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American Society of Landscape Architects


August 2004 Issue

Narrating History with Natives
How a green roof made a rehabilitated building more sustainable.

Narrating History with Natives
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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