Taikoo Hui Green Roof and Plazas, Guangzhou, China Date of Completion: September 2011
This 4.92 million SF Mixed-Use Development project in China's third largest city contains a bank, office and hotel/residential towers, cultural center, retail mall, green roof and at-grade plazas. The highly choreographed development improves economic sustainability for the developer, allowing a very dense mix of uses due to the creative incorporation and maximization of landscaped open space. The green roof and street level plazas provide a highly aesthetic, restorative amenity for users of the complex, and the community at large. Sustainability elements address Human Health, Environmental Service and Economic Viability.
Significant open space was required for the massive development, sited on only 12.1 acres. A multi-level intensive green roof and landscaped plazas, provide a public park, food courts, and gathering areas. The 2.0 acre third floor roof garden over the retail mall structure functionally and visually links the office towers, hotel/residential tower, retail mall, dining establishments and cultural center. It also forms a plateau that opens to vistas of the city around it, removing cars from the outdoor experience, and introducing a peaceful yet dramatic component to the design. The 0.55 acre fourth floor roof garden serves the hotel and residential units, continuing the aesthetic and environmental benefits of the green roof system. The nearly 3 acre street level landscape and hardscape tie the development to its surroundings, and to the underground train station, below grade parking and service areas, with decorative atrium and vent perforations in the landscapes that bring light and air below ground. The intensive green roof system, with soil depths as great as 6.5 feet, supports a wide variety of large trees and other densely planted native or adapted material, providing more significant environmental services than traditional extensive green roof systems. Large trees provide greater air filtering capacity and carbon storage to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, and greater cooling effect through evapotranspiration and shade. The green roof works in conjunction with high albedo, locally available concrete pavers to insulate the retail mall structure below, extending the life of the building, and reducing the building’s energy use and its contribution to urban heat island effect. Towers 1 and 2 received LEED Gold Certification from the USGBC with at least 4 points contributed by landscape design and innovations for each tower.
The green roof planting beds capture, slow, and treat storm water runoff by reducing impervious surfaces. Runoff is directed towards the planters, allowing only minimal hand watering in order to support plants that were selected and grouped for their adaptability to the site conditions, climate and design intent. Plant material and engineered soils were supplied by local sources. The regeneration of human health and well-being is addressed on many levels. The site is inviting, elegant, accessible and user-friendly due to easy orientation from the surrounding structures, imparting a feeling of security and serenity. The roof gardens and street level landscapes are visible from many levels of the complex and the adjacent buildings, allowing natural, restorative views into the site from the surrounding city. The roof garden includes peaceful, shaded sitting areas, as well as vibrant dining areas, with art and media connections to facilitate mental restoration and social interaction. Many of the plants provide fragrance for humans, and pollen or nectar for wildlife, and several have cultural importance in the Asian community.
Open space is pursued three-dimensionally, with a richly landscaped ground plane experience, connected by monumental stairs leading to a roof garden park above the retail mall podium, introducing the metaphor of a geological landscape, rather than a building. At night, the stairs are enhanced with blue lighting to simulate a waterfall, further enhancing the imagery. A wave-like glass atrium spine flows along the length of the elevated park in an undulating, tectonic fashion, further enhancing the experience of geologic formation, and allowing shafts of natural sunlight to visually connect the four levels of retail activity within, reducing the sense of enclosure below ground. From the park, one can see beyond a lush landscape edge to the city skyline and the surrounding neighborhood, while still participating in the active and passive open spaces. The podium roof garden can be accessed from the street level and the mall, providing integration of the green roof park with the street-level landscape, and all other development components.