On October 20th, 2021, Ken Larsson delivered a talk at the Green Roof Maintenance Presentation with Jason Schmidt (City of Portland) and Doug Crimin (Pacific Landscape Maintenance). Ken’s lecture focused on the landmark VanDusen living roof at the VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre in Vancouver, B.C. As the Principal-in-charge of the project, Ken designed the living roof nearly a decade ago in collaboration with Cornelia Hahn Oberlander and attributed much of its continued appreciation to a rigorous design process at inception.
He views the project as a true example of a regenerative landscape; landscapes intended to restore the environment and encourage long-term sustainability, increase biodiversity, and enhance resilience. There is no doubt that with each change of the season, the living roof becomes more extraordinary aesthetically. But perhaps most important is how this model green roof continues to serve as a driving precedent in our collective quest for implementing more climate-resilient design initiatives.
About the VanDusen Botanical Garden Visitor Centre:
The Visitor Centre re-connects people to the environmental issues of the 21st Century including water and energy management, re-use and recycle, beauty of our native plant ecology, and a healthier way of building and design. The project exceeds LEED Platinum and is certified by Cascadia Green Building Council’s Living Building Challenge (LBC) 2.1. and Canada’s first Living Building.
Inspired by the organic forms and natural systems of a native orchid, the Visitor’s Centre is organized into undulating green roof ‘petals’ that float above rammed earth and concrete walls. These petals and stems are connected by a vegetated land ramp linking the roof to the ground plane, encouraging use by local fauna.
The Green Roof Info Think-tank (GRiT) is a network of businesses, government agencies, non-profit organizations, researchers and community members joining together to grow the knowledge and use of green roofs in the Pacific Northwest. Over the years, GRiT served as a forum for sharing research, building relationships, and promoting the green roof industry.
Cornelia Hahn Oberlander Landscape Architect
Perkins + Will Architects
Vancouver Parks Board, and Botanical Garden Steering Committee