96 Sustainable Environments
Balmori Associates,
Green Roofs at the Solaire Building,
New York, New York, United States
Landscape architects Balmori Associates
collaborated with Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects
to integrate vegetated roofs and a hydrologi-
cal system into the Solaire Building, the fi rst
sustainable residential high-rise in the United
States. Two green roofs—a 5,000-square-foot
(464.5 square-meter) terrace on the nine-
teenth oor and a 4,800-square-foot (445.9
square-meter) roof on the twenty-eighth
oor—absorb rainwater and fi lter pollutants
from the excess runoff , which is collected in a
basement cistern together with the buildings
gray water.  is water is later reused to irri-
gate not only the Solaire roofs but local parks
as well.
Environmental Interface
98 Sustainable Environments
sound wall
mechanical equipment
planting soil hydrotech
Above Right Typically, green roofs are not
meant to function as rooftop gardens.  e
intensive vegetated surface of the large ter-
race, however, off ers the buildings residents
desirable outdoor green space, with views of
Battery Park City and the Hudson River.
Right Bamboo groves screen the views of
and sounds from the mechanical equipment.
Additionally, they create shade and reduce
wind at the seating areas and along the
Opposite e vegetated surfaces of Solaire
merge architecture, urban setting, and land-
scape: Here the gleaming sculptural forms of
ventilation units that line a walkway of stone
pavers are continued by the buildings in the
distance. At the same time, in the dense ur-
ban fabric of lower Manhattan, greens roofs,
especially when clustered, contribute to the
environment by absorbing solar radiation
and improving air quality.
Opposite Below ree types of planting
beds form terraces rising from the paths and
benches at the periphery of the roof.  e two
categories of vegetated roofs at the Solaire
use diff erent plants.  e extensive green roof
consists of grasses and sedums in 4 inches
(102 millimeters) of planting soil. Nine fl oors
below, the intensive green terrace displays a
larger variety of fl ora, including bamboo and
other perennials, in 4-, 12-, and 18-inch (102-
, 305-, and 457-millimeter) planting beds.
Section through Paver Section through 12” (305 mm) Planter Section through 18” (457 mm) Planter
2” (51 mm)
stone paver
4” (102 mm)
structural soil
(152 mm)
clear anodized
aluminum plate
planting bed
angle frame
tall bamboo
planting bed
(152 mm)
(152 mm)
Environmental Interface

Get Contemporary Design in Detail: Sustainable Environments now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.