Thursday, April 18, 2013

Green Roofs

Green Roofs

By: Andrew Ewing

LOCATION: California Academy of Sciences, The Osher Living Roof
CREDITS: Greenroof Consultant: Rana Creek Living Architecture

WHY DID YOU SELECT THIS ONE: This is a unique green roof where everything is specific to this particular roof. Every piece has its own specific place, and was designed intentionally. This is a complicated green roof system, but proves that green roofs can be located on surfaces other than flat roofs.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION: The California Academy of Sciences building was designed by Renzo Piano. “Beneath the 2.5 acre living roof, a single building measuring 410,000 square feet houses the academy components that once stretched across 12 structures.” The planetarium and the bubble that contains the rain forest habitat are the two big spheres that shape the green roof. The design of the roof has seven undulating green hillocks that respect the topography of San Francisco and blend the building into the existing parkland.

The roof sits 35 feet in the air planted with wildflowers and native species. “The San Francisco-based Bernard Osher Foundation made a $20 million donation to the Academy project in support of the living roof and the four story living rainforest exhibit.” Construction began in 2005 and the Academy has won several awards for its innovative design. The $429 million project opened September 27, 2008.

This project required a specific modular green roof system design solely for this project. There are 50,000 modules on the roof that are about 17”x 17”. “The three-year research period which Rana Creek Living Architecture designed, built and monitored a series of living roof mock ups, made up of indigenous plants, studied soil retention, and drainage techniques. “The roof is padded with 6 inches of soil which provide excellent insulation. The roof keeps interior temperatures about 10 degrees cooler than a standard roof and reduces low frequency noise by 40 decibels. “It will also decrease the urban heat island effect staying about 40 degrees cooler than a standard roof. Moreover, it will absorb about 98% of all storm water. The roof consists of 1.7 million plants made up by 9 native species.

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