June 10, 2009
by Canadian Architect
The groundbreaking Broadway Tech Centre in Vancouver, owned by British Columbia Investment Management Corporation, (bcIMC), and developed by Bentall Limited Partnership, has won a 2009 Green Roofs Award of Excellence for Best Commercial Intensive Rooftop Garden. These prestigious awards, which recognize excellence in innovative and integrated green roof design, were established in 2003 by Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, (GRHC), the not-for-profit North American association of green roof and wall experts and professionals. The award winners are selected by a seven-member, multidisciplinary team of judges, including architects, landscape architects, engineers and horticulturists. Submissions are evaluated according to aesthetic, economic, functional and ecological criteria.
Designed by Bunting Coady Architects, with ecological and urban design by Sharp & Diamond Landscape Architecture Inc, the Broadway Tech Centre is a 17-acre urban business campus centered around eight separate buildings. Located on a former brownfield site, which once housed the Eaton’s department store warehouse and distribution centre, the area now features multiple green roofs with native and hardy trees, shrubs, perennials and grasses. The roofs are protected by a durable membrane to prevent leakage, while the intensive planting shields the structure from the sun. This minimizes temperature fluctuations, thereby increasing the life span of the roof.
Constructed at a cost of $4 million, the roofscape has an area of 270,000 square feet and provides a range of benefits for the Centre. These include improved stormwater management, reduced energy consumption, and purification of water and air. The roof creates a safe natural habitat for migratory birds and insects. Many unique amenities have been incorporated into the roof structure, including North America’s first infill sports field, café patios, south-facing entrance plazas and tree-lined walkways. A dedicated city street, known as Virtual Way, has been constructed over the underground parking.
The thematic use of water features provides an ideal place for both active and passive recreation. Towards the street, bubbling water attenuates traffic noise while the cascading waterfalls located by the main entrance conceptually represent the streams and falls of British Columbia. In other areas of the site, calm channels lined with grasses link the quiet green corridors to the main plazas. Large canopy trees provide dappled shade creating an open, secure and pedestrian-friendly environment.
Drought-tolerant plants, native to coastal BC, including Pacific Dogwood, Vine Maple, Sword Fern, Salal, Oregon Grape, Evergreen Huckleberry, roses, grasses and wildflowers are featured. The mineral-rich planting soil, consisting of 100% recycled materials including decomposed bark, compost and river pump sand from the Fraser River, was specifically created for the rooftop gardens.
A state-of-the art irrigation system was programmed to respond to the specific soil type, exposure and plant requirements of the roof area. This contributed to a 51% drop in water consumption.
The Green Roofs Award of Excellence is the latest in a string of honours garnered by the Broadway Tech Centre. The facility has been recognized by the Urban Development Institute, (UDI), for excellence in Urban Development/Office Development and by the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects. The project was also a winner of the 2002 National Association of Industrial and Office Properties, (NAIOP), Comprehensive Development Award. Sustainable development principles, adopted throughout the design, construction and operational phases, have qualified this innovative centre for the Commercial Building Incentive Program, (CBIP), LEED® and Go Green status. Teresa Coady, Chief Executive Officer for Bunting Coady Architects and Principal In Charge of Design for the Broadway Tech Centre, says: “It is important to encourage a broad adoption of green roofs in the development industry, as they make a significant contribution to combating climate change by reintroducing much needed biomass into our urban areas.”