The growing trend of sustainable living walls in notable hotels includes one of BTH’s recent projects- creating one of new york’s largest living walls, atop the newly opened Knickerbocker Hotel in NY’s Times Square. The wall, over 1600 square feet of green space, is a mix of Hedera Helix, Parthenocissus and other plants, including seasonal color. It is the largest wall of its kind composed of over 500 individually planted modules composed of recycled plastic that are attached to stainless steel hanging rails. This modular system not only allowed for a very controlled and varied plant design, but also enables individual modules to be easily removed as needed for design changes or maintenance. At the same time, to prevent the modules from being removed unintentionally or from shaking loose, an anti-lift arm, also made of recycled plastic, was implemented. The versatility of the rail system was also key for this project, as the green wall needed to be mounted to two different wall types. The planting medium was selected because it is specifically engineered to allow for peak plant performance. The material absorbs five times its weight in water and facilitates even irrigation, while still remaining light-weight (approximately 40 pounds per cubic foot). Because it is continuous throughout the entire wall, root growth is not limited to smaller individual cells, allowing for stronger and healthier plants. There is also no concern for excess material falling out of the wall, as the sponge-like block fits perfectly into the modules. The wall also features a state of the art computer controlled irrigation system. This innovative system can take advantage of unseasonable warm days during the winter months, irrigating the wall automatically on a warm day in the middle of the winter, for example. This 3 sided wall stands at 15 feet tall by approximately 175 feet long and can only truly be appreciated in person while visiting St. Cloud, The Knickerbocker’s rooftop bar and lounge.
Hovering 7 stories above Spring Street is a rooftop garden that is more than just a green roof. Featuring a variety of grasses and a seasonal rotation of blooming plants, this rooftop is transformed into an urban meadow. The distinction between the meadow in the forefront and the city’s skyline as a backdrop plays off of the urban vs wild contrast that lives within each of us. The blooming color is planted in large swaths to increase its intensity and rolls through the season adding a constant shift in color. Flowering chives present soft purple tufts and fresh greens beginning in early spring until the coreopsis take over in the summer with their electric orange hue and wild flower nature. Later, the hydrangeas begin to take bloom and their moppy heads create a late summer watercolor that leads the way into autumn red and golden grasses. As part of the common space of a private office, this rooftop retreat provides respite from the bustle of the surrounding city and is the setting for meetings and gatherings from spring through fall.
The design of this corporate terrace needs to accommodate a multitude of functions. During the day the space serves as a meeting place, fresh air lunch breaks and respite from the stress of the day. In the evening it transforms into a social space for networking events and watching the sun set over the Hudson River. The landscape design aims to meld the clean aesthetics of modern design with the iconic architecture of the Starrett-Lehigh Building. 2 large teak tables are placed perpendicular to the length of the terrace providing spatial division and functional definition. Conversational seating is placed at the outward corner providing a soft lounge area that captures the optimum view. In contrast, 2 chaise lounges are placed in the far back corner protected by tall planters to provide the ultimate privacy for relaxing. 2 distinct areas of pavers are removed for the application of sedum green roofs. Capturing the storm water runoff these permeable areas assist in reducing waste water while also adding additional aesthetic value to the terrace. Ore planters are placed to envelope and segment the terrace into functional zones. Planted with color and texture, as well as herbs and vegetables, the plantings create seasonal interest and draw the attention outward from the interior. As one of ORE’s many customizable features, LED lighting was installed within the containers for added ambiance. The ability to locate the lighting elements within the structure of the planters allowed for the generation of a functional spatial design which complements the sleek aesthetics of the interior architecture.