Urban Greenspaces - Design Bureau

Steven Tupu & Kurt Martig

Terrain Architecture's Steven Tupu & Kurt Martig

Metroscape

Terrain Architecture

Terrain Architecture

Terrain Architecture

Lucida Landscapes

Terrain Architecture

Terrain Architecture

Frog Design Studio Terrace

Terrain Architecture

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Urban Greenspaces

Friday, April 8th, 2011

Traditionally, landscape architecture is found on stone-scaped terraces in small-scale urban sites. But Terrain Architecture aims to brings floral consideration to the tops of skyscrapers and high-rise rooftops. Principal Steven Tupo shares a few of his firm’s metropolitan projects that put a new spin on green living.

Metroscape

This midtown Manhattan residential site was a rundown relic of the 1980s before Terrain was called in to renovate the space. The site contained both elevated and sunken areas that had become dysfunctional and outdated. To solve this problem, Terrain designed a ramp system that gracefully transitions users through the space. This function addresses both aesthetic and circulation challenges, in addition to balancing the overall feel of the space. Terrain also added bleacher style seating, which acts as a flexible and convenient gathering space, as well as a physical and visual anchor for the environment. Despite tight budget constraints, the team found a way to continue the bleacher style seating to the rooftop, where it also hides the unsightly heating and air conditioning unit. Atop the roof, the seating elevates the residents above the parapet to offer dramatic views of the Hudson River.

Lucida Landscapes

The Lucida project is a great example of contemporary designers pushing the boundaries of traditional landscape architecture. Architects originally planned for the Upper East Side, LEED certified residential building to have a glass curtain wall and a few climbing vines to add a touch of color to the space. Frustrated by the typical building treatment of a few plants and shrubs at the building edge, Tupo thought to himself, “Why not think of the entire façade as a landscape skin?” Terrain envisioned an opportunity for a much larger intervention, one that would define character and style of the building. The final solution features a patternened skin that activates the street edge while serving as a local landmark for residents. Over time, the vines planted at the base of the wall will climb towards the summit, partially filtering the backlit fixtures, which at night will produce a warm and welcoming glow for the building residents.

Frog Design Studio Terrace

Employees at Frog Design group, a rapidly growing creative firm in New York, originally approached Terrain to suggest appropriate plants for its lobby and office spaces. But when Tupo saw that the rooftop outside their office was being used exclusively for a heating and air conditioning unit, he knew he had struck gold. Terrain developed a strategy to convert the underused space into a multifunctional high-rise oasis. Tupo and team placed boldly colorful and textural plant material in the space as a way to both sharpen the senses and encourage inspiration. Since its installation, the terrace has become a crucial outlet for Frog’s staff. The space not only serves as a beautiful vista to gaze upon, but also as a gathering space for meetings, parties and the ever-popular open mic night that takes place every Thursday at the office.

Text by Ryan Delia, a writer and landscape designer living in Chicago.
Photos by Javier Haddad

 

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