When the James Hotel broke ground in Soho, we were charged with the design build challenge of our GROWing business…to create a park in the sky. The jutting open space terraced over Sixth Avenue and Grand Street, become became our largest green roof project to date and our canvas for a multi-leveled, varied use, elevated park.

Green grass, green roof

This hotel served as a blank canvas for Rebecca Cole GROWs and plants and pots became the painter’s brush.

Custom wood, cement and iron planters
Boston ivy facade…as high as the eye can see

We incorporated green roof and container gardening to create a grassy knoll, a wooded forest, a picnic area, a place for a boat (art piece), hills and even streams.

The park began as a swath of concrete and we turned it onto a large green roof. The soil is built into the building. A mix of container gardening and green roof gardening provides levels and overhangs.

Overgrown potato vine beauty
Rows of Annual and perennials line the glass rails
Golden evergreens in the winter sun
Terraced Intensive green roof lining Sixth Ave

The light and rain exposure is massively different from space to space. This presents a challenge in plant selection and irrigation. From a design perspective, it’s difficult to repeat elements when the conditions are so varied. To provide a natural solution we planted ivies that grow quickly and cover the rust and cement of the building.

The tiered façade on sixth avenue has plants spilling over the walls. On the street below is a public basketball court with massive trees surrounding it. Those trees and the trees from the hotel have become one, so that it looks like the park has been extended into the sky.