Center for Family Life (In progress)


SJSW was invited by Center for Family Life to do a feasibility study for adding a roof garden on top of their 4-story building at Sunset Park in Brooklyn. The purpose of the study is to explore possibilities for transforming the existing non-occupiable roof to an occupiable roof garden with spaces to accommodate the center’s diverse services, expanding clientele and new opportunities to serve the community.

The main focuses of this report include: possible programming, conceptual design, structural feasibility; and project budget estimates for three options. Though several conceptual design options are proposed, this is not a design study per se. The conceptual designs are offered for the purpose of determining the feasibility of the project based on a proposed magnitude of work. Accordingly, the report includes conceptual goals, scope of work and cost estimates, rather than proposing specific design solutions.

The goal of the proposed project is to make the roof an occupiable space that will increase the usable area for  the expansion of community services. The client proposes that the roof should be transformed into a roof garden that includes an open free standing pavilion (like a gazebo) and accessible enclosed pavilion for use year round (meeting room).

To create a base-line for the analysis, a conceptual design for the roof garden is proposed. The proposed conceptual design is inspired by the Chinese scholar’s garden. These traditional gardens are typically designed to create a feeling of serenity and peacefulness within small urban walled spaces. Though normally found on the ground level the design principles are easily adapted to accommodate a roof garden like the one we are proposing. The primary elements of such a garden include meandering paths, carefully chosen plants, bushes and small trees, ground cover, rock outcroppings, a water feature, and a small open pavilion.