Kevin's Special Project

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my name is kevin gardner and as a pioneer intern i am required (but also pleased) to do a special project for the green garage. after much debate and weighing of my options, i was still at a standstill on what i should do. Until one day, miraculously a project fell in my lap that i could not resist. i am enthralled to announce that i will be developing a design for a roof garden atop the front of the green garage.


One day, Joe and I ventured to the roof to explore and take photos of what we were dealing with. when we came across the front portion of the historic building, i noticed that the area was flat and that there was a small bit of plant growth on the roof. i believe i joked with Joe, saying that we already had the beginnings of a green roof. after our exploration, i told Tom of our adventure and, half jokingly, said that we should put a green area up in the front roof portion of the building. to my surprise, tom thought it was a good idea and that i should make it my special project. i agreed. from then on i've been getting nothing but good feedback from the idea... and the pressure is on... time to design.






The use of the space is crucial to the design. One of the key goals of the roof design is to be accessible and beneficial for three seasons, not simply one. This goal requires some modular design that the space can be transformed as the seasons progress.

  • spring: the temperamental michigan springtime weather could pose a problem with it's strong winds and heavy rains. therefore it is necessary to think of some forms of shelter from the elements. some sort wind blocking structure as well as some drainage system for the large amounts of rain.
  • summer: michigan summers can feel excessively hot due to high humidity adding to the direct sunlight of the roof. awnings and the like can provide shade from the sun while still allowing proficient exposure for plant life upon the roof.
  • autumn: autumn in michigan has seemed to be pretty non-existent and even if it does occur, i believe it would be perfect conditions for rooftop garden especially during harvest season.
  • winter: now michigan winters vary quite a bit. some days are dry bitter cold and wind and others are light with a lot of snow. the space will most likely not be used during this time.

unfortunately, security is a priority in detroit. though the roof garden will be above a typical level for intruders, there are certain precautions we must take.

  • only interior stairway access.
  • easily escapable in case of emergency.
  • proficient guard railing.

Environmental Integrity

  • outdoor exposure
  • garden
    • container garden
    • indigenous species
  • natural building materials (deAnn)
  • duralast
  • planted furniture?

Community Wellbeing

  • communal activities
    • meetings
    • horseshoes
    • bocci ball
  • rentable
    • gg as well as surrounding community opportunities
  • ada?

Economic Justice

can it support itself?

  • business on roof
    • plants for sale
    • photography
    • roof cafe
  • showcase on roof
    • solar showcase for outdoor learning
  • rentable space
  • attract people
  • affordable


  • chalk line model
  • floor plans for different occasions


  • rock gardens


  • tile
  • raised flooring
  • duralast
  • wood is hot
  • historic brick heavy


  • passive irrigation system
    • gutter with holes in it
    • green ally incorperation?
  • no water stored on roof
  • bike pump (or hand pump)

Image Gallery

Photos of the area