Visited the ASLA greenroof on Friday. For all the pomp and circumstance that people have made about it, my visit was honestly quite an underwhelming experience. I missed my Metro stop because I was doing a crossword and ended up in Chinatown about a block away from ASLA. So I thought, “Hey, I should check out the greenroof, I’ve been meaning to do that.” The office is small and unassuming when I approached it and I was met by a seemingly perturbed receptionist who may or may not have thought it was ridiculous that I should bother her for a tour at 8:45 in the morning.
I don’t know really what I was expecting from her… almost as if she didn’t know that ASLA is the shining beacon of leadership for our profession!! Or at least maybe she didn’t know all the things I did about the importance of the organizations role in the progression of landscape architecture! Surely, this wasn’t the case!
I was escorted by a librarian for an early morning look at the roof and immediately decided that they must of had a brilliant photographer and graphic artist. Some flowers were in bloom, the view was terrible and it was much, much smaller that I had imagined. I, like a child, who finds out that the Santa at the mall is just a fat old man in a suit, was utterly devastated…
Soon I left. It was only later, over a marginally disappointing wrap and fruit combo for breakfast, I began to reconsider the greenroof for what a truly was. The only word that came to mind was… “HONEST.” The roof was an honest statement about the current state of my profession and honest about the influence and potential design of greenroofs. The view is typical of what you would find in most cities, cramped and decayed, but the fact that they were able to take their small portion of the world and turn it into something useful and beautiful, reminds us as designers that we cant have our hands on everything, but if we manage to what we do have – responsibly and with dignity – then we have made this world a better place. That is why the ASLA greenroof and the sustainable movement is so important.Images via ASLA.org