Three green roof projects at one of the most upscale mixed-use complexes on Michigan Avenue highlight how good design can increase the value that people – individually and collectively – can receive from an increasingly popular environmental solution. The roofs share a common aesthetic but respond to the varied needs of business and residential occupants. Ninth-floor business tenants have access to the roof’s intimate gathering area, where they can sit surrounded by a mix of grasses, sedum and alium that are planted at varying heights. The roofs are boldly graphic and legible to thousands of people who view them daily.
Ten floors above Michigan Avenue, the condominium’s residents retreat to an urban Acropolis: nearly 14,000 square feet of luxury green and flowering landscape, with spacious zones in which to entertain friends, enjoy the pleasures of grilling, or follow the axial paths and sightlines that connect the garden to the magisterial Chicago skyline. The plant material’s varying heights create an unfolding experience from within the garden, and offer shadow and depth throughout the year when viewed from above. This green roof’s environmental benefits blend with a sophistication of design appropriate to a luxury amenity, to create a game-changing paradigm for what urban dwellers will come to expect.