A prototype green roof on a school in Buenos Aires was successfully installed and demonstrates the potential of the project vision. To demonstrate the potential for green roofs in a city with only 4.5 square meters of green space per capita, a pilot project at Escuela de Jornada Completa Nº 6 “French y Beruti” was conducted in January 2011. The project at the school in the Buenos Aires suburb of Retiro was funded by the Environmental Protection Agency of the Ministry of Environment and Public Space.
Architect Hugo Gilardi is adamant that installing green roofs across schools and government buildings would be a significant proportion of the 1,400 hectares of green roof he believes sufficient to generate a positive environmental impact across the city of some 20,000 hectares. He explained that schools are the perfect starting point for the project due to the effect on the neighborhood. “The green roof becomes an outdoor classroom for learning about ecology and agriculture, by extending the context of teaching and learning media”, he said.
Construction spanned about 45 days and includes an automatic drip irrigation system to overcome the few occasions where local rainfall is not sufficient to maintain the garden. At first, a membrane was installed that protects the roof from continuous contact with water. A layer of around 50mm of substrate was then applied which not only provides a media in which the plants can be grown, but also enhances insulation and retains up to 90% of rainfall to mediate against potential flooding from runoff. The roof was covered with more than 4,000 seedlings, including native species that are best adapted to local conditions. To compare the impact of the green roof, around half of the 240 square meters total area remained as conventional roofing. Analysis includes measuring thermal insulation, rainwater retention capacities, sound insulation, and the ability for the roof to clean the atmosphere by comparing suspended particulate matter.See more
Following five regional competitions, 15 Award-winning projects including Green roofs for Buenos Aires, Argentina, will now compete in the first global Holcim Awards competition for sustainable construction projects. The global phase of the competition showcases the best entries from more than 1500 submissions from 118 countries, and encourages innovative, future-oriented and tangible approaches within the building and construction industry.Holcim Awards competition goes global »
First prize of USD 100,000 went to a conceptual project aimed at improving urban policy by proposing rooftop gardens throughout the city of Buenos Aires by a team led by Hugo Enrique Gilardi of Buenos Aires.
In presenting the award, Prof Vanderley John, Associate Professor, Department of Construction Engineering, Polytechnic School at the Universidade de São Paulo (USP) and head of the jury, said the project provided a response to improve the conditions of individual buildings as well as more extensive environmental problems at a metropolitan scale and beyond.
“Benefits for the individual buildings include improved energy efficiency and optimized thermal insulation; benefits at the city level included the mitigation of urban flooding; and also in terms of global warming through minimizing the consumption of fossil energy,” he said. The project presents an ecologically responsible vision for large urban conglomerations.Read more »
The conceptual project aimed at improving urban policy is refreshingly innovative in proposing roof gardens throughout the city. Highly commended is the ambition to improve the conditions of individual buildings as well as more extensive environmental problems at a metropolitan scale. Benefits for the buildings include a substantial improvement of the energy efficiency of housing, as well as increased comfort due to optimized thermal insulation.
Benefits for the city include mitigation of urban flooding as a result of water retention as well as the reduction of heat islands due to vegetal transpiration. At a world scale, such measures have a positive influence in that they help to reduce global warming both by minimizing the consumption of fossil energy for heating and by controlling CO2 during plant growth.
Important is that the proposal can be applied equally to existing and new buildings. A beneficial social component of the work is that is promises the potential of creating new jobs in the region for construction and maintenance, but is not necessarily limited to this context. Not only demonstrating how the overall material quality of the city can be ameliorated, the project presents an ecologically responsible vision for large urban conglomerations.See more
This project, entitled Green roofs for Buenos Aires, is conceived at the scale of an entire city. Working with a very simple detail, i.e., the necessary layers to fabricate a grass surface, the proposed scheme gains its significance through the application and multiplication of that detail to a dimension of metropolitan proportion – in this case the city of Buenos Aires.
On the one hand, the authors propose a multilayered construction addressing an array of issues, including noise reduction, the improvement of air-quality, heat absorption, thermal insulation, and water retention. On the other hand, a political process has been negotiated with city officials in order to implement the plan. While the project addresses the specific challenges endemic to Buenos Aires, it offers techniques and policymaking strategies that can be applied to many other contexts. Time phasing has been considered as an integral part of the scheme’s overall design logic.
The project proposed the implementation of roof gardens throughout the city of Buenos Aires to provide a substantial improvement of the energy efficiency of housing, as well as increased comfort due to optimized thermal insulation. Benefits for the city include mitigation of urban flooding as a result of water retention as well as the reduction of heat islands due to vegetal transpiration. At a world scale, such measures have a positive influence in that they help to reduce global warming both by minimizing the consumption of fossil energy for heating and by controlling CO2 during plant growth.Download project entry poster (PDF, 5.40 MB) »See more
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