Green roof for City Hall


On June 12, the City of Minneapolis and RSP Architects saw their vision come to fruition: A rooftop garden at 350 S. 5th Street received its finishing touches from the crew with Minnesota Native Landscapes. On what could be called the ‘mezzanine’ level of City Hall –just up the stairs from the rotunda, an interior roof has been spruced up to abate heat, use storm water and provide a soothing, pastoral scene in the midst of this concrete jungle.

“The City and the council really wanted to do some visible, public project that would show a public building with a green roof,” said Diane Norman, business development director with RSP. “We wanted to show that we could walk the walk and talk the talk. This really is a great project.”

Minnesota Native Landscape, a Foley, MN-based company owned by John Garry and Joe Schaffer, has seen their services and contracts explode. “We specialize in native plants and construct wetlands, green roofs, even rain gardens,” said Garry. From private homes to big-box stores, Minnesota Native Landscapes create systems with a positive impact for the metro area. “The plants we put here are all native to Minnesota and will be hearty. We partner with general contractors and assist our customer in doing the ecological thing, and it feels good.” Garry said.

Scott Helmes, AIA is this project’s coordinating architect. “This project is just the first phase of a larger project,” explained Helmes. “Three years ago we began the main, waterproofing part of this interior courtyard and the roofs and we completed it last year. Today, the green roof is getting the finishing touches. The next pieces are getting this accessible to the public. Another part maybe is some solar. A cistern has been planned.”

The highly designed, au courant, socially responsible and inspired nature-scape will be ready for prime time in late summer.

Rachel Dykoski lives and writes in the Whittier neighborhood in Minneapolis.