duane Paibroda, Fast and Epp

The Musqueam people like all Aboriginal people throughout the world lived in harmony with nature. We have respect for all life: we respect the plants that provide the medicines that heal our body; give our body nourishment through the foods that we eat; that clean the soil and water; and clean the air that we breathe.
— Jeri Sparrow, Musqueam Elder, Opening Prayer Speech

Reconnecting People to Modern Environmental Concerns

The state-of-the-art Visitor Centre re-connects people to the environmental issues of the 21st Century including water and energy conservation, re-use and recycle, beauty of our native plant ecology, and a healthier way of building and design. The overall scope was 5 acre site master plan including a 16,000-ft2 green and blue roof.

Inspired by the form of a native orchid leaf, the VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre forges a unique relationship between architecture, landscape, and ecology to create a landmark facility. The dynamic roof is the cornerstone of the building’s water conservation strategy with six individual undulating roof petals; two blue roofs for water collection and solar hot water tubes and four petals planted with living roofs. The restorative planting strategy is inspired by the Pacific Northwest Coastal Grassland communities featuring custom fescue grasses with native perennial bulbs and sedums. 100 per cent of site runoff is managed on site for a net zero water runoff facility.

The roof itself is shaped and divided like the orchid leaves. The green roof was carefully planned to reflect the Pacific Northwest Coastal grassland community and includes over twenty species of native plants, bulbs, and grasses. The unique undulating roof planes simulate rolls and hummocks with gentle slopes of 5% to near vertical grades. The variety of solar orientation creates multiple opportunities for grassland/bulb plant communities.

Green roof runoff is directed to an existing stream, enhanced infiltration beds, and wetlands in addition to underground cistern. Key sitelines were established from the main arrival bridge, upper terrace, restaurant, and street and throughout the gardens to reinforce the importance of the roof to the image of the project. The project is certified for LEED Platinum and Living Building Challenge (LBC) 2.0. The judges praised the project’s connection to greater site systems and integration of ecology and technology.

Hedgegate House

Hedgegate House

Sea Ranch, CA

Award Winner
AE Design

Project Team

Architectural Photographer: Jonnu Singleton
Growing Media Supplier: Joe DiNorscia, Rooflite
Owner/Architect/Construction Manager:Janet MacKinnon, AE Design
Rainwater/Graywater Systems and Green Roof & Irrigation: Kevin Heston, AE Design
Stormwater, Graywater, and Living Roof Design: Paul Kephart, Rana Creek Design
Structural Engineer
: Ivan Lee Welte, I.L. Welte & Associates

By raising the native meadow to a living roof, Hedgegate softens the foreground and preserves the public view of the California Coastal National Monument
— Janet MacKinnon, AE Design

A Biophilic Residence Along the Pacific

Hedgegate is located on the west side of California Highway 1 on the scenic, north Sonoma coast. From the highway, the view to the Pacific Ocean and the California Coastal National Monument is protected by legislation to preserve this natural wonder for public appreciation. The protective legislation placed significant controls on the design of Hedgegate. The structure was limited to 1300 square feet and the height limited to 16 feet above above the coastal meadow. The limited conditioned space interdigitates with protected outdoor spaces and the ready access to the exterior on both the ground floor and upper (main) level encourage outdoor living.

William Browning’s work on the 14 Patterns of Biophilic Design provides a vocabulary to discuss the design architects intuitive integration of “spatial configurations in Nature commingled with patterns of Nature in the Space and Natural Analogues.”

The Hedgegate design provides abundant visual connection with Nature as well as non-visual connections: the sound of surf, the bark of seals, the caw of crows and seagulls, the call of California quail and the smell of grasses and salt air. The sounds of flowing water from the rain room provide the analogue to a native stream. The unimpeded view of the Pacific Ocean and shoreline whitewater yield a prospect both stimulating and inviting. In contrast, the back corner of the rain room, its green walls and flowing water create refuge from the circulation of the household and natural elements. The view from this back corner expands to a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean providing the mystery and anticipation of more beyond the refuge. Entering and exiting Hedgegate stimulate the senses with variable airflow and temperatures. The numerous angles, skylights and open roofs provide changing conditions of light and shadow. The native plants lifted to the roofs reflect the local coastal meadow. As one climbs the stairs into Hedgegate, more of the living roof becomes visible, then the green wall appears, and finally when the top of the stairs, the view opens and one looks down, from the safety of solid footing, 15 feet into lush vegetation and flowing water of the rain room. A slight turn of the head to the left, and the first glimpse of the oceanic views draws one further into the living space with the promise of more.

Built during a severe 5 year drought, it was important to maximize use of all available water. The rainwater/stormwater from the roof, retaining wall, rain room, and driveway, is collected for irrigation of the living roof and graywater is collected for irrigation of the ground landscaping. The judges praised this project for its integration both into the site’s ecology, as well as the region’s broader cultural goals.

Bertschi Living Building Science Wing

Bertschi Living Building Science Wing

Seattle, WA

Award Winner

Project Team

Architectural Design: Chris Hellstern, KMD Architects
Civil Engineering: Colleen Mitchell, 2020 Engineering
Food Systems Consultant: Brook Sullivan, Back to Nature LLC
Geotechnical Engineering: Dave Cook, GeoEngineers
Landscape Architect: Mark Sindell, GGLO
Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing: Hollis Heron, Rushing
Preconstruction/Construction Services: Stacey Smedley, Skanska
Public Relations Services: Megan Hilfer, Parsons Public Relations
Structural Engineering: Quantum Consulting Engineers
Sustainability Consultant: Chris Edlin, O’Brien and Company

Thanks to the Restorative Design Collective, the Bertschi Living Building Science Wing is a model for sustainability in construction, and has challenged our industry to push for more net-zero buildings in our region and beyond.
— Chris Toher, Skanska
The Living Building Science Wing will allow students to expand upon current components of the science and sustainability curriculum, such as rainwater harvesting and solar energy. In addition, students will learn about passive ventilation, net-zero water and net-zero energy consumption, concepts that will push their thinking and understanding decades into the future!
— Brigitte Bertschi, Bertschi School
With the integration of sustainability into our curriculum, we encourage students to become engaged as thoughtful stewards of local and global communities,” said Founder and Head of School Brigitte Bertschi. “This science building will truly bring learning to life, offering an unparalleled educational experience to not only our students but the greater community in Seattle and beyond.
— Udo Reich, Bertschi Board President
This project proves that empowering the children, whose ideas were integrated through the design, can really make a difference.
— Brigitte Bertschi, Bertschi School

A Model For The Way We Approach The Built Environment

The Green Wall was designed as an integral component of The Bertschi School Science Wing, with a primary role of meeting the Water Petal requirement of the Living Building Challenge. Located in Seattle’s Capitol Hill Neighborhood, the project was one of the first in the world to pursue the Living Building Challenge v2.0 criteria.

This non-profit elementary school science wing was collaboratively designed with the students and designed pro-bono by the entire design team. A 20-kilowatt PV system produces all of the electricity for the building and allows students to participate in real-time monitoring of the building’s energy use and solar power production. All the water needed for the building is collected and treated on site. This is done through a variety of methods including cisterns for storage, an interior green wall which treats grey water and a composting toilet to treat black water. The most important aspect of the project is that all sustainable features are visible and functional to students to learn ecological concepts that can become intrinsic values for future generations.

The Water Petal of the LBC requires 100% of stormwater and building water discharge to be managed onsite. Greywater from the classroom sinks flows down the drain, through an initial filtration system (Aqua2Use filtration units) and then is pumped to the green wall with distribution through an embedded (red list compliant) drip irrigation system. The plant material, selected for its hardiness, tolerance of low light, and ability to absorb water from the soil, uptakes the greywater and disperses it through evapotranspiration. The wall is a key feature of the Eco-haus, designed as a demonstration space to meet the ‘Beauty’ Petal which includes imperatives for Beauty + Spirit and Inspiration + Education. An education facility for pre-k through 5th grade, each of the sustainable systems is expressed, through design, as a visible living learning tool for the students, who measure and monitor performance of the green wall, rainwater harvesting cisterns, and other key features of the building.

Intended to be a model for the way we approach the built environment, the project is open for weekly tours by neighborhood residents, parents, and design professionals and has received thousands of visitors in the short time that it has been open. The judges praised the project’s connections to water and research, varied plant palette, as well as its integration into a larger system.

Fenway Farms

Fenway Farms

Boston, MA

Award Winner
Recover Green Roofs

Project Team

Client: Chris Knight, Fenway Park
Maintenance/Irrigation Technician: Richie Harvey, Recover Green Roofs
Membrane Installation/Warranty Fulfillment: Peter Chaffee, Chaffee Industrial Roofing
Project Manager: Mark Winterer, Recover Green Roofs
Turf Consultant: Scott Koesterich, New England Turf Store

The beauty in this design is its simplicity. Our goal was to maximize every inch of space on MLB’s oldest park, so we created a modular raised-bed system using square milk crates that fit into perfect rows. The recycled plastic shells provide structure for attaching farm components and are easy to move away from snowdrift-prone areas after the final harvest. We used responsibly-sourced organic potting soil, fabric liners that promote rapid root growth, and an on-demand smart irrigation system that distributes water directly to each plant’s roots. A turf layer protects the waterproof membrane and provides a durable surface for the farmers at Green City Growers who harvest over 5,000 pounds of organic vegetables annually.
— Mark Winterer, Recover Green Roofs

Inspiring the Sports Community to Celebrate Healthy

Linda Henry, wife of Red-Sox owner, John Henry, wanted to support urban agriculture and provide a healthy-food alternative to the standard hot-dog-and-hamburger fare that Fenway has traditionally offered. 

Gate A is located on the corner of Yawkey Way and Brookline Street, and for 100 years, the backside of the third baseline stadium looked down on Gate A's hot roof and air-handling equipment. On April 13th 2015, Opening Day, fans looked down on a sprawling 5,000-square foot rooftop farm. Peppers, kale, and tomatoes replaced black rubber and grey metal; tens of thousands of onlookers couldn't believe what they saw. It has since become the most popular stop on the Fenway-Park tour, and the Huffington Post ranked it the number one great secret spot in Boston.

In order to prevent the soil from blowing off the roof, we used milk crate-planters lined with fabric pots to hold the soil up on the roof. The milk crate square shape maximizes every inch of limited roof space and provides structural support for irrigation lines, trellising, and low tunnels without penetrating the membrane. Drip emitters distribute water directly to the roots and eliminate runoff. GCG harvested over 4,800lbs in 2015, and Fenway contracted planting of the adjacent roof in 2016.

The mission of this project was to inspire the Red Sox community in Boston, New England and beyond, to celebrate health; individually, inspiring healthy daily choices and together, inspiring us to imagine what is possible to bring about healthier communities. With 2.9 million visitors each year, over 5,000 pounds of fresh food harvested each year, and Michelle Obama taking note: “six years ago, I don't think any of us could have imagined that Fenway Park would have a 5,000-square-foot farm on its rooftop to provide fresh produce for its fans;”. Judges praised the project’s ability to connect green roof technology with new audiences, and exceeding typical expectations for sports and commercial institutions.


Rooftop Wheat Prairie

Rooftop Wheat Prarie

Chicago, IL

Award Winner
Omni Ecosystems

Project Team

General Contractor: Bulley & Andrews
Green Roof Designer, Manufacturer, Installer: Omni Ecosystems
Landscape Architect: Studio Gang Architects
Owners Representative: Daccord LLC
Wheat Farming & Processing: The Roof Crop LLC

The unassuming star of this project was the prolific crop of winter wheat which matured into an edible, harvestable grain. The amber waves created a unique pastoral aesthetic for the client, protected the underlying prairie from wind damage, and tasted delicious when milled into pastry flour and baked into cookies.
— Molly Meyer, Omni Ecosystems
With more than fifty species planted on top of a historic building, our mini prairie functions more as a thriving ecosystem than a green roof, creating food and habitat for birds, butterflies, insects, fungi, and now people.
— Jeanne Gang, Studio Gang
Daccord had the pleasure of working with Omni Ecosystems again on this project, and as with our past experience, they did an excellent job showing responsiveness, quality and most importantly creativity. We congratulate them for this award and a job very well done.
— Len Skiba, Daccord LLC

Chicago’s Amber Waves of Grain

The Chicago Wheat Prairie is a unique, picturesque landscape growing three stories above a bustling Chicago intersection.

The Chicago Wheat Prairie is a complete anomaly in aesthetics and general design. It’s the only rooftop in the city growing amber waves of grain. The golden wheat accented by bright wildflowers offers city dwellers a one-of-a-kind visual splendor. To immerse visitors into the wheat prairie, a room of floor-to-ceiling glass windows was constructed in the middle of the roof, offering incredible views from all angles.

In designing this roof, a team of architects and ecologists sowed a crop of red winter wheat into a 4,700-square-foot, 5-inch rooftop prairie. The grain’s purpose was threefold: creating a singular pastoral aesthetic for the client, one that mirrored the Midwestern landscape; providing wind protection for cover crops and wildflowers also growing in the meadow; and determining the extent to which green roofs could address food security issues in urban landscapes vis-a-vis cereal grain production. The proof-of-concept research conducted at this site resulted in the first-known rooftop wheat harvest, which produced 66 pounds of high-quality whole wheat pastry flour from a hyperlocal source, create employment opportunities along the way, and provided a working model for urban grain production.

With more cities incentivizing green roofs, this project takes important steps in shaping the future of urban landscapes. It lays important groundwork for creating a city where rooftops are no longer passive landscapes but spaces for discovery, productivity and resiliency. Judges praised the project for its interesting mixture of agriculture and ecology.


1516 West Carroll Ave Roof Farm

1516 West Carroll Ave Roof Farm

Chicago, IL

Award Winner
Omni Ecosystems

Project Team

Architect: Lynsey Sorrell, Perimeter Architects
Farm Marketing & Operations: Tracy Boychuk, The Roof Crop LLC
General Contractor: Kirk Bacastow, LG Construction
Green Roof Designer, Manufacturer, & Installer: Molly Meyer, Omni Ecosystems
Owners Representative: Paul Clausen, Clausen Management Services
Roofer: Andy Moglieniki, AB Edwards

The roof farm epitomizes Omni’s mission to create resilient landscapes that are beautiful and that create social and ecological solutions. Serving as a hands-on classroom, hyper-local food source, native pollinator pathway, and peaceful workplace respite, the rooftop farm elevates the possibilities of living infrastructure systems.
— Molly Meyer, Omni Ecosystems
I’ve marveled watching this rooftop grow— not only as an ecosystem, with a more impressive array of crops establishing every year— but as a space for fellowship and community.
— Tracy Boychuk, The Roof Crop
1516 West Carroll represents the best of what Perimeter Architects strive for in every project: innovation, collaboration, great design and clever solutions. The roof system is so light and flexible, engineering the roof was far less complex than with other systems on the market but the results are incomparable.
— Lynsey Sorrell, Perimeter Architects

A Pioneer In Chicago Urban Agriculture

The Commercial Rooftop Farm is a fully-functioning, commercial-scale rooftop farm located on the West Side of Chicago. The roof produces an impressive yield of 44 different crops in more than 100 varieties including green beans, potatoes, radishes, turnips and raspberries. Every week during harvest season, produce from the roof is picked, processed and packaged on-site before it’s sold to nearby restaurants and consumers, and served in locally-sourced dishes.

The site features four roofs, three of which are farmed commercially, and one 1,200-square-foot rooftop lawn used for observation and research. The food meadow is supported by an exceptionally lightweight substrate ranging in depth from 4 to 8 inches. The roof is a polyculture system, combining perennials and food crops to establish a healthy nutrient cycle and generate bountiful harvests. Perennial cover crops, many of which are edible, create a stable and established ecosystem. Seasonal seedling crops, including tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant, are added to diversify the rooftop menu.

The Carroll project is laying the groundwork and providing crucial research for these future rooftop farming projects, making it a pioneer in urban agriculture in Chicago. The building below the commercial rooftop farm houses three education-focused non profits. Two of these are after-school programs which incorporate the farm into much of their programming, teaching lessons in ecology, biology and food production and using the green roof as their classroom. Urban youth with little to no knowledge of agriculture are provided invaluable exposure to a fully-functioning farm. Select students who wish to continue their education are offered summer employment with the green-roof company. The third organization is a coalition of Chicago chefs who create food and nutrition programming for local schools. Rooftop produce is occasionally used in their classroom demonstrations and lessons, and the farm collaborates with this group

Fruits, veggies and florals harvested from the farm are purchased by nearby food cooperatives, consumers and restaurants which use them in locally-sourced dishes. The farm grows more than 100 varieties of crops including peppers, raspberries, melons, cucumbers, kales, apples and more. Harvests are conducted weekly, making the roof a viable and reliable source of hyperlocal food. Judges praised the project for its integration of urban living and agriculture as well as its array and diversity of food production.

Mountain Equipment Coop Head Office

Mountain Equipment Coop Head Office

Vancouver, BC

Award Winner
Connect Landscape Architecture

Project Team

Architect: Greg Piccini, Proscenium Architecture & Interiors Inc; Hugh Cochlin, Proscenium Architecture & Interiors Inc
Civil Engineer: Sandy Treagus, Mountain Equipment Co-op
Client/Owner: Ken Larsson, Connect Landscape Architecture, Inc
Commissioning Agent: Stantec
Electrical/Mechanical Engineers: Roland Charneux, Pageau Morel and Associates
Energy Consultant: FVB Energy Inc
Environmental Consultant: Golder Associates, Ltd
General Contractor: Ventana Construction Corporation
Green Building Consultant: Corin Flood, Green Building Consulting & Design
Green Roof Landscape Installation: North by Northwest
Landscape Architect: Peter Tapp, Kerr Wood Liedal
LEED Consultant: Jason Packer, Recollective
Membrane Supplier: Homan Roofing Ltd
Roofing Contractor: Metro Roofing
Structural Engineer: Tanya Luthi, Fast + Epp Structural Engineers

The design “completely plays into MEC’s idea that you can have a place with a sense of environment, where you can connect with the context around you.”
— Ron Clay, Proscenium
It includes some wonderful collaborative and social spaces. The project has been tailored to its inhabitants, offering up environmental features as a way to enhance their day-to-day working life. The green roof is not there just to gain a credit, but is a habitable program space for the enjoyment of employees
— SAB Magazine

Excellence In Integrative, Holistic Design

The Mountain Equipment Coop Corporate Headquarters is a 4-story heavy timber building is located on a 101,000 sq.ft. former industrial site, and a highly visible example of a high performance building and landscape:  passive energy, water management, and both interior and exterior amenity for occupants. The landscape and architectural design create a head office that functions as an extension of one of MEC's core values - "sustainability by design".

Objectives include:

  1. Celebration of Rain Water - Located on the original China Creek, the project “daylights” and passively treats stormwater. The ‘blue roof’ captures rainwater for irrigation and non-potable building use. Stormwater is filtered and managed through a series of rain gardens and native water wise plantings. A vertical wall displays rain water falling from the roof to an at grade rain water feature.
  2. Activating the Outdoors - The site is accessibile - located adjacent to a rapid transit station and bike route. A large intensive green roof with panoramic views of the north shore offers leisure space, vegetable planters, and fruit trees for employees and clients. An entry plaza encourages social interaction with custom seating and bicycle storage.
  3. Having a Light Footprint - The LEED® Platinum MEC Corporate Headquarters is a prominent example of a high performance building and landscape: passive energy, water management, and both interior and exterior amenity for occupants.

Overall, the landscape supports MEC's vision of creating a forward-thinking workplace that fosters staff health. The plan provides approximately 8,565 sq.ft of intensive/extensive green roof space (27.5% of the 31,000 sq.ft. building footprint). Judges praised the project’s integration of green roof technology into broader systems such as water management and highlighting a great step in local community design leadership.