Even though on Thursdays all the students and interns are able to participate in a field trip of some kind, there are also what I’ve decided to call ‘Mini Field Trips’ on Wednesdays. We leave later and don’t spend quiet as much time at the locations. I’m sure I’ll learn more about them, but I’ve only been to one, and its obviously this one… haha. Technically they’re called Plant Walks, but the interns and students are going to have a plant identification walk on Mondays now (we’re going to learn 8o plants over 4 weeks, mostly all Longwood cultivars. Should be pretty fun) so that could get confusing. Hence, Mini Field Trip! :D
We started in the main buildings foyer/lobby where they have a living wall (or a green wall, whichever terminology you prefer). It was the largest indoor one I’d ever seen in person. I was mostly interested in how it was physically built because we’d done a few projects in New York that were considered green walls. None of them I saw installed, but because I worked on the design end of them, I was interested in the construction of this one.
It was unique in that it also had a sculptural element that normally ran water down it, sort of like a cascade. They had the water off though because they’re running some tests as to whether the iron from the sculpture pieces are affecting the plants in any way. Even though we were told its usually so healthy they have trouble controlling the size of the plants. In fact, when we were there it looked a little sparse, but that was because they had pulled out all the ‘too large’ plants and started afresh recently!
It was all watered hydroponically and the plants act as filters for the water. They were also part of an air filtration system, we were able to see the duct that the filtered air went into; it was pretty cool.
They had a few different green roof’s, or as our guide called them ‘vegetative roof’s’, but we only spent time at one. The others were actually not ‘walkable’ space.
The walkable greenroof they had was very fun, the colors were amazing!
They also used a reflective paver system from Hanover, which are graded for LEED. So the contrast was very cool. Had it been a sunny day, the pavers might have seemed too bright, but I’ll never really know because it was pretty dreary when we were there. Also, the plants were doing so well there they were starting to come up through the pavers! (Granted, that wouldn’t have been popular on an NYC terrace, but I liked it at Dansko, it softened the pavers a bit)
The green roof plant material was mostly sedum and the it had sprays of dianthus throughout. There color was just stunning. Too beautiful to be seen in these pictures. And the neat thing about the roof was that it had only been planted the season before! They had great success with their first planting evidently, because it looked just great.
This is actually a very cool article that is much more ‘official’ about the green building and all that went on there at the Outlet.
And this article is a smaller summary of it:
Definitely check it out! Also, they are all extremely friendly there, so if you’re interested and in the area, stop in to see it for yourself!