Tag Archive for Manhattan

Roosevelt Island Rooftop Terrace

We wanted to take the opportunity to share a unique project that we are especially proud of. It really shows the breadth of design elements and options that are available even in a confined space with strict parameters. This rooftop terrace shines with some of our strongest work yet. We hope you enjoy!

Oasis in the Sky

Roosevelt Island Rooftop TerraceThis 10th floor condominium sits in middle of the East River and has tremendous views of both Manhattan and Queens, but is also quite exposed to neighbors and natural elements. The 10th floor is not the top floor of this building and therefore the young couple who owns the unit is exposed to neighbor’s prying eyes from the tenants located in the upper stories as well as the building directly opposite on Roosevelt Island’s main drag. While east and west viewpoints offer incredible cityscapes, the clients required some privacy from the northern neighbors as well as those above them. The clients enjoy hosting family and friends, and purchased the unit with a terrace in one of Roosevelt Island’s new constructions with the purpose of creating a beautiful, usable, and intimate outdoor space that would enhance their interiors and add great value to their home.

Roosevelt Island Rooftop Terrace

To establish the intimate space they required the designer looked to create privacy through planting. This was achieved by incorporating custom built-in planters along the perimeter of the space, placing larger plants in key locations and maintaining those east and west views of the cities beyond. Allowing a larger tree such as the Himalayan Birch ample room to grow and thrive 6′ x 6′ planting areas were incorporated in 3 points of the terrace; creating balance and variation with the landscape. Incorporating significant planting areas and therefore saturated soil the building required investigation of the weight loads that would go into these areas. Spreading the planted areas around the perimeter of the space really evened out those heavier loads however and there were no points of extreme weight that would have caused an issue. One area was left free of the custom planter however in order to allow for sunbathing and reaching the parapet wall to offer maximum views of the surrounding vistas. Another element of privacy was incorporated through the use of the pergola over the dining area. Creating a ceiling over the diners that would conceal them from the onlookers in the units above the terrace. Incorporating a built structure of this height caused concern for the building and an engineer and special permit was required in order to attach the structure to the building itself. This requirement proved an enormous logistical challenge, but ultimately was well worth the efforts and cost. The aluminum posts that are visible above the IPE deck have custom feet that sit on the roof membrane and are attached to the concrete roof slab with stainless steel wedge bolts in order to secure the structure against high winds. The addition of the metal material to the roof top provides variations and enriches the overall look of the space.

Roosevelt Island Rooftop Terrace

To make the terrace a usable extension of the interiors, rooms were created with specific programs and features. As you enter the terrace from the interior living room you step out onto the original concrete pavers issued to all exteriors of new constructions in the area. To your left is a small sitting area where a morning coffee and reading of the paper might be enjoyed. Moving forward into the space you step up onto an IPE deck which houses the kitchen and dining areas for the outdoors. The 8-person dining table sits below the custom aluminum and cedar pergola built into the deck and rooftop, and to your left is an ‘L’ shaped outdoor kitchen with an electric grill (gas and propane were restricted by building and city codes), bar sink and ice chest, refrigerator, and stainless steel cabinetry. The kitchen is veneered in a natural, stacked-stone and the counter is a custom poured and tinted concrete. The counter extends over the northern side of the kitchen to create a bar with ample space for seating and entertaining while grilling is taking place. As you continue north through the space you step down again onto the original concrete pavers – the deck was maintained in the central area of the terrace in order to keep it from the reaching the parapet and exceeding the minimum 42″ height requirement. To your right is an open, sun-filled space for sunbathing and experiencing the surrounding views. To the left is the living area of the terrace with cushy, sectional seating and a custom built-in bench with shading pergola overhead. In time the posts and beams of the bench pergola will be covered in Trumpet Vines offering shade and additional privacy during the warmer seasons.

Roosevelt Island Rooftop TerraceIn addition to the requirements associated with the pergola, deck, and kitchen appliances the designer also had to consider and plan for window washing operations that take place biannually on the terrace. Access to nearly every point along the perimeter had to be maintained in order for 1 man and a window washing basket with rope and pulley system to have room to work and move along. Therefore every landscape/built feature was brought inward 15″ from the railing. Unfortunately this decreased the usable footprint of the space for the homeowners, but ultimately was minimal in what it took away from the overall design goals. Privacy from the northern neighbors and the eyes overhead were still achieved. Various rooms were implemented allowing for an extension of the indoors and maximum use of the space. Views of Manhattan and Queens were maintained to the east and west providing a unique and awesome experience of the city surrounding this Roosevelt Island Oasis.

LINLA Awards Dinner

Some of our recent work has been recognized and we have received awards and notable recognition from several established landscape institutions!

“GREAT TURNOUT”

LINLA Awards DinnerOn a cold winter’s night in January, dressed in our finest, we joined other professional landscape design firms and nursery men for the annual LINLA awards dinner. LINLA, the Long Island Nursery and Landscape Association, is a New York State wide professional trade association started in the 1960’s.

kokobo happily won the bronze prize for each of the two entries submitted this year – competing in a field with many other seasoned professionals.

kokobo’s submissions this year were in direct contrast to each other. A lofty midtown rooftop was transformed into a chic, minimalist New York terrace. It was designed as an extension of the interior living space with bird’s eye panoramic views of Manhattan, making it ideal for hosting parties!

The other award-winning project was on Roosevelt Island; this 10th floor terrace with wonderful views of the East River/LIC/the Ed Koch Bridge and NYC is owned by a young couple looking for space to relax after long days in the office and lots of business travels. Not only were the clients’ desires different, the spaces each had their own unique character: the midtown rooftop offered a narrow U-shaped area with privacy from around and above, verses a larger open square on Roosevelt Island needing privacy from neighbors above and across the way.

Now, back to our “night out”. The evening was informative as well as fun. During the cocktail hour, we were able to view all the competitive portfolios, sans names of company or client of the various projects presented so that all feedback from judges could be viewed. As dinner was served, a wonderful slideshow and commentary was provided highlighting all of the winner’s projects with amazing before and after pictures as well as detailed construction pictures showing all of the challenges and intricate steps required to complete the incredible projects. It was nice to hear the ‘ohs’ and ‘ahs’ when photos of the spaces designed and built by kokobo were shown; the night shots highlighting the landscape lighting were especially admired! The room was buzzing with creative thoughts and note-taking for inspiration on future projects.

LINLA Awards Dinner

kokobo’s team accepts one of the awards

Great turn-out! Nice to have all the landscape design/build people under one roof taking some time off from working, getting to know each other and seeing each others work.
-Irena Romovack, kokobo designer

It was a fun evening and great to see familiar faces. The award-winning projects displayed a depth and diversity of designs and applications. It’s thrilling to see our work presented alongside such creative and talented designers.
-Kaylin Rostron, kokobo senior designer

This was my first time attending the LINLA Awards dinner and I really enjoyed it. It was great to see all the amazing designs from other companies and learning about the creativeness behind the designs. I hope to see everyone again next year at the LINLA Awards dinner.
-Zoe Chen, kokobo designer

Thank you for your valued support.

Sincerely,

Jean Galle
kokobo greenscapes, inc.

kokobo greenscapes’ “BIG Move”

Our New Home

BIG Move

Last fall, kokobo greenscapes moved into a new home in Long Island City, right in the shadow of the 59th Street bridge.

It’s a great convenience and pleasure having all operations under 1 roof just minutes away from our Manhattan clients, and just 2 minutes from major thoroughfares accessing Long Island and Queens.

We occupy a spacious design studio on the 2nd floor of the 2 story building with large windows that face south, offering wonderful natural light. In the near future, 3 different living wall systems will be showcased in the design studio. This mini showcase will display the variety of green wall units that kokobo professionally installs and maintains, giving you, the client a better visual sense for future ideas and applications.

BIG Move

On the ground level, our loading bay, indoor parking, and work area is located with storage and staging space for planting and project preparations.

Our conference room comfortably seats 8-10 and has a large screen for reviewing projects and hosting client meetings is centrally located amongst the design studio and other offices.

BIG Move

And finally, the piece de resistance – the rooftop! Currently it offers incredible views of Manhattan, and for the future we have plans to install a terrace landscape showcase, which will feature choice selections of hardscape materials/applications, an outdoor kitchen, lounge and seating areas accented by green in the form of gardens with unique plantings. This rooftop will display our unbeatable craftsmanship and design talent.

BIG Move

Sincerely,

The entire kokobo family!

KOKOBO GREENSCAPES

Plants Maximize The Human Asset

PlantsIn addition to the obvious aesthetic value plants offer any environment, plants also provide numerous health benefits. In a two-year study conducted in 51 offices, basic health symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, sore throats, coughs and dry skin were reduced by 23% in the offices with plants.

In a similar study conducted by Dr. Virginia Lohr, of Washington State University, visual exposure to plant settings produced significant recovery from stress within five minutes while enhancing productivity by 12 percent.

Similar to a cup of coffee from your favorite café, professionally installed and maintained plants cost per employee; all from the natural boost in productivity and decrease in absenteeism.

The benefits of plants are not limited to the office. In homes, plants such as the Peace Lily can absorb benzene, which is found in detergents, gasoline, inks, plastic, and rubber products. All in all, plants contribute to creating environments that maximize the human asset.

Green Roofs in Big Cities Bring Relief from Above

Roofs, like coffee, used to be black tar. Now both have gone gourmet: for roofs, the choices are white, green, blue and solar-panel black.

greenroof

Chester Higgins Jr. / The New York Times. A co-op in Manhattan with a roof garden.

All are green in one sense. In different ways, each helps to solve serious environmental problems. One issue is air pollution, which needs no introduction. The second is the urban heat island. Because cities have lots of dark surfaces that absorb heat and relatively little green cover, they tend to be hotter than surrounding areas — the average summer temperature in New York City is more than 7 degrees hotter than in the Westchester suburbs. This leads to heavy air-conditioning use — not good — and makes city dwellers miserable. For a few people every year, the heat is more than a discomfort — it’s fatal.

The other problem is storm water runoff. In New York, as in about a fifth of American cities, there is only one sewer system to conduct both rainwater and wastewater. About every other rainfall in New York, sewers flood and back up, discharging their mix of rainwater and wastewater into the city’s waterways. It doesn’t take much to overload New York’s sewers — it can take only 20 minutes of rainfall to start water from toilets flowing into Brooklyn’s waterways. The water does more than flood streets. It makes us sick — cases of diarrhea spike when sewers overflow. When sewers back up, polluted water runs into our lakes and oceans, closing beaches.

How can a new roof help?

At 1:45 in the afternoon on August 9, 2001, the temperature in Chicago was in the 90s. Eleven stories up, on the roof of City Hall, the surface temperature of the black tar measured 169 degrees. But Mayor Daley, environmental innovator, had done something interesting. The year before, a section of the City Hall roof had been painted white. The surface temperature there was between 126 and 130 degrees. And much of the roof of the building had become a garden — 20,000 plants in 150 varieties, chosen for their abilities to thrive without irrigation and stand up to Chicago’s notorious wind. The surface temperature of the green roof varied between 91 and 119 degrees.

So the difference between a black tar roof and a green roof was at minimum 50 degrees. And the green roof was able to retain 75 percent of a one-inch rainfall. The two tasks go hand in hand — green roofs cool by capturing moisture and evaporating it.

Putting living vegetation on the roof is not a new idea. For thousands of years people have made sod roofs to protect and insulate their houses, keeping them cooler in summer and warmer in winter. The modern movement for green roofs began in the last 50 years in Europe. Germany, where about 10 percent of roofs are green, is the leader; some parts of Germany require green roofs on all new buildings.

Greening a roof is not exactly simple though. Over a black roof — flat is easiest but sloped can work — goes insulation, then a waterproof membrane, then a barrier to keep roots from poking holes in the membrane. On top of that there is a drainage layer, such as gravel or clay, then a mat to prevent erosion. Next is a lightweight soil (Chicago City Hall uses a blend of mulch, compost and spongy stuff) and finally, plants.

An extensive roof — less than 6 inches of soil planted with hardy cover such as sedum — can cost $15 per square foot. An intensive roof — essentially a garden, with deeper soil and plants that require watering and weeding — can double that. But because the vegetation is thicker, it will do a better job of cooling a building and collecting rainwater. Plants reduce sewer discharge in two ways. They retain rainfall, and what does run off is delayed until after the waters have peaked.

A study conducted by Columbia University and City University of New York of three test roofs built by Con Edison in Queens found that the green roof — an extensive roof, planted with sedum — cut the rate of heat gained through the roof in summer by 84 percent, and the rate of heat lost through the roof in winter by 34 percent.

Another study (same researchers, same Con Ed test sites) found that green roofs are a very cost-effective way to reduce storm water runoff. If New York has one billion square feet of possibly greenable roof, planting it all could retain 10 to 15 billion gallons of annual rainfall — which would cut a substantial amount of sewage overflow. “If you add in all the other green infrastructure, such as street trees, permeable pavement and ground collection pits, it might be possible to eliminate the combined sewage overflow without building specialized water detention tanks, which are hugely expensive,” said Stuart Gaffin, a research scientist at Columbia’s Center for Climate Systems Research, who co-authored both studies with colleagues from City College.

Green roofs have other advantages. They scrub the air: one square meter can absorb all the emissions from a car being driven 12,000 miles a year, said Amy Norquist, chief executive of Greensulate, which installs green roofs. And green roofs can provide the plants that animals, birds and bees need where parks are far apart.

White roofs are cheap and don’t require any engineering — just a layer of special paint. New York City is trying to coat a million square feet of roof a year. Building owners can do the work themselves, or they can engage CoolRoofs, a city initiative that promotes white roofs and organizes hundreds of volunteer painters. Since 2010, about 3,000 volunteers have coated 288 buildings.

But less investment buys less return. White roofs don’t catch rainwater, help biodiversity or clean the air. Gaffin’s group found that the white portion of the Con Ed roof averaged 43 degrees cooler than black at noon on summer days. That’s something, but it’s a smaller cooling effect than green roofs offer. Green roofs improve each year as vegetation becomes denser and taller. But after a few months, a white roof tends to look like city snow — covered with soot. As a white roof dirties, it loses a lot of its cooling ability.

Another roof option doesn’t save energy — it creates it. New Jersey has installed 500 megawatts of solar power — enough to run half a million homes. California has installed double that. New York City? So far, just 6.5 megawatts.

How have New Jersey and California done it? Private vendors install and maintain the solar panels, and are paid in future energy savings. Scott Stringer, the Manhattan borough president, argues that New York should use this system to put solar panels on the roof of every public school. Stringer’s report says putting solar roofs on all available public schools would eliminate as much carbon emissions as planting 400,000 trees — eight times the number in Manhattan now.

Public schools have become a testing ground for the new roofs. At the Robert Simon complex in the East Village, which houses three schools (my children attend two of those schools), work is beginning this summer on a farm. A committee at the Earth School was looking for green ideas that would go beyond recycling and create a curriculum. Abbe Futterman, the science teacher, was already growing vegetables and fruit in sawed-off pickle barrels right outside her classroom window, using the garden to teach plant science and nutrition. The kids tend it, and use the produce to cook food from around the world.

The Fifth Street Farm will be a much larger vegetable and fruit garden in planters raised above the roof on steel girders — not a classic green roof. The money has come from various government offices — those of Stringer, State Senator Daniel Squadron and City Council member Rosie Mendez. Douglas Fountain, an architect who is assisting the schools in implementing the construction (and a parent of a Tompkins Square Middle School student) said that it was designed to be easily replicable by other schools.

Is a green roof a good investment for a building owner? Perhaps, but the biggest reason might not be reduced energy costs — lots of factors affect a building’s energy use. More savings come from the fact that temperature swings make a black tar roof expand and contract. The smaller the spread, the longer the roof life. Roanoke, Va., for example, just installed a green roof on its municipal building, at a cost of $123,000, adding anywhere from 20 to 60 years to the life of the current roof membrane. “I personally believe a green roof is the last roof you’ll have to put on,” said Gaffin.

But any changes to a black tar roof are undoubtedly good investments for cities — indeed, interest in green roofs is soaring largely because of the sewage problem and the costs of trying to solve it the old way. New York City decided it was more cost effective to build green infrastructure, including green roofs, than to construct more sewer pipes or storage tanks, and it is spending $1.5 billion over the next 20 years on green projects that will reduce rainfall runoff. The goal is to cut sewer outflows by 40 percent by 2030.

“The good news is that this is a ‘no harm’ intervention,” said Carter Strickland, the commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection. “People want it; there’s a lot of other benefits. If at the end of the day it doesn’t do the full job, whatever you have to build on top will be much smaller and less expensive.”

To encourage building owners to install green roofs, New York City has a pilot program that will end next year offering a $4.50-per-square-foot tax abatement for green roofs that cover more than half a rooftop. (There are also tax abatements for solar-panel roofs.)

New York City was not one of the first American cities to promote green roofs. “But the city is doing quite well,” said Gaffin. “The green infrastructure plan is very ambitious.” The problem is that the little-by-little approach won’t produce real environmental benefits until they reach a critical mass, and that could take a long time. “We get biodiversity benefits from small scale greening, and individual building owners will get an energy benefit,” said Gaffin. “ But to make a difference to the city’s climate or hydrology we’d have to get up to 30, 40 or 50 percent coverage. What we have now is a drop in the bucket.”

(original post)

Company Overview

kokobo greenscapeskokobo is a full-service exterior and interior landscape design/build/maintenance company specializing in unique and natural landscapes with custom-built hardscapes. Employing creative, passionate and knowledgeable individuals and partnering with the finest growers, nurseries and suppliers, kokobo provides its clients with a superior selection on services.

Passion, Creativity, and Vision

Launched in 2001, kokobo started from the back of a Honda Accord with a few rakes, a broom and plastic shovel in hand. By April of 2002, kokobo hired their first two full time employees, and by July leased their first office. In 2003, kokobo had grown to a multi division, full service company, which employed ten people. The year 2004 brought the addition of a sales office in Manhattan, two masons and a master carpenter. kokobo now employs over twenty individuals who all share the same passion, creativity, and vision for the company.

Award Winning Designs

kokobo has earned the reputation of completing award-winning designs on time and at or under budget. Whether it is a custom rooftop design, a residential property renovation, or exterior property maintenance, be assured that kokobo will bring its values of hard work, honesty and creativity to your project.