Friday, June 3, 2011

Chelsea's Sky Parks

Sky Parks

The Highline Park
The Highline is Chelsea's most well known Sky Park. but Chelsea has also has a number of other Sky Parks in buildings not open to the public.


Morgan mail processing facility Green Roof, 9th ave at 29th St.

A green roof is a roof of a building that is partially or completely covered with vegetation and a growing medium, planted over a waterproofing membrane. if you add seating and other amenities to a green roof you get a Sky Park.  In 2009 Chelseas' Morgan postal facility on 29th St and 9th Ave installed New York City's first green roof which also just so happens to  function as a Sky Park.
USPS Morgan Processing Facility - EKLA
U.S. Postal Service Morgan Processing Facility Green Roof
Image Credit: Sigal Ben Shmuel, EKLA.

The U.S. Postal Service celebrated another example of its environmental leadership as it dedicated its first and New York City’s largest green roof high atop the Morgan mail processing facility.
At nearly 2.5 acres, and safely perched seven stories above the city, the Morgan green roof offers a spectacular panoramic view of midtown Manhattan and the northern New Jersey shore. Its 14 orange-hued Ipe Brazilian wood benches are made from lumber certified sustainable by the Forest Stewardship Council. Native plants and trees include Calamagrostis, a lush, maintenance-free grass.
Elizabeth J Kennedy, ASLA
Damian Holmes of World Landscape Architect interviewed Elizabeth J Kennedy, Principal of EKLA about the US Postal Morgan Processing Facility Green Roof to get more of insight into the project.

WLA: Do you think your green roof project is the tipping point for green roofs or are they now seen as essential in city living?
Elizabeth: The project is a tipping point in terms of its actual size – big roof areas provide the opportunity to differently inspire the imagination. Typically, to justify the added cost of this type of installation, a green roof should be “useful,” sufficiently (and significantly) offsetting stormwater runoff, or mitigating heat island effect, or adding to the R value of insulation to reduce heating and cooling costs, to eventually offset the investment; in another context a roof of this size could be a productive urban farm – an idea that is no longer far-fetched in the general public’s mind. Except for farming idea, the Morgan P&D Center project was conceived in part to do all those things; however, in its vastness it is also poetic.

WLA: Are you currently designing any other green roof projects?
Elizabeth: This was one of seven projects commissioned in the past two years, including two for hospitals under modernization, and two providing open space for affordable housing; each one has been entirely different from the others. The 2+ acre roof of Morgan P&D Center is the largest in our portfolio; when completed, the green roofs of the WE ACT Environmental Justice Center, will be the smallest in size, at 350 square feet.
USPS Morgan Processing Facility - EKLA
Planting on U.S. Postal Service Morgan Processing Facility Green Roof
Image Credit: Sigal Ben Shmuel, EKLA.

USPS Morgan Processing Facility - <a href=
Seating/Work space – U.S. Postal Service Morgan Processing Facility Green Roof
Image Credit: Sigal Ben Shmuel, EKLA.

USPS Morgan Processing Facility - EKLA
Sigal Ben ShmuelEKLA project technical coordinator for U.S. Postal Service Morgan Processing Facility Green Roof Image Credit: EKLA

Chelsea Residence Sky Park 206 West 24th Street

...To encourage these benefits, incentives are sometimes offered. The developer of Manhattan's Chelsea Residence will receive a check for $55,000 from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority for using green roofs, thermally efficient insulation and energy-efficient windows, according to Richard Vitto, the project's architect.

Incentives are necessary since, in the short run, green roofs are more expensive to construct than standard-issue roofing. "You have to convince policymakers that green roofs deliver tangible benefits to the public that justify the investment," says Peck.

Those who experience green roofs are easier to convince--any new patch of greenery gets raves from urban dwellers enveloped by concrete and steel. The two green roofs on the Chelsea Residence, including a vegetable plot maintained by the tenants, are intended to make up for the complete lack of open space in the area. "Part of the reason you create green roofs is that they're good for the environment," says Vitto, "but it's the human aspect people get excited about." Other projects on the Earth Pledge roster include low-income apartment houses in the green-deficient South Bronx and Harlem.

Concludes Peck, "It's astounding how many benefits you can generate with green roofs. You can create a sense of community, keep people off the streets, provide social assistance and help the ecology."

see also Sky Parks-Part 2