Architek’s Green Roofs Celebrate the Beauty — and Sustainability — of Biophilia
For the living architecture specialists, the integration of nature into the built environment serves high design — and human wellness.
From above, it resembles an orchid. At the heart of Vancouver’s VanDusen Botanical Garden, the sinuous visitor centre is a biophilic statement piece. As a gateway to the grounds, the building is an understated landmark — and a paragon of sustainable design. Designed by a team comprising Busby, Perkins + Will, along with Sharp and Diamond Landscape Architects and legendary landscape architect Cornelia Oberlander, the organically inspired structure is topped by a striking living roof, where a wealth of plantings transforms the building itself into an extension of the landscape, welcoming local fauna and promoting biodiversity.
The VanDusen Botanical Garden’s roofscape reflects both local topography and foliage. PHOTO: Nic Lehoux.
For design-build company Architek, who provided design-assist and installation supervision for the building’s complex green roof systems, the project exemplifies both expertise and ethos. At the VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre and at sites across the country, the integration of greenery is used to create more sustainable natural environments, and spaces that enhance human livability and wellbeing through nature — and beauty. Alongside a rooftop photovoltaic system, the botanical garden’s resilient green roof meets Living Building Challenge standards. Hydroseeded with local grasses and native bulbs, the installation also features rainwater filtration — and requires no on-site irrigation.
A series of green roofs frame the iconic Vancouver House tower.
At the base of developer Westbank’s iconic Vancouver House tower, meanwhile, a cluster of sloped green roofs complement the neo-futurist form of Bjarke Ingels Group’s design. Architek worked closely with the design and development team, including PFS Studio Landscape Architects, to create a tranquil living landscape that serves a variety of birds, insects and pollinators, mitigates urban heat gain and reduces stormwater runoff — all while fostering a distinct sense of place. On a prominent sloped roofscape — which required a complex stainless-steel shear barrier system — that’s seen from the thousands of vehicles that navigate the Granville Bridge off-ramps, the greenery introduces a soothing natural respite amidst the urban bustle.
A meadow landscape meets neo-futurist design.
Founded in British Columbia in 2007, Architek is now a national presence, with offices in Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto, and an established history of close collaboration with some of the leading architects and landscape designers in North America. The principles of sustainable environmental stewardship and human wellness define Architek’s approach and its portfolio, which comprises a wide selection of services (including consultation, design, build and maintenance), and diverse building typologies, ranging from single-family homes to major mixed-use urban developments — such as Vancouver’s Centreview complex.
The mixed-use Centreview complex in Vancouver is topped by a geometric composition of greenery.
An emphasis on listening and close collaboration is also central to the Architek philosophy, with the company enthusiastically leveraging its expertise to realize complex, challenging projects. To ameliorate technically difficult work, the company’s “Design-assist” services guide architects through the product/system selection and design — including project-specific CAD detailing — all the way through to installation and maintenance. And at every stop of the way, sustainability, wellness, and beauty, is at the core of the mission.
The plantings at Vancouver House were carefully chosen to complement local fauna – including endangered pollinators.
While green roofs and living walls can provide a rainwater buffer, purify the air, support biodiversity and reduce the ambient temperature, their benefits are equally meaningful for the human experience. Neurological studies corroborate what we know to be an intuitive human truth; exposure to nature — and beauty — benefits our health and serves as an antidote to stress. It’s a reality that necessitates a holistic commitment to sustainability, design, and wellness. To create truly biophilic, harmonious spaces, greenery and plant life is not a decoration, but a vital part of a living urban landscape.
? Read More Sustainability & LEED ?…, is at the core of the mission. The plantings at Vancouver House were carefully chosen to complement local fauna – including endangered pollinators. While green roofs and living walls can provide a rainwater buffer, purify the air, support biodiversity and reduce the ambient temperature, their benefits are equally meaningful for the human…Architek’s Green Roofs Celebrate the Beauty — and Sustainability — of Biophilia For the living architecture specialists, the integration of nature into the built environment serves high design — and human wellness. From above, it resembles an orchid. At the heart of Vancouver’s VanDusen Botanical Garden, the sinuous visitor centre is a biophilic… azuremagazine.com Total Engagement: 1