At North Bethesda’s Pike & Rose, the Farm Is on Top of the Building

The Farm at Pike & Rose covers 17,000 square feet of rooftop space in North Bethesda, Maryland. Photos: Federal Realty Investment Trust

If today’s locavores are enthusiastic about locally grown food because it’s fresher than typical supermarket food and doesn’t need to be preserved and brought in by truck, they’ll be thrilled with the Farm at Pike & Rose. Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRIT) has taken local farming to a new level — to the rooftop access from thesixth floor of one of Pike & Rose’s buildings in North Bethesda, Maryland. Instead of seeing concrete and HVAC equipment on the nearby roof, you see row after row of carefully cultivated crops between furrows of rich soil. Here, on 17,000 square feet of sunny roof, lies the largest rooftop farm in the Mid-Atlantic region.

With its flexible, waterproof membrane, the roof was originally conceived as a green roof to be covered with seeded mats. It was designed to withstand and perform in submersed water conditions like no-slope decks, water features, pools, and vegetated roofs. In 2018, the original plantings were converted to an active urban farm, producing greens and vegetables that are served at restaurant tables 40 feet below and through Community Support Agriculture (CSA) boxes to some residents in the adjacent residences. FRIT brought in an outside expert to manage the new venture, Up Top Acres. The local farming company is committed to converting underutilized spaces into productive farmland and had already been operating farms on a number of DC area rooftops since 2014.

Up Top Acres, a local farming company, manages the rooftop farm. The company is committed to converting underutilized spaces into productive farmland.

Since the building’s roof was already engineered to support the weight of eight inches of soil and any precipitation that might fall on it as a green roof, it was not too difficult to replace the existing ground cover with productive crops. Experience taught Up Top Acres that access and storage were key concerns. Working with FRIT they identified an unused portion of the adjacent parking garage — accessible both by truck from the outside and by elevator from the farm — which was fenced off to house farm supplies and a refrigeration unit. On the roof, a secondary storage area holds tools for the day-to-day management of the farm. The original roof access hatch located within the projection room of the iPic movie theater was not a realistic pathway for daily garden visits, so a ladder from the adjacent sixth-floor landing of the Pallas apartment building and a hoist for heavy lifting were constructed to facilitate transporting supplies and the ongoing harvest.

This summer, farmers harvested a rainbow of goodness from the rooftop: lettuce, cucumbers, watermelons, berries, swiss chard, okra, peppers (Shishito, Lunchbox and Carmen varieties), microgreens, herbs (basil, parsley, thyme, rosemary, sage, mint), lavender blossoms and edible flowers. All of the produce goes to customers within a few blocks of where it is grown. Remaining food and any farm shares that are not picked up are donated to the Manna Food Bank which serves the surrounding community.

Numerous Benefits

Operating a farm on the roof has distinct advantages from a wildlife perspective—it eliminates much of the danger from rodents as well as digging and foraging animals that are the bane of many ground-level farms — and it increases biodiversity within the city. The exposed area does attract birds, so fabric row covers are used to protect the most vulnerable and attractive crops. To ensure effective pollination, the farm features two beehives on site.

This summer, farmers harvested a wide variety of crops. All of the produce goes to local customers or is donated to the Manna Food Bank which serves the surrounding community.

An unexpected benefit has been the positive response from tenants in adjacent buildings who enjoy watching the steady growth of the crops and the deliberate care of the farmers at work. Operation disruptions have been prevented by the careful design for getting farmers and equipment up and harvested produce down to the garage staging area. Other positives include the reduced cost of not having to maintain the section of the roof being farmed, and a mutually beneficial arrangement for enlisting the farmers for maintenance on the rest of the building’s green roof — providing some side income for the farmers and reducing the hassle and traffic of working with another contractor.

To minimize risks, the developer checked with the roof manufacturer to make sure the new usage would not void any product warranties and included liability protection in its agreement with Up Top Acres. Since weather is unpredictable, a smart sprinkler system was installed to monitor rainfall and adjust irrigation in response to need. A separate meter was installed for the sprinklers to ensure that the building’s water costs are equitably divided. With input and support from the University of Maryland Extension service, the Pike & Rose rooftop garden has become a pilot program for sustainable urban agriculture and the lessons and best practices discovered by the farmers are being collected and transmitted to other groups who are interested in similar projects.

For the farmers who started Up Top Acres — three of whom are Washington, D.C. natives — the Pike & Rose rooftop garden is the crowning jewel in the network of farms they’ve established to bring local food and sustainability to the urban landscape where they grew up. For the rest of us, the transformation of this ocean of impermeable concrete into a living, thriving ecosystem in the middle of a bustling mixed-use development is a window into the possibilities for coupling the convenience of city life with the ecological stewardship and wholesome freshness of local, sustainable farming.

About the Author: Mickey Papillon, CRRP, CSM, is Vice President – Regional General Manager, Federal Realty Investment Trust. Federal Realty’s environmental practices are reflected in the way they develop and manage their properties: from their efforts to minimize and reduce environmental impact through energy management, waste reduction and resource-efficient buildings in transit-oriented locations, to investing in renewable energy sources, and creating places that promote health and well-being.

Green Roof Benefits in Rain or Shine

In the open country, large swaths of green — lawn, forests, and farms — convert the sun’s light to energy for plant growth and cool the area around them. In the city, where asphalt, concrete, and rooftops absorb the heat during the day and release it at night, an “urban heat island” effect that raises the temperature of the entire area can be created. These impermeable surfaces send storm water into gutters and streets, carrying pollutants and biological contaminants into waterways.

Cities often focus on the vital work of reforestation and setting aside conservation areas and parks to mitigate some of these problems. But there are many ideas for incorporating permeable surfaces and growing spaces into the built environment that can magnify the benefits of these programs. Research by scientists at the University of Cardiff in the UK found that implementing green roofs and walls can significantly lower temperatures—the hotter the city, the greater the cooling effect. During the hottest months in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, for example, a network of green roofs would shave 9.1 Celsius or about 16 degrees Fahrenheit from the temperature. The US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that a green roof also absorbs between 50-90 percent of the water and contaminants that would otherwise flow into storm drains.

Many states are embracing green construction codes that outline targets for reducing water and energy consumption, diverting debris from landfills, and mitigating heat island effects. For example, in Maryland, any development that affects more than 5,000 square feet of land triggers the state’s storm water performance standards that require developers to retain and treat 90 percent of the average annual rainfall. These policies, coupled with incentive programs that offer substantial rewards and tax credits for approved storm water management systems, have catapulted a number of area cities into the top 10 for number of green roof square feet, with Washington, DC coming in first. Green roofs also contribute to cleaner air quality and provide a building with natural insulation, decreasing heating and cooling costs.

Metal Panels Highlight Rooftop Area of Washington Apartment Building

Reed Row apartments in Washington features a rooftop common area that provides residents with social space and great views of the city. Photos: Rheinzink

The brand-new Reed Row apartments in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, D.C., offers an eclectic, urban sophistication that is reflective of the area. Adams Morgan is well known for its broad mix of cultures and activities. The five-story apartment community includes 132 residential units in 100,000 square feet of space.

The site, located about 1.5 miles from the White House, was previously a parking garage. The developer demolished everything above grade but was able to retain portions of the below-grade structure.

The exterior expression of the architectural design, created by R2L:Architects, Washington, D.C., is influenced by the materials and scale of the traditional masonry buildings found in nearby districts. “We wanted to pay homage to the historic neighborhood with a material palette that offered the proper aesthetic fit,” says Donrico Washington, R2L project designer/manager.

Approximately 3,000 square feet of Rheinzink Flat Lock Tilesand 1,000 square feet of Rheinzink Standing Seam Panelswere used to highlight the rooftop amenity. Photos: Rheinzink

Two different Rheinzink profiles were specified for application in an “intimate, exterior amenity space,” Washington notes. The area is an inviting rooftop common area that provides residents with social space and a great view of the city. Approximately 3,000 square feet of Rheinzink prePATINA graphite-greyFlat Lock Tiles and 1,000 square feet of Rheinzink Standing Seam Panels highlight the rooftop amenity. “In the early stages of our design process, we noticed that numerous nearby buildings had mansard roofs with diamond-shaped tiles and shingles. That’s what led to our selection of the Rheinzink Flat Lock Tiles,” Washington says. 

The Rheinzink Standing Seam Panels were used to clad sloped roofs over stairways in the units below the roof deck leading up to outdoor terraces. “The reaction to the Rheinzink from the residents has been outstanding,” says Washington. “Everyone loves it because it’s a material that’s not typically seen.”

Installation of the panels was done by MSM Roofing, Hampstead, Maryland. David Peterson, owner of MSM, described the installation as “a piece of cake.”

At the Ace Hotel, Versatile Rooftop Terraces Capture the Imagination

Located in Chicago’s Fulton Market Historic District, the Ace Hotel features several vegetative roofs and a rooftop bar. Photos: Scott Shigley for site design group ltd.

The Ace Hotel is located in Chicago’s Fulton Market Historic District. It features 159 guestrooms and amenities including rooftop event spaces with stunning views of the city. The complex features several vegetative roofs, including a large fifth-floor terrace and a seventh-floor rooftop bar. The fifth-floor terrace incorporates a sculpture that visitors can climb on and areas that can easily adapt to host a variety of events, from corporate meetings to yoga classes.

The team at site design group ltd., the Chicago landscape architect on the project, worked closely with the lead architect, GREC Architects, and the Ace Hotel team to determine the key design goals for the rooftop spaces. Hana Ishikawa, design principal at site design group, notes the client was looking for an understated design. “In this project, what they really wanted was a prairie that kind of got left on the roof,” she says “So, that’s where the project got started.”

The fifth-floor terrace incorporates a sculpture created by artist Jonathan Nesci that visitors can climb on. An area topped with pavers is used to host a variety of events. Photos: Scott Shigley for site design group ltd.

On the fifth-floor terrace, the materials and plants chosen are meant to evoke a natural prairie landscape, while a section topped with pavers serves as a versatile event space. “We were really focused on creating a space that was super flexible,” Ishikawa says. “You’ll notice there’s a really large pavement area in the front, and they hold all kinds of interesting events there. That’s used pretty frequently, whether it be yoga or the little markets they hold up there. One of the primary functions we needed was a lot of flexibility, and that area works well for that.”

Other roof sections that were not open to the public had different needs. It took a talented team of design, manufacturing and construction professionals to turn the vision for the hotel’s rooftop spaces into reality — and provide the single-source warranty the architect and owner desired. 

A Versatile Roof System

The roof system specified for every roof level was a variation of Hydrotech’s protected membrane roof (PMR) assembly. According to Dennis Yanez, American Hydrotech’s national marketing manager, the foundation of the PMR assembly consists of Hydrotech’s Monolithic Membrane 6125, a hot fluid-applied rubberized asphalt membrane, which is applied directly to the deck and topped with Dow Styrofoam insulation. The system can then incorporate a variety of options including pavers, ballast, and extensive and intensive roof gardens. “The basics — the roofing/waterproofing membrane and the Dow Styrofoam — don’t change,” Yanez says. “One of the advantages of this system is once you apply the membrane and insulation in the field, you can mix and match all of these options and you aren’t changing the integrity of keeping that structure watertight.” 

Kevin Serena, Hydrotech’s garden roofing technical sales coordinator for the central region, worked with the building owner and design team to select the products and systems for each rooftop section. 

The materials and plants chosen for the roof terrace are meant to evoke a prairie landscape, with a trail leading to seating areas. Photos: Scott Shigley for site design group ltd.

“They have a few different roof levels, and there was a different design intent for each area,” Serena says. “There are a few upper roofs that only the occupants of adjacent buildings will see, so what they wanted there was low-maintenance vegetation with good coverage. They went with a sedum mat material. It’s pre-grown outside for over a year, so it’s a very hardy material, and once it becomes established it needs little to no maintenance. That was a goal of theirs for those upper roofs since not a lot of people would be accessing those areas.”

For the large podium deck that was open to the public, the owners wanted to add more interesting vegetation along with other features. “They integrated stone walkways, and they used a more expansive plant palette,” Serena notes. “They used the same sedum carpet as a base planting, and then added some different perennials and grasses throughout the mat to give it some vertical interest and add some biodiversity to the roof.”

Serena also worked closely with the roof system installer, Bennett & Brosseau Roofing Inc., of Romeoville, Illinois, an authorized Hydrotech applicator. “Bennett and Brosseau is one of the best contractors in the area,” Serena says. “They have taken a real interest in doing not only the membrane but all the way up through the growing media and vegetation. They are really into doing the green roof, so they are exciting to work with. They really like doing this type of work, and they do a great job.”

The Installation

Bennett & Brosseau Roofing installed all of the roof systems on the project, as well as the material for the garden roofs. The company also fabricated and installed four custom colors of sheet metal on the project. 

“We had grade-level to roof-level waterproofing on this project,” notes Jim Brosseau, CEO and owner of Bennett & Brosseau Roofing. “On the grade level, we installed pavers and drainage components. We also planted plants and trees in the planters on the plaza and at the grade level as well.”

Photos: Scott Shigley for site design group ltd.

The hotel was constructed at the site of a former cheese-making factory in the Fulton Market District. A part of the existing building was retained, including a wall with a historic mural, but the majority of the project was new construction with a concrete roof deck. “It was in a tight area where access was very limited at the jobsite,” Brosseau notes. “All of the roofs were new, but the owner wanted to tie into an existing wall for historical value.”

Bennett & Brosseau Roofing worked closely with Hydrotech to coordinate material deliveries, and access to the jobsite was eased by a couple of fortuitous events. “One of our vendors actually had some property behind the jobsite, so we were able to stage some material there,” Brosseau recalls. “They also closed the street for some work at a building across the street, so we took advantage of that and were able to stage some material on the street and lift it up with our hoists.” 

Elevators did not reach every level, complicating the logistics. “Safety was a challenge,” Brosseau says. “They had elevators at certain levels, but the rest we had to stage a second time for a double hoist. We had to have certified riggers and an approved lift plan. Every pallet is marked, and Hydrotech does an excellent job packaging material, so that helps the process.” 

Crews installed fall-protection barriers, which included the company’s own engineered bracket system with two-by-fours, as well as a Garlock safety rail system. Roofing work began on the penthouse roofs and the tops of the elevator shafts. “All of the roofs received Hydrotech’s hot fluid-applied rubber,” says Brosseau. 

Photos: Scott Shigley for site design group ltd.

The membrane is installed in two coats. The first coat is 90 mils with fabric reinforcement on top. The second coat is 125 mils, for a total of 215 mils. The hot rubberized asphalt, which is heated to 350-375 degrees, and cools as a solid, forming a monolithic membrane. “The membrane is adhered directly to the deck, and it forms one contiguous layer from parapet to parapet,” Yanez says. “They basically make a bathtub up on top of that roof, and then with all of the other design elements, you can do structural construction on top of the Styrofoam. It’s a much simpler, easier system, and the reality is there are fewer opportunities for it to fail because it’s a very simplistic approach.”

“Hydrotech’s system is easy to work with,” Brosseau notes. “The liquid is a very good product to work with on tough details. Another big advantage of the Hydrotech system, especially in this case, is that it isn’t temperature sensitive.”

Living Roofs

Sections of the roof with limited access were topped with an extensive vegetative system featuring Hydrotech’s InstaGreen sedum mat. River rock was applied as a perimeter border. “We’d get them watertight, and then we’d come back and install the garden systems after the other trades were done on the roof,” Brosseau explains. 

On the fifth-floor terrace, Bennett & Brosseauinstalled pavers, wood steppers and wood benches made from reclaimed Robinia. “We put down granite for pathways,” Brosseaunotes. “We had ballast, intensive garden, extensive garden, pavers, logs and the granite walkway. On Level 5, we had a lot going on.”

The material changes and the ground changes were designed to represent an actual prairie, according to Ishikawa. “There is a little trail that goes off and creates a little circle of seating,” she notes. 

Native grasses were chosen to provide visual interest and survive Chicago’s tough winters. These plants were plugged into the sedum mat to ensure the living roof would have complete coverage at the outset. “That was important to us so that the area wouldn’t be trampled while the native grasses and flora were emerging,” says Ishikawa.

Brosseau credits the support of the manufacturer before and during the project as the key to navigating all of the many details. “We regularly consult with Hydrotech’s technical department on non-standard details,” he says. “We’ll brainstorm to determine what the best solution is. There is also a value beyond that, and that is it helps the owner and the general contractor to see Hydrotech come out and recommend different ways to attack a problem.”

Bennett & Brosseau also installed edge metal, beam wraps, expansion joints, scuppers and downspouts. “The sheet metal was probably the most difficult part of it,” Brosseau says, “We custom fabricated everything in our shop. No two details were the same. For the bar area on Level 7, we fabricated a stainless-steel bar top for them as well.” 

It’s a Jungle Gym Out There

Crowning the fifth-floor roof area is a Nesci dome, a climbable sculpture created by artist Jonathan Nesci that has been likened to an “adult jungle gym.” According to Ishikawa, the blue metal design was inspired in part by the Louis Comfort Tiffany Dome in Chicago’s Cultural Center. “That one is an absolutely gorgeous Tiffany Dome with mosaic tile and glass,” Ishikawa notes. “This one is about the exact size and shape, so it’s kind of a reference of that cultural institution on top of the Ace Hotel. It’s meant to be a climbable, playful structure.”

“This roof is really exciting to us because it’s a very playful design,” Ishikawa continues. “Our firm in general believes that playful design also makes really loved landscapes. We were very excited to work on that part of it.”

Yanez points to the versatility and durability of the roof system as the key to a successful project that provides a long service life and the peace of mind of a single-source warranty. “We are happy to be able to give the market what it wants, and a lot of that hinges on the design creativity and pushing the envelope that the architects do,” he says, “We are very good at adapting to that and offering them a rock-solid assembly that, if applied correctly, should last the lifetime of that structure.”

TEAM

Lead Architect: GREC Architects, Chicago, Illinois, http://grecstudio.com

Landscape Architect: site design group ltd., Chicago, Illinois, www.site-design.com

General Contractor: Power Construction Company, Chicago, Illinois, www.powerconstruction.net

Roofing and Waterproofing Contractor: Bennett & Brosseau Roofing Inc., Romeoville, Illinois, www.bennettandbrosseau.com

MATERIALS

Roof Membrane: Monolithic Membrane 6125-EV, Hydrotech, www.hydrotechusa.com

Membrane Reinforcement: Hydroflex RB II-Hydrotech

Insulation: 60 PSI Extruded Polystyrene Insulation, Hydrotech/Dow, www.dow.com

Drainage Material: GR30 Water Retention and System Filter, Hydrotech

Flashing: Flex-Flash MB Granulated Flashing, Hydrotech

Growth Media: Litetop Intensive Media, Hydrotech

Vegetation: InstaGreen Sedum Carpet, Hydrotech

Rooftop Decks Add Outdoor Living Space to Sacramento Town Homes

The three-story homes are built on narrow lots without a backyard, so the decision was made to offer a roof deck package to provide an area to enjoy the outdoors. Photo: The Grupe Company

More and more, builders, architects and designers are looking to the rooftop as an area for usable living space — especially in urban areas, where lots are narrow. For a new town home development in Sacramento, the idea to add rooftop decks emerged late in the design process, but it’s proved so popular the builders are not only glad they made the change — they are considering making it a standard feature in future projects.

Designed by Ellis Architects and built by The Grupe Company, the neighborhood is known as 20 PQR. “The project fronts on 20th street in mid-town Sacramento and runs from P Street down to R Street,” notes Ron Rugani, vice president and purchasing manager for Grupe. “Q Street runs down the middle of the project, so that’s how we came up with the name 20 PQR.”

The 32 town homes are arranged in four groups of eight. The three-story residences have two different floor plans, one with 1,750 square feet and the other 1,850 square feet. “It’s an interesting concept,” Rugani says. “They are really considered single-family homes. They have their own lot, and they are detached from the next unit. There is a 6-inch space between the units, and they don’t share a common wall. However, the way we trim out that space, on the top and sides, you would view the eight units as one building, but they are actually eight individual single-family detached town homes.”

The narrow lots left no room for a yard, so that’s what inspired the idea to create usable outdoor space on the roof. “If you can imagine the urban setting — the fronts of these units are right on the city sidewalk. All of the units have two-car garages in the back and are accessible through a common alley. But there is no outdoor living space, and so that’s essentially what’s driving these roof decks,” Rugani says. “The backyard is where people are going to have outdoor living in a typical single-family home, and the rooftop deck is where they are going to have outdoor living in a town-home setting.”

The low-slope roofs were designed with internal drains and parapet walls. A GAF TPO roof system was specified. When the decision was made to add the rooftop living area, Ellis Architects recommended installing rubber roof deck tiles from sofSURFACES on top of the TPO roof. “The architect steered us in this direction because they liked the product,” notes Rugani. “After the roofer installs his regular TPO roof, it gets inspected to make sure there are no leaks before the roof deck tiles are installed. It’s a really unique product. It allows water to go through to the TPO roof for drainage. It has an excellent warranty, and so we have a long-term warranty for the entire roof system.”

Applying the Roof System

The TPO roof system was installed by PetersenDean Roofing and Solar, Fremont, California. “We are a roofing subcontractor for Grupe on several projects in the Northern California area,” says Mark Vogel, president of PetersenDean’s Builder Division. “We have built a great relationship with them over the years.”

Photo: sofSURFACES

There was approximately 900 square feet of roof area on each structure. PetersenDean crews mechanically attached the 60-mil GAF EverGuard TPO membrane over quarter-inch Georgia-Pacific DensDeck roof board and rigid insulation. “It is a flat roof with low slope conditions,” Vogel says. “This is absolutely a great system for this type of work.”

The parapet walls greatly simplified the safety plan, but safety is never taken for granted, according to Vogel. “We have 22 safety engineers nationwide, with 14 in California,” he says. “Safety is our biggest concern, and we invest to ensure we send everyone home at night. Our workers are considered our most valuable asset and we strive to maintain a world-class safety culture. Having a skilled and talented workforce that truly cares about safety drives everything that we do.”

Everything on the project went smoothly, notes Vogel. “It was not tough to coordinate the work with the other trades,” he says “It is what we do, and there is no one better. We are a full-service roofing contractor and solar power installer. We handle estimating, design, permitting, and installation for roofing and solar roofing systems for all our clients and this project is a great example of this.”

Installing the Roof Tiles

The deck area on each roof encompassed approximately 700 square feet. The interlocking duraSTRONG tiles are made from recycled rubber and are ideal for outdoor rooftops, walkways and patio projects, notes Chris Chartrand, director of marketing for sofSURFACES. “This space was ideal for our product as the rooftops are flat and have proper slope with a contained edge,” Chartrand says. “The design allows for efficient drainage of surface water.”

The low-slope roofs were covered with a TPO roof system manufactured by GAF, and the deck areas were topped with interlocking rubber paving tiles from sofSURFACES. Photo: sofSURFACES

The tiles were applied by a manufacturer-certified installer, Leonard’s Construction of Fontana, California. “Coordinating delivery and installation of our product within Grupe’s required timelines was a fairly easy task, as we were the last phase of the project,” notes Chartrand.

Paulo Carrillo, installation supervisor, typically installs the product in gyms and playground areas, but recently he’s found himself doing a lot of work on terraces and rooftops. After the roof system was completed on the homes at 20 PQR, a second sheet of TPO membrane was installed as a protective barrier. “We chalked our lines on that,” Carrillo notes. “We measure out the whole rooftop and chalk it off into a 2-foot-by-2-foot grid. Every other square is a keystone — those are the tiles that we put in first that hold everything in line.”

After the keystones are glued in place, the crews cut pieces to fit along the perimeter and then begin to add tiles in strategic lines. After those tiles cure, tiles are laid in opposite directions, both horizontally and diagonally. “We do it step by step,” Carrillo notes. “When we put the final squares in at the end, they are all interlocked together. After we do the final step, we glue each seam, so everything is 100 percent glued.”

The tiles all interlock, and compression allows for expansion and contraction. “Every tile is 24-1/8 inches, but they go into a 24-inch space,” Carrillo explains. “They are all compressed. With any perimeter cuts, we add another 1/8 of an inch to get our compression.”

Stacking the Deck

According to Rugani, Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the 20 PQR have been completed and are sold out, while Phase 3 and Phase 4 are currently under construction.

The interlocking duraSTRONG tiles are made from recycled rubber. They are designed for use on rooftops, walkways and patio projects, as well as gyms and playground areas. Photo: sofSURFACES

Originally the roof deck area was offered as an option, but it’s proved so desirable all of the units in the last phase are being built with decks. “It’s been an interesting dynamic,” says Rugani. “When we started, we weren’t sure how many people would want this option. For the first phase, we had to spec those, so, we said, let’s build six of the eight with the roof deck. It started to gain in popularity, and the price didn’t seem to be an issue, so in the last phase, we said, let’s build them all. It’s become very popular.”

Based on the success of the roof decks at 20 PQR, Grupe is exploring roof deck options for other projects in development. “We are building a mid-rise apartment complex just a few blocks away, and we said from the get-go in that project that we are going to have some type of roof deck for outdoor living space for the tenants,” Rugani says. “For that project we did develop a rooftop deck, and I believe that is going to be the M.O. moving forward in any project we do. Otherwise there might be no place for tenants to gather on site and have some outdoor living space. It makes perfect sense to go to the roof. So, yes, I see this as a trend, especially in urban settings.”

In the 20 PQR project, the homes were not originally designed with roof decks, and the decision made to add them later meant a lot of extra time and work for engineers and architects. “A lot of people might walk away from that and say it is too much work,” Rugani says. “We said, this is something we need to do, and it’s going to benefit the people who buy it. We were happy in the end that we spent the time and effort to do it.”

TEAM

Architect: Ellis Architects, Sacramento, California, www.ellis-architects.com
General Contractor: The Grupe Company, Stockton, California, www.grupe.com
Roof System Installer: PetersenDean Inc., Fremont, California, www.petersendean.com
Rubber Paving Tile Installer: Leonard’s Construction, Fontana, California

MATERIALS

Rubber Paving Tiles: duraSTRONG, sofSURFACES, Petrolia, Ontario, Canada, www.sofsurfaces.com
Roof Membrane: 60-mil TPO, GAF, www.GAF.com
Cover Board: DensDeck, Georgia-Pacific, www.densdeck.com