SYNTHe is a sustainable initiative investigating the development of adaptable structures able to fulfill Green Roof requirements by weaving physical and biological processes into a discreet and self-sufficient ecosystem.
What was the basic brief for the project, and who was the client?
Located on top of The Flat, a residential development in downtown Los Angeles combining rental units with an dynamic public programming and a ground floor restaurant. The project investigates the development of adaptable structures able to fulfill Green Roof requirements within the city of Los Angeles by weaving physical and biological processes into a discreet and self-sufficient ecosystem.
The Rooftop Garden consists of a suspended corrugated metal blanket forming a series of green channels or plow lines. An alternating series of hard and soft surface treatments weave together a fertile ground for the production of edible species and a unique series of platforms and seating spaces overlooking the downtown skyline to the east and the extensive Los Angeles horizon towards the south. Each plow-line channel accommodates an engineered growth medium, much less dense than natural soil in order to minimize dead loads, and an automatic drip irrigation system.
How many square feet/acres of garden space is there?
The GreenRoof has a surface area of 3000 sq.ft., located in dowtown Los Angeles and 75 feet above ground. The project bounding box: 90ft long, 50 feet wide, 12 feet tall.
The GreenRoof is designed to achieve, among others, the following environmental effects:
Reduce Building Heat Gain, temperature is 15 degrees cooler beneath the Garden Skin;
Reduce Storm water waste, 80% of rain water is captured and utilized for irrigation;
Establish a sustainable plant ecosystem and collaborate with air pollutants filtering.
What was the inspiration for the resulting design?
The overall surface is articulated as to clear all existing mechanical equipment on the roof: HVAC, ventilation and fire control systems while providing a 100% usable surface tiered as to receive maximum solar exposure. The formal and physical outcomes imply a slow rolling artificial terrain activating potential for organic food production, provision of a social gathering space, help filter pollutants, increase thermal insulation of the roof and manage storm water runoff.
What materials / techniques were used, and what are the dimensions?
The project proposes a customizable fully prefabricated system composed of three main elements: A slip-on structural metal framework negotiating the span between a complex and formless concrete roof and a blank and programmable rooftop surface, a specialized recycled plywood substructure qualifying the cross section of the project and a galvanized sheet-metal cladding alternating as planter liners and lost formwork for cast in place concrete tiles.
What plants are growing here, and why?
The landscaping proposes a prototype garden that will include fruit trees and vines, herbs and vegetables which will be tended and used by the restaurant chef and residents.
The production of the GreenRoof is designed to provide the restaurant with an array of specialized vegetables intended for daily specials; crops are sequenced on 90 day phases intended to renovate the production on a seasonal basis.
In addition, the GreenRoof provides the restaurant with a a full spectrum of fresh herbs and aromatics for daily use, enabling year round self-suficiency.
Vegetables, fruits and herbs flavors are accented or smoothen, acidity levels balanced and intensity rounded as to suit specific cookings needs through a dedicated composting and irrigation program.
Organic left overs from food preparation are recycled in distinctive composting bins and feedback to the GreenRoof in the form of nutrients and plant nourishment closing the GreenRoof’s production cycle.
Green Roof Plant Schedule Breakdown
English, Lemon and Summer Thyme; Variegated Oregano; Purple, Spotted and Silver Sage; Thai, Japanese and Purple Basil, Rue, Italian Parsley, Bay Leaves; Peppermint, Spearmint, Candy, Gray and Corsican Mint.
Dandelion; Hawaian Onions; Collard Greens; Swiss Chard; Red, Orange, Green Chard;
Butterhead, Boston, Bibb, Buttercrunch Lettuces; Wheat Grass; Kale; Squash blossoms; Broccoli.
White Peppers, Poblano Peppers, Jalapennos; Carrots; Tomatoes
This is a prototype. Is it in the works elsewhere?
Different project iterations are being developed for the city of Los Angeles; and similar surface programming opportunities are being developed at a larger scales and part of City Public Parks; among them Vincent Jr. park in Inglewood, CA and Sam Bonnart Park in New Orleans, LA.
We are currently developing a Sustainability Pilot Program for the Chungking Road area of Chinatown in Los Angeles.
Alexis Rochas, Principal.
SCI_Arc Design-Build Research Laboratory
Alexis Rochas, Instructor
Project Team: Jeremy Backlar, Leigh Bell, Reymundo Castillo, Deborah Fuentes, John Klein, John Ford, Santino Medina, Leandro Rolon, Wataru Sakaki, Patrick Shields.
Bruce Danziger. Arup, Los Angeles
Los Angeles Community Garden Council
Terence Toy, Garden Curator
Bret Mosher, MKT
Blue Velvet Restaurant