Roanoke Market Building

Green Roof Review

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When people ask me what I do for a living, it can be difficult to answer. Technically my current title is Green Innovation Project Manager but that is pretty ambiguous. I am working on a master’s degree in Architecture and Urban Planning so you could say I am involved with those kinds of careers. I do a lot of landscape and rooftop garden designs for clients but I also design greenhouses along with retreat homes made from recycled shipping containers. From the graphic side of things I do photography for our firm, oversee the design of our marketing material and helped develop the logos we are currently using. I also get to manage one of the coolest design teams I have ever had the pleasure of working for.

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So with all that design and green industry interest, it isn’t too surprising that when I was back in Virginia last time I had to go visit the green roof on the Center in the Square building downtown. I had heard a lot about it, most of which was good and seeing the direction my career has been heading it only seemed natural to take a look at it and see if I could gather up some good innovative ideas. Well, it turns out that the ‘green roof’ also has green walls and a few other ‘green innovations’. Truefully, I wasn’t overly impressed with the rooftop gardens as they seemed to be planted in little plant boxes and then just placed in frames on the roof. The system they were using (a very decent one) could have been tweaked to do so much more and I had somewhat hoped to see that. Still overall, the whole of the roof was designed very well.

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However lacking I felt the roof garden was, the green walls did impress me. I had seen similar vertical gardening systems before but not laid out quite like these. They also had a great variety of “small leaf” plants which I found both attractive and interesting. Usually people tend to put large leafy plants on green walls (especially for show), these tend to protrude from the wall creating gaps in the green coverage, leaving the grow structure showing, which really takes away from the wall. In the case of the Roanoke Center in the Square rooftop, the green walls were really well done. Not only where they full and stylish but also very well designed.

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I would highly suggest this green roof to anyone living in the Roanoke area or just passing through. It’s a very cool space and has been put together beautifully! Very much worth the visit!

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