On the Brooklyn waterfront nestled between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges is 45 Main Street, a 475,000 square-foot office building and one of the signature properties of the neighborhood known as DUMBO. Here, developer Two Trees Management has converted the former factory building to create a mix of private and co-working spaces with incredible views a short walk to the waterfront. With the ground floor dedicated to retailers and the arts, the rooftop is a 9,500 square-foot shared space designed by Landscape Architect James Corner Field Operations and built by Blondie’s Treehouse Inc. We retrofitted the rooftop on this historic building with a mix of stone and wood surfaces. A herringbone pattern of grey and white granite creates a distinct area for blue bistro tables. In the south section of the rooftop an elevated ipe platform introduces an additional level for more casual lounging. Large planters of weathered Corten Steel feature Gleditsia, Amalenchier, Dogwood and Witchhazel as well as perennials and grasses. Custom ipe benches create privacy seating and serve as space dividers along the north and east walls. To install this project on time, Blondie’s brought in a 140-ton crane and secured permits allowing the closure of Washington Street. In a single morning, we lifted 250 cubic yards of soil and drainage stone, twenty-five 15’ trees, each with 30” root balls, 1,600 one gallon perennials as well as pavers and a variety of construction materials. Without the crane, this material would have required the freight elevators for a solid week, a difficult prospect in a busy building at full occupancy. Over a period of nearly four weeks, Blondie’s craftsmen and gardeners fabricated custom woodwork and planters and carefully planted thousands of perennials, shrubs and trees, transforming this rooftop from an empty and unutilized space into a fully realized, functional and quite gorgeous urban landscape.
Serving as a transition between interior space and outdoor landscape, a freestanding pergola serves as a focal point, centering the space and drawing attention to the best features the garden has to offer. When properly implemented, a pergola performs double duty, extending the living space while defining a distinct outdoor space.
Hovering 7 stories above Spring Street is a rooftop garden that is more than just a green roof. Featuring a variety of grasses and a seasonal rotation of blooming plants, this rooftop is transformed into an urban meadow. The distinction between the meadow in the forefront and the city’s skyline as a backdrop plays off of the urban vs wild contrast that lives within each of us. The blooming color is planted in large swaths to increase its intensity and rolls through the season adding a constant shift in color. Flowering chives present soft purple tufts and fresh greens beginning in early spring until the coreopsis take over in the summer with their electric orange hue and wild flower nature. Later, the hydrangeas begin to take bloom and their moppy heads create a late summer watercolor that leads the way into autumn red and golden grasses. As part of the common space of a private office, this rooftop retreat provides respite from the bustle of the surrounding city and is the setting for meetings and gatherings from spring through fall.