Florida’s First and Largest Green Roof

Miami-based Arquitectonica recently scored a Trifecta with its new School of International and Public Affairs for Florida International University (FIU), providing architecture, landscape architecture and interior design services for the project. Atop the building, the firm designed Florida’s first and largest green roof, reminiscent of views of the Everglades from above. A+A interviewed members of the team that designed it all, via email:

What were the major challenges of the design?

One significant challenge faced during the design phase of this project was garnering support and funds allocated for its green roof. Acknowledging that the design work began back in 2006, as the completion date approached and green roofs became better understood, both client interest and dedication to raising funds became paramount, and ultimately, achievable.

The materials?

Foundation Structure: Post-tension concrete

Exterior Walls: Sand-blasted precast concrete

Materials with sustainable benefits: Carpet tiles (100% recycled content), concrete (with recycled and regional fly ash), steel rebar and beams (with recycled and regional steel), wood (recycled and/or certified renewable source), paint (low/no-VOC), ceiling tiles (recycled content), drywall (recycled content), light fixtures (low/no mercury).

What’s the nature of the roof?

The green roof, planted with indigenous grasses and groundcover, in curvaceous patterns reminiscent of the Everglades as seen from the air, confer on the building the status of true sculpture, as all surfaces, including the roof, contribute masterfully to the entire composition. This remarkable space is both the first and the largest green roof in the State of Florida, clocking in at over 9,000 square feet.  Designed by allied office ArquitectonicaGEO, it is with this exquisite garden that they decisively challenge their contemporary colleagues in landscape architecture.

What kinds of plantings are there, and what’s the intent of its design?

A major focal point is the nearly 9,900 square-foot (thin soil installation) green roof designed for the roof of the auditorium and lobby. It is the largest in the state and is visible from the office portion of the project as well as surrounding campus buildings. The plantings on the roof are native, drought tolerant plants that will not require irrigation once they are established. The green roof’s other benefits include reducing the heat island effect for its surroundings and providing increased insulation benefits to the auditorium and lobby below.

For more information, go to http://arquitectonica.com/

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