Friday, February 20, 2009

GREEN ROOF$ in Brooklyn

Holy Air Rights.
I spend quiet a bit of time looking up at our city's skyline. No, I'm not a tourist, I'm just waiting for a sign from God.

A thing I have observed. One hundred years ago architects were more concerned with the way their buildings "finished". I'm talking about that physical transition between Heaven and Earth. The vanishing point where all our building ends, and His begins.
Parapetically Speaking
If the beautifully proportioned hat or decorative cornice really does make the man, than what can be said about all this new south Slope construction? In this very corporal R6B world in which we eat, shit, and die, zoning restrictions prevent anything over 50 feet tall from being built that could interfere with our communally shared light and air. When walking about I'm constantly working over in my minds eye the 40 foot maximum street wall and Sudoku-like sky exposure plane calculations from my particular sidewalk vantage point.

A big fraking cyborg cherry plopped on top of two scoops of E.I.F.S. slathered chunks of Styrofoam.
It's been mostly cookie cutter infill here in the south Slope. The buildings all finish the same, more or less. It has all become built to the lowest spec, speculation. What sets apart the good from the bad, and the bad from the downright fugly is the way they have "designed" their rooftop bulkheads. The mechanicals, cluttered on top in plain view... The elevator rooms... air conditioner compressors... dormers... railings... galvanized exhaust vent stacks... At what point do some architects give up on their pursuit of ordered beauty? Apparently it's fifty feet.

It's a Setback
A setback is the portion of a building that is set back above the base height (or street wall or perimeter wall) before the total height of the building is achieved. The position of a building setback in height factor districts is controlled by sky exposure planes and, in contextual districts, by specified distances from street walls.

Street Wall
A street wall is a wall or portion of a wall of a building facing a street.

Sky Exposure Plane
A sky exposure plane is a virtual sloping lane that begins at a specified height and rises inward over the zoning lot at a ratio of vertical distance to horizontal distance set forth in district regulations. It is designed to provide light and air at street level, primarily in medium- and higher-density districts, and must not be penetrated by the building (except for permitted obstructions).

Permitted Obstruction
A permitted obstruction is a structure or object, such as a balcony, trellis, air conditioner, gutter or fence, that may be located within required open space or yards on a zoning lot, as specified in the Zoning Resolution. Certain structures on a roof, such as elevator bulkheads, water towers or parapets no higher than four feet, are permitted obstructions and allowed to penetrate a height limit, setback area or sky exposure plane.

What does this have to do with Green Roofs?

Can't beat 'em? Then join 'em!
By "green" I mean property owners can generate additional income by leasing their unused roof space to the telecommunications industry. Anyone else notice that several cell phone towers have gone up in the neighborhood over the last couple of weeks? One on the roof of The Smiling Pizza Building on the corner of 7th Avenue and 9th Street, another on the roof of the apartment building up on 16th Street and Prospect Park West, directly across the street from Farrell's Bar and Grill.
They seem to be identical installations. Maybe the work of same network provider. ( There are already several older cell towers looking down into Bartel-Pritchard Square .)

Lord... Can you hear me now?
How 'bout now? Lord?
Here is the Verizon Wireless link for interested landlords containing all the design criteria for having your property evaluated. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
Sadly interest seems to be really, really, really, really high.
"Verizon Wireless receives thousands of inquiries each year from property owners, property managers and customers who offer property on which our communications facilities can be located."

Windsor Terrace: Atmospheric Perspectives

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