Innovation:

fostering the development of an inspiring integration of commerce, culture, and community.

Community:

home to a cluster of community businesses, social entrepreneurs, and not-for-profit organizations.

History:

preserving, restoring, and adaptively reusing an historic space.

Sustainability:

incorporating green elements into the fabric of the building.

The Robertson Building


The Robertson Roof Garden

Robertson Roof GardenIn June 2004, a 4,000 square foot extensive green roof was installed over one half of the Robertson roof. The green roof, designed and installed by Gardens in the Sky, is supported by approximately six inches of organic, light-weight planting media with over 10 species of Ontario native perennials planted into this special soil. These vibrant meadow flowers have thrived over the past growing seasons, despite the occasional harsh weather they encounter in this elevated ecosystem. They provide a gorgeous addition to the urban landscape that can be viewed from the glass atrium and deck that completes the rooftop area.  

Native Ontario WildflowerBefore the green roof was planted, a user-friendly common space needed to be created to allow tenants to enjoy the roof garden. An opening was created from the 5th floor and a new metal staircase was installed. Next, a solid wooden viewing deck was constructed to provide a platform for the glass atrium that now acts as a lobby of sorts for the garden, a protected lounge area, and greenhouse in the winter time. 

The glass atrium is 400 square feet and allows for unobstructed views of the Toronto skyline including a great perspective on the distinct Ontario College of Art and Design table-top building, the blue glass wall and spiral staircase on the south side of the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Financial District, and the CN Tower. This space also gives tenants a unique and relaxing destination to catch a breath of fresh air, have lunch, a meeting, or just a time out. This special space is also home to an amazing proliferation of biodiversity in plants, animals, bees, butterflies, and birds. There are a number of outdoors plants and tropicals that call this space home and provide some added colour and more direct interaction.

The Robertson green roof was designed using a blend of existing green roof technology and plant design techniques. The planting media is BioMix from Landsource Organix and is comprised of composted organic substrates. The selection of plants and plating were done by a green roof and perennial expert in Toronto. To date, no green roof in Toronto has been designed with biodiversity as its principal planning priority and as a result the Robertson roof has become a poster green roof for the City of Toronto and their on-going commitment to a greener city. The Robertson green roof was awarded a Green Toronto Award in 2008 by the City of Toronto.

The extensive green roof provides other important environmental benefits to the Robertson Building including: a micro-climate to assist in lowering urban heat island effect (higher temperatures in urban areas that are the result of high levels of hard, black surfaces); the retention of storm water during rain events reducing peak flow runoff volumes from the building and combined sewer overflows into Lake Ontario; a reduction of air pollutants; protecting the roof from harsh temperature changes providing longevity; a reduction in energy demand for cooling of the building; noise reduction for the tenants below the green roof; foodstuffs for birds, insects, and other species; and, increased property value and tenure of tenants in the building.

The roof garden is a private space that can only be accessed by tenants using a security fob.

 


 

Photos from the Robertson community