Kingsland Wildflowers Green Roof & Community Space is the best example of a creative partnership, an inspiring vision and an urban transformation for the benefit of the community. The project was initiated by Marni Majorele, founder of Alive Structures, and combined efforts among several groups. It was designed, funded and installed in several phases, the first in 2016 and the second in 2017.
The green roof is located in a highly industrial area in Greenpoint, North Brooklyn. Installed on top of a movie studio, it sits across from a sewage treatment plant, next to a recycling facility and a petroleum storage lot, and along Newtown Creek – one of the most polluted bodies of water in New York City.
Newtown Creek was the site of one of the largest oil spills in U.S. history. As part of a settlement with ExxonMobil, the green roof project was funded by the Attorney General’s office through the Greenpoint Community Environmental Fund. The funds were then distributed to NYC Audubon and its partners in an attempt to rebuild and restore the area. In addition, funding was also provided by a city stormwater grant and from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The project kicked off in 2016.
The project was a retrofit on top of a building in Greenpoint. The space for the green roof was donated by Tony Argento, founder of Broadway Stages, a local film and production company. In addition to the space, he paid for the structural engineering and construction of the roof, allowing the project to get started.
The concept for the green roof started with NYC Audubon’s vision for a bird-friendly wildflower meadow, a unique plant choice in the green roof industry. The design, led by Marni Majorele and Alive Structures, features plants specifically selected to attract birds and other wildlife with species native to Long Island. Species include coastland lowland grasses such as Stout Blue-Eyed Grass and Northern Dropseed, Heart-leaf Golden Alexanders, and Asclepias Tuberosa, which is used as a host plant for monarch butterflies and which produces silky seed pod fibers used by Orioles and Goldfinches in nesting.
The wildflower meadow is supported by ultralite growing media, provided by rooflite. The rooflite semi-intensive 500 series is a very lightweight growth media with the same benefits as traditional growth media, including free drainage, water retention, nutrient-rich makeup, and high cation exchange. The media allows this unique green roof to thrive in this urban and industrial area, providing environmental benefits, including stormwater management, to the local community.
The project was truly a collaboration of groups that believe in a sustainable and bright future for the neighborhood. In addition to NYC Audubon, Broadway Stages, and Alive Structures, other important partners include: Fortune Society, which supports successful reentry into society from incarceration and provided 10 workers to install the green roof; Newtown Creek Alliance, which conducted research into land use, policy and economic factors of green roof installation in industrial areas and produced outreach materials about green roof benefits for property owners and managers; New York State Pollution Institute; and Pratt Center and the Open Sewer Atlas.
The Kingsland Wildflowers Green Roof & Community Space had its grand opening in September 2016, and by August 2017, it also included a second sedum roof. Greenpoint can now enjoy a green corridor of native grass and a flower habitat for New York City’s bird, pollinator and insect populations. Bat calls have also been recorded on microphones installed on the green roof. The space offers enrichment activities for the neighborhood, including author lectures, eco-festivals, native plant walk tours, bird surveys, wine and beer tastings, and an outdoor classroom for local schools and the general public.
Project Name: Kingsland Wildflowers Greenroof & Community Space
Location: Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY
Size: 21,711 sq. ft.
Installer: Alive Structures
Green Roof Design: Alive Structures
rooflite Blender: Laurel Valley Soils