Narrating History with Natives
How a green roof made a rehabilitated building more sustainable.
Photo by Kai-Henrik Barth
By Theodore Eisenman
Constructed in 1925 to receive and dispatch trainloads of merchandise up and down the East Coast, the 1.3-million-square-foot Montgomery
Ward Catalog Building in Baltimore thrived for decades as a regional distribution center. Like many of its industrial counterparts, however,
the building fell into disuse, and it stood abandoned for 25 years.
Now, this massive structure and 28-acre site have undergone adaptive reuse as part of the new Montgomery Park Business Center. A central
design feature: its 30,000-square-foot green roof. Installed in August 2002, a 3-inch-thick extensive green roof encompasses 20,000
square feet on the main building and another 10,000 square feet on an adjacent warehouse. Designed and installed under the supervision
of Katrin Scholz-Barth, a Washington, D.C.-based civil engineer and expert on green roof technology, Montgomery Park won a 2003
Award of Excellence in the “extensive retrofit” category from Toronto-based Greening Rooftops for Sustainable Communities.
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