About Christina A. Koch

Christina A. Koch is editor in chief of Roofing.

Dallas Roofing Contractor Partners with Habitat for Humanity to Repair and Replace Roofs for Deserving Homeowners

Chris Zazo, CEO of Aspenmark Roofing & Solar, Dallas, established the non-profit Roof Angels, which repairs and/or replaces up to 30 roofs per year through Habitat for Humanity’s A Brush with Kindness program.

Chris Zazo, CEO of Aspenmark Roofing & Solar, Dallas, established the non-profit Roof Angels, which repairs and/or replaces up to 30 roofs per year through Habitat for Humanity’s A Brush with Kindness program.

Chris Zazo is a CEO who sees opportunity everywhere. When he needed a corporate gift idea to give to hail-restoration customers of his commercial roofing business, Dallas-based Aspenmark Roofing & Solar, he established Hailstone Vineyards in Napa Valley, Calif., and now makes his own cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay.

While considering how to differentiate Aspenmark Roofing & Solar from its competitors in a market that has no licensing, Zazo embraced community service. “I wanted to find a way to better our industry and really take the sting off the title of ‘roofing contractor,’” he says. “We were getting asked every year by this charity and that organization to support their causes‚ which we were happy to do. Then we got involved doing the new-build roofs for Dallas Habitat for Humanity and really rallied around that organization.”

To differentiate his firm’s charitable work from its for-profit work, Zazo officially established the non-profit Roof Angels in 2013, but he couldn’t quiet his entrepreneurial spirit. He wondered how he could involve the entire roofing industry in community service. “I really wanted to put together a program for the industry,” he explains. “I wanted to get the manufacturers and distributors involved, get our employees involved and create a model in which if we took it to a national organization it could be replicated anywhere in the United States. I dug a little further and found out Habitat has a program called A Brush with Kindness, which is perfect for this idea.”

Although the homes chosen for restoration are usually small, Zazo says they often have extensive damage and four or five layers of shingles.

Although the homes chosen for restoration are usually small, Zazo says they often have extensive damage and four or five layers of shingles.

A Brush with Kindness is Habitat for Humanity’s home-repair program for owners who are struggling to maintain their homes. The program seeks $10,000 donations to support one family’s home repairs. “When we found out about this program, we jumped in and asked, ‘What if we [Aspenmark Roofing & Solar] took the roof off of your hands?’” Zazo recalls. “The roof is usually about 50 to 70 percent of the budget for the home repairs, so, without it in the budget, A Brush with Kindness could do much more to a deserving family’s home. I reached out to GAF to see if they’d donate the shingles. I called SRS Distribution to see if they’d donate the accessory items and delivery. Then all we had to do was raise money for the labor. We proposed this model to Habitat and they said, ‘We love it. When can you start?’”

FUNDRAISING

A Brush with Kindness’ representatives asked Roof Angels and its partners, Parsippany, N.J.-based GAF and McKinney, Texas-based SRS Distribution, to repair and/or replace up to 30 roofs per year. In the beginning, Zazo hadn’t thought through the fundraising part of Roof Angels, so he was often paying his crews for these roof installations out of his own pocket. He started holding Happy Hours and other small events in which he could quickly raise a few thousand dollars.

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Life Choices

I have a younger brother who makes choices I don’t always understand. I’m quite a bit older than he is, so I like to share my experiences in the hopes of guiding him toward more productive options. Meanwhile, I wondered why my parents weren’t doing more to steer their youngest child and, in a moment of exasperation, I asked them. My mom responded that she and my dad believe we need to figure our lives out on our own. If we ask for help, they are willing to give it but they don’t want to micromanage our lives and decisions.

I started thinking about what she said in relation to my own life choices. I remember when I decided to double major in English and history in college, my dad asked: “What are you going to do with that? Teach?” I said: “No. I’m going to write.” I knew, based on the look on his face, he was certain I’d never find gainful employment but he never said another word about it—not even on graduation day when I didn’t have a job or a place to live.

It was the roofing industry that gave me my first opportunity. After applying for a job I found online, I moved from my home state of Iowa to the Chicago suburbs to begin writing for Professional Roofing magazine in late 2000. Writing about roofing wasn’t exactly what I had in mind when I dreamt of my career but, here I am, almost 17 years later and couldn’t be more grateful to this industry for all it has given me.

Unfortunately, at this point in my career, I’m faced with another life choice. Those of you who have worked directly with me probably have noticed I rarely return phone calls or emails the same week, much less the same day! During the past five years, I’ve not only edited Roofing but also have been editing retrofit, a nationally circulated trade publication that focuses on the renovation of existing commercial, industrial and institutional buildings. Within the past year, both magazines have grown so much (a fantastic problem) that I’ve been having trouble keeping up.

To make matters worse, I never have time to think through new ideas or accomplish the aspirations on my list that I know would make the magazines better. I suddenly realized I was doing a disservice to these magazines and to you, the readers. (Not to mention, having recently gotten married, I’m trying to establish a better work-life balance than I had while I was building my career.)

Therefore, this is my last issue as editor in chief of Roofing. I’m thrilled my successor is Christopher K. King, a well-known writer in this industry who previously served as editor of Roofing Contractor magazine and has been writing articles for Roofing since 2015. (Read his “Special Report”, page 58, about how a community came together at the prompting of a roofing contractor to help a deserving couple restore their home.) I know Chris will do an excellent job taking Roofing to the next level and giving it the undivided attention it deserves.

Again, I’m so thankful for the opportunities the roofing industry has given me. Consequently, I’ve decided to dedicate my final issue to the wonderful people and initiatives that make this industry so special. Enjoy!

Concrete Tile Roofing Protects Canadian Hotel from the Elements

The Moose Hotel & Suites is located in Banff, Alberta, Canada. The resort sits at an elevation of 4,600 to 5,300 feet in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, about 80 miles west of Calgary.

The Moose Hotel & Suites is located in Banff, Alberta, Canada. The resort sits at an elevation of 4,600 to 5,300 feet in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, about 80 miles west of Calgary.

Banff, Alberta, Canada, sits at an elevation of 4,600 to 5,300 feet in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, about 80 miles west of Calgary. The small community (around 8,000 permanent residents) was established as a resort town almost immediately after its hot springs were discovered by Canadian Pacific Railway workers in 1883. The town, which is built in a valley surrounded by mountains, has been a popular tourist destination for more than a century and is known for skiing and, of course, the Banff Upper Hot Springs.

Because of its history of tourism, Banff offers comfortable lodging at every price point. Among the town’s options for accommodations are nine hotels owned and operated by Banff Lodging Co.; the company also has seven restaurants, two spas, and a ski school and rental shop. The Moose Hotel & Suites is the lodging company’s newest four-star property, having opened in July 2016.

Because Banff is a national park, the Moose Hotel & Suites project is significant because it is one of the largest hotel developments (174 rooms) since the Canadian federal government’s 1998 commercial growth cap, which has prevented many hospitality developments from being built. Despite being approved, the Moose Hotel & Suites still was required to adhere to Banff’s design guidelines. The guidelines state they were enacted “to prevent any monstrosities being put there to destroy the general beauty of the park.”

In fact, the guidelines require that all developments, particularly hotels, enhance views to the mountains surrounding Banff. “They want visitors to realize they’re really in the mountains and not just anywhere in a hotel room,” explains Ted Darch, owner of Calgary-based E.J. Darch Architect Ltd., the architect on the Moose Hotel & Suites project. “We wanted to take advantage of the views, so designing the hotel to resemble a village with a courtyard in the middle allowed us to capture the drama of the mountains. You’ll see the reviews on TripAdvisor mention this.”

Darch has been working on Banff Lodging’s projects since the mid-1980s. The concept for the Moose Hotel & Suites evolved over a number of years as Banff Lodging acquired the property for the hotel and Darch worked on other projects for the company. Similarly, Banff Lodging chose the Moose Hotel & Suites’ roofing contractor because of a long-standing relationship.

“We’ve done work with Banff Lodging for about 10 years on most all its other facilities,” explains Brock Hanson, president and CEO of Banff-based Rocky Mountain Sundeck & Roof. “This was a pinnacle Banff job that doesn’t occur often due to the building guidelines. Having this project in our backyard was just fantastic to be a part of.”

Constructed to Withstand the Elements

The new hotel had to meet Banff’s strict design guidelines. It also had to withstand the subarctic climate (winters as cold as -40 F and short and cool summers, as well as 15 to 40 inches of precipitation, typically snow, per year). The Moose Hotel & Suites features spray foam at R-20 in the walls and R-40 in the roof. The spray-foam insulation not only keeps guests and staff warm during Banff ’s long winters, but also protects the building against air and moisture infiltration.

The Moose Hotel & Suites was required to adhere to Banff’s design guidelines, which were developed “to prevent any monstrosities being put there to destroy the general beauty of the park.”

The Moose Hotel & Suites was required to adhere to Banff’s design guidelines, which were developed “to prevent any monstrosities being put there to destroy the general beauty of the park.”


Darch had specified concrete tile roofing on a Banff Lodging hotel previously, but Hanson recommended a new supplier with whom he had previously worked. Darch met with a salesperson from the roofing manufacturer to discuss its concrete tile product. After he checked some samples, Darch was convinced this was the right product for the project.

The distinctive concrete tile was chosen for its energy efficiency and durability. It resembles natural slate to complement the design of the rustic mountain lodge. Because it is concrete, the tile is able to withstand the subarctic region’s extreme weather and withstands flying embers in case of forest fires. “We learned a big lesson about fire recently in Fort McMurray, north of Edmonton, Alberta,” Darch notes. “They had a terrible fire last summer that destroyed something like 2,000 houses. They’re in the forest and Banff is in the forest, so fire resistance was important.”

Concrete Tile Roofing

The tiles’ aesthetic also appealed to Darch; he especially liked that he was able to choose a bright red (Mission Red) for the roof. “From the architectural perspective, what is really nice is the color possibilities and to make the roof color part of the overall scheme of things is great,” he says. “Other roofing options were nice but they didn’t have the snap that the red tile does.”

Photos courtesy of Boral Roofing.

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Technology Love-Hate

My husband is addicted to social media. Bart’s not posting; he’s just a voyeur, constantly ob- serving what others are doing and talking about. I don’t think he feels like he’s missing out on
anything. Instead, I think during quiet moments, Facebook and Snapchat help him fill the silence. Apparently, Bart is not the only one. We just celebrated the holidays with our families and, at one point on Christmas, I looked up and saw my father, my two brothers and my husband with their noses buried in their phones. Meanwhile, my two- and six-year-old nieces were squealing with glee over gifts they had opened. I couldn’t help but wonder whether the men in my family were enjoying their moment or someone else’s.

I know my family isn’t the only group of individuals addicted to social media, so this issue is packed full of selfie-worthy venues. If you’ve ever wanted to visit Banff, Alberta, Canada, the Moose Hotel & Suites, our “Cover Story” is Banff’s latest destination hotel. It was designed so visitors wouldn’t feel like they’re in any hotel room anywhere. Ted Darch, owner of Calgary, Alberta-based E.J. Darch Architect Ltd., designed the hotel to resemble a village with a courtyard in the middle. Visitors can experience the drama of the mountains surrounding Banff from nearly any vantage point within the hotel. (They’re already posting about it on TripAdvisor!) And when guests are outside, the hotel itself is photo-worthy with its bright red concrete tile roof. “Other roofing options were nice but they didn’t have the snap that the red tile does,” Darch said when he explained his choice to me. There are many more captivating hospitality and entertainment projects with beautiful, innovative roofs throughout the issue.

A colleague once told me he thought I was afraid of technology. Maybe that’s true when it comes to social media (I rarely personally Facebook or Tweet and all my Pinterest boards are “secret”), but I definitely embrace technology that makes life and work easier. In “On My Mind”, Brian Schaible, operations general manager at Indianapolis-based Hoosier Contractors LLC, explains new technology that provided a more efficient way for him to order materials for different jobs. His building materials supplier offered Schaible an online program that connects with the software he already was using. Learn about Schaible’s experience and then read our “Online Exclusive” that explains more about the program.

In every issue of Roofing, we provide interactive content. On page 8, we show you how to download a free app that will bring our magazine to life. In this issue, open the app with your smartphone or tablet over page 16 and watch the Washington, D.C.- based Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association’s short video about roof algae. In our digital edition, the video will automatically play when you land on page 16. Our Roofing team is pretty proud of this capability. We’d love to hear what you think!

Pride in Heritage

My American-born father met my German-born mother while he was in the U.S. Army, stationed in Germany. My parents married, had me and moved to the U.S. to build their family. My dad worked a lot when I was young, so being the firstborn child of an immigrant mother in small-town Iowa often was—for lack of a better term—exhausting. I had to introduce her to everything American, when I was learning myself!

For example, I had to explain extracurricular activities (there isn’t volleyball in Germany) and social events (prom was a doozy). I also learned quickly—thanks to endless teasing—to keep what made me “different” as much of a secret as possible from my friends. I hid the clothes my European grandparents sent because my classmates just weren’t wearing the same styles. I begged my mother to cook “American” foods—burgers and pizza only—when friends came for sleepovers. I never spoke about traditions my mother carried on in our household. Meanwhile, I always wondered why my peers—many of whom were of German descent themselves—didn’t have a clue about any of the customs my family practiced.

Americans aren’t always good at appreciating and preserving their heritage, even when it comes to buildings. Building the most innovative, technologically modern structure almost always took precedence over preservation. The Great Recession seems to have changed that mindset by forcing building owners/facility managers to upgrade existing buildings rather than build new. In this issue of Roofing, we celebrate the historic buildings that tell the story of bygone eras and the existing buildings that have shaped our nation into what it is today. The issue’s articles underscore how contemporary roofing materials can help preserve these structures’ roofs (see “Tech Point”, for example) and artistry that made a particular roof the focal point of its community (see the other “Tech Point”).

I’m happy to say as an adult I embrace my heritage and all the things my mother taught me. In fact, I’m bringing German influences into my own home. My husband Bart is half German, but, before he met me, he knew nothing about Germany. During our honeymoon, we spent some time in Germany, and, today, you can often find Bart using the few German words I’ve taught him in normal conversation (especially with my mother). In fact, he has embraced the culture so much that when he and his business partner discussed how to celebrate Oktoberfest at the bar they own, Bart suggested my mom prepare an authentic German meal for the bar’s patrons. The young me would’ve been mortified by this idea, but these days I’m proud to share a bit of Germany with my friends and neighbors (who predominately are of German heritage themselves). And I’m grateful my husband feels the same.

Never Stop Learning

This year as I watch my friends and family send their little ones off to school, I, too, am starting a new educational journey. I’m taking piano lessons. I’ve wanted to play since I was a child but never had the opportunity. My husband heard me talk about wanting to play a few times, so he suggested giving me lessons and a piano as a gift for our first wedding anniversary.

I literally thought about it for a full day. I was completely touched that my husband wanted to help me accomplish a lifelong dream. However, did I really want to commit myself to something completely out of the ordinary? I learned to play the trumpet in middle school and played through high school, so I can read music—treble clef. I’ve never had to learn bass clef or how to make my left hand and right hand play different music at the same time. Could I do it? What if I’m the worst adult student my teacher has ever had?

I came to the realization that the accomplishments of which I’m most proud pushed me out of my comfort zone. Plus, how could I possibly say no to my husband when his gesture was so sweet? I’ve had one lesson so far and the idea of being able to coordinate my hands still seems a little like being able to rub my stomach while patting my head. However, I’m excited about the future and am hoping I’ll be playing well by the holidays!

Every issue of Roofing has an educational bent, but this issue may push you out of your comfort zone. For example, cool roofs have been a hot topic for many years. Conventional wisdom states cool roofs are not appropriate for northern climates. Kurt Shickman, executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based Global Cool Cities Alliance, will challenge that notion in “Cool Roofing”. He presents new evidence from several scientific studies that demonstrate cool roofs provide benefits to buildings in Climate Zones 4 through 8.

Meanwhile, Thomas W. Hutchinson, AIA, FRCI, RRC, CSI, RRP, principal of Hutchinson Design Group Ltd., Barrington, Ill., and a member of Roofing’s editorial advisory board, shares his in-the-field experiences regularly. He notes in “From the Hutchinson Files” that code-mandated insulation thicknesses are forcing designers to take roof access door and clerestory sill details seriously. Hutch’s goal with his article is to give designers some confidence to create appropriate design and detailing solutions.

These articles may challenge what you’ve always done but they’re worth considering and discussing. In fact, I’d really like to hear what you think about them. In return, I’ll keep you updated on whether I’m becoming the next Chopin!

The Roofing Industry Seeks to Protect Buildings from Storms

I used to love storms. I was never one to cower at the sound of thunder. I often found storms a good excuse to turn off the TV and lights, open the blinds and marvel at the sheer power of nature. If you read my January/February “Raise the Roof”, however, you know I have had a love-hate relationship with rain since moving in with my husband (we married in August 2015). I found myself awake on rainy nights, counting the seconds between pumps of our sump
pump. If less than 20 seconds passed, I knew the basement was flooding and dreaded the morning’s cleanup. (I work from home and my office is in the basement.)

In March, a waterproofing company spent two days installing its patented drain- age system and a new sump pump inside our basement. We monitored the system throughout the month of April, which was rainy, to ensure there were no leaks in the system. It worked like a charm! During April, we also hired contractors to create my new home office, a guestroom and walk-in closet within the basement. So far, we have new windows, lighting and insulation; the contractors are finishing up drywall and ceiling installation as I type.

I know what it’s like when you can’t trust your house to weather a storm. There’s nothing worse than feeling powerless, and seeing your belongings destroyed is gut-wrenching. As the nation braces against another summer of intense weather, it’s comforting to know the construction industry—specifically roofing—is researching and innovating to protect people’s homes and businesses from Mother Nature’s wrath.

For example, in “Business Sense”, Jared O. Blum, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association, writes about initiatives to improve the resiliency of our building stock and infrastructure through codes, standards and proactive design.

The Clinton, Ohio-based Roofing Industry Committee on Weather Issues Inc., better known as RICOWI, recently sent 30 researchers to the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex after an April hailstorm. According to Joan Cook, RICOWI’s executive director, the 10 teams of three inspected 3 million square feet of low and steep-slope roofing during the investigation. The teams’ findings will result in a report to help the industry better understand what causes roofs to perform or fail in severe hail events, leading to overall improvements in roof system durability. Learn how RICOWI mobilizes and studies roofs in “Special Report”.

There are many other stories within this issue about roof systems working along- side other building components to create durable, sustainable and energy-efficient buildings. Humans have a long history of innovating and evolving to meet the needs of their current situation. I have no doubt that in my lifetime our buildings will be built to withstand nearly any catastrophic event. Meanwhile, I’m happy to report we received 4 1/2 inches of rain in three hours last week and our basement remained bone dry. Thanks to innovations in basement waterproofing, I may start to enjoy storms just a bit again!

Trust in a Partner

By day, my husband Bart is an ag lender, loaning money to farmers for land, equipment and livestock. By night, he co-owns a sports bar in the lake town in which we live. When we got engaged, he joked about the roles I would soon be playing in his business. I laughed then, but once we moved in together and were married, I more consistently heard about the stressors he was experiencing in the bar business. Obviously, I wanted to take some of this stress off of him and, consequently, have been helping publicize the bar’s events for the past 10 weeks.

I’m no marketer, but I’ve been sharing knowledge from my career in magazines. I’ve started weekly meetings with the owners and managers, which has helped everyone’s communication. I’ve expanded the bar’s social media presence. And I’ve brought in one of my own trusted partners, a graphic designer who now is creating fliers, promos and coupons for the bar. At this point, I’m not sure whether my efforts truly are making a difference—though the bar has been packed the past few weekends—but I do know my husband is grateful to have me more involved.

Relying on trusted partners also can have a positive effect on your roofing business. For example, Pete Mazzuca III, co-founder, executive vice president and sales manager for Cal-Vintage Roofing of Northern California, Sacramento, explains his partnership with Santa Rosa, Calif.-based Ygrene Energy Fund in “Business Sense”. Through the partnership, Mazzuca’s roofing company now can offer customers YgreneWorks PACE financing for energy-efficiency and resiliency upgrades, including roofing, on their homes or businesses. Ygrene considers the equity in the property, not the personal credit of the owner, unlocking finance doors for entire groups of customers. Consequently, the partnership with Ygrene Energy Fund has increased Mazzuca’s business by 20 percent.

Trusting a partner’s expertise can ensure roofing projects meet a building owner’s needs while being cost-effective. In our “Cover Story”, Atlanta-based Diamond Roofing Co., which has its own sheet-metal shop, opted to partner with a supplier to source prefabricated edge metal for the roofing project at Gordon Hospital, Calhoun, Ga. The prefabricated edge metal had been formally tested to meet or exceed the FM 1-105 criterion required by hospital officials. In addition, by ordering the large volume of edge metal the hospital project needed, Diamond Roofing saved time and labor costs.

Last but not least, Thomas W. Hutchinson, AIA, FRCI, RRC, CSI, RRP, principal of Hutchinson Design Group Ltd., Barrington, Ill., and a member of Roofing’s editorial advisory board, often regales us with stories from his in-the-field experiences. In “From the Hutchinson Files”, Hutch explains how to be a better partner when communicating and coordinating between trades—in this case, plumbing, steel and roof design during implementation of roof drains according to new energy code requirements. Because—as Hutch will tell you—it’s not enough to just be a partner and provide generic details; you should be the best partner you can be and really think through roof system design.

Reid Ribble in Talks to Become New NRCA CEO

I just returned from what easily could be described as the best International Roofing Expo in recent memory. Attendance at the 2016 IRE, held Feb. 17-19 in Orlando, Fla., was up, exhibitors were happy and conversations centered around very positive business conditions.

The show’s energy was not lost on me, especially because I’ve written many editor’s columns since 2010 wondering whether it’s yet the year the construction industry returns to positivity after the housing crisis. Instead of searching for economists to support a rebound this year, every meeting I had at IRE assured me roofing—and construction in general—is on an upswing.

This momentum was further underscored by an announcement made during the show by the Rosemont, Ill.-based National Roofing Contractors Association: Reid Ribble, a U.S. Congressman for Wisconsin’s 8th District, currently is in negotiations to take over for William A. Good, CAE, NRCA’s CEO, who will retire Dec. 31, 2016. Good has faithfully served NRCA and the industry, and he has a very loyal following. I personally am grateful to Good and members of his staff—Ambika Puniani Bailey and Carl Good. They gave me my first job in publishing back in 2000 and were integral in making me the editor I am today. Therefore, I certainly don’t want to take away from what Good has done for roofing, but I can’t help but be excited about the possibilities his successor could bring.

Ribble is a roofing contractor by trade. He joined his family’s business—Kaukauna, Wis.-based The Ribble Group—in 1975 and became its president in 1980. Ribble served as NRCA president in 2005-06 and NRCA senior vice president from 2004-05, as well as held a number of other leadership roles within the organization. He also was president of the Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress’ Board of Trustees from 2008-10.

Ribble was elected to Congress in 2010 and has been re-elected twice. It may be a bit difficult to see why I’m excited about a politician taking NRCA’s helm—especially when I would describe our country’s current presidential race as wackadoo. However, I can’t help but focus on the positive traits of (some) politicians and Ribble’s in particular: He obviously is a leader. He is dedicated to public service. He knows how to build a constituency. And, in January, when he announced he would resign from Congress, Ribble noted his commitment to his family. In addition, according to NRCA’s “RoofScoop” blog post, “In Congress, Ribble has earned the reputation of being honest and able to work with representatives from both sides of the aisle.”

I hope he brings these traits to his new role with NRCA. I hope he surrounds himself with construction experts—even those he disagrees with—who will provide new levels of insight about the issues facing the construction industry as a whole: durability, energy efficiency, materials transparency, renewable energy, resilience and sustainability. I think Ribble has a wonderful opportunity to make the roofing industry the leading construction voice on these matters. After all, we know a roof is a building’s first line of defense. Shouldn’t roofing be the first industry called upon to assist in meeting the current and future needs of our buildings?

A Permeable Pavement Patio Outside a Performance Space Features a Distinctive Musical Note Pattern

Since performing its first concert in 1939, the West Michigan Symphony, a professional orchestra in Muskegon, Mich., has been a vital part of the region’s cultural landscape. In spring 2013, the symphony decided it was time to expand its administrative and ticketing services. It moved into offices in the newly renovated Russell Block Building. Located in downtown Muskegon, a block away from the Frauenthal Theater where the orchestra performs its concerts, the historic Russell Block Building was constructed in 1890.

The porous-paving material had to express the musical note motif the landscape architect envisioned for the patio. It is the quintessential design element for the entire rooftop project.

The porous-paving material had to express the musical note motif the landscape architect envisioned for the patio. It is the quintessential design element for the entire rooftop project.

“With the move, the symphony also realized a long-held dream: establishing a flexible space where we could expand educational offerings and stage smaller fine-arts performances,” explains Carla Hill, the symphony’s president and CEO.

Named The Block, the 1,800-square-foot space offers seating on two levels for up to 150. In addition to providing an intimate venue for a variety of arts performances, The Block is available for meetings and special events. The west-facing windows of The Block look out toward Muskegon Lake. However, there was a problem: Outside the windows, an unimproved and unappealing tar roof marred the view.

“In conversations with the symphony and Port City Construction & Development Services, which planned and managed the building renovation, we started envisioning the transformation of the unadorned roof into a rooftop patio and garden,” says Harry Wierenga, landscape architect, Fleis & VandenBrink Inc., Grand Rapids, Mich.

Wierenga designed a 900-square-foot green roof (including 380 square feet of vegetation and a 520-square-foot patio area) as an accessible and appealing outdoor space. His design invites patrons of The Block to the outdoors onto a landscaped rooftop patio.

First Things First

“The existing roof was a tar roof over a concrete deck. Some holes had been boarded over and patched with tar,” notes Gary Post, manager, Port City Construction & Development Services LLC, Muskegon. “If the rooftop patio and garden had not been incorporated into the project, we would not have replaced it. We had to reroof to support the new rooftop outdoor space.”

The Port City Construction & Development Services roofing crew removed the existing roof down to the concrete deck, which they repaired. Two new roof drains were added to improve drainage. A single-ply membrane was selected for the new roof. The crew fully adhered the new membrane to the deck. The crewmembers then installed a geotextile fabric to protect the membrane and rolled out a geotextile drain sheet atop the protection fabric. The drain sheet facilitates drainage to the existing and two added roof drains.

A new 40-inch-high wall around the perimeter shelters the space and enhances rooftop safety. The porous paving’s gray and black custom-color mix harmonizes with the color of the wall.

A new 40-inch-high wall around the perimeter shelters the space and enhances rooftop safety. The porous paving’s gray and black custom-color mix harmonizes with the color of the wall.

A new 40-inch-high wall around the perimeter was constructed to shelter the space and enhance rooftop safety. Preparations also included widening the opening out to the rooftop from the interior of The Block. Glass double doors would be installed to establish a generous and transparent transition from indoors to outdoors.

Permeable Pavement

The project team applied a multi-faceted set of factors in evaluating options and selecting a pavement material for the patio:

  • To eliminate standing water and allow excess stormwater to flow to the drains, the paving material had to be permeable.
  • The plan called for installing the patio and green-roof elements on top of the geotextile drain sheet. The paving material would have to work with the modular green roof selected for the project.
  • The paving material had to be lightweight. By regulation, the maximum static plus live load for the roof is 100 pounds per square foot.
  • For easy access and safety, the pavement had to be low profile to minimize the threshold at the entry into The Block.
  • To create visual interest within the rectangular shape of the roof, the design emphasizes irregular shapes with angles to break up the space. The paving material would have to be flexible to adapt to the design.
  • The musical-note motif Wierenga envisioned for the patio is the quintessential design element for the entire rooftop project. The paving material had to offer the versatility to express the design.
  • Finally, a green-building product was preferred.

The project team considered composite decking and pavers. However, these linear materials were not flexible enough to adapt to the shape of the patio or sufficiently versatile to convey the musical note design.

PHOTOS: Porous Pave Inc.

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