Monday, August 3, 2009

Living Carpet of Texture & Color: Eco-Roof, Portland Central Library

Eco-Roof  - Multnomah County Central Library, Portland, Oregon

A high point of my Portland foray: Touring the Central Library's new Eco-Roof with John Cabrera, Facilities Supervisor.     Photos Copyright © Alice Joyce
Completed in September, 2008, the structure utilizes 24" x 24" pallets, which added to the ease of installation. The 4" deep soil blends organic and inorganic materials, mixed with Zebra, a water-retentive product made from natural cornstarch.

Multnomah County Library Eco-Roof - 801 S.W. 10th Avenue - Portland, Oregon

Photos and text: All Right Reserved © Alice Joyce


The benefits of the roof are numerous. Plantings help to capture the majority of stormwater runoff, cut down on the cost of electricity for heating and cooling, and absorb UV rays.

The roof features some 17,000 plants; drought-tolerant sedums and grasses that create a wildlife habitat, and reduce air pollution. An eco-roof is believed to filter the air, actually removing airborne particles, as it absorbs carbon dioxide.

A look at the photos reveals the roof's aesthetic element: A rich textural carpet knit of an abstract pattern that changes with the seasons.

The summer scene pictured: One of peachy pink tones melded with brick red and mahogany hues alongside pale blue-grey & shades of green, with yellow blooms and feathery inflorescences!

Information about tours of Portland's Central Library Eco-Roof :
Click on links for more about the Portland Area:


  1. Love the subtlety of the texture and color. Many roof gardens are much 'louder' than this one appears. Beautiful.

  2. Susan,
    It's a color scheme after my own heart, as well!

  3. I am such a slacker! This is right here in my city and I haven't been. Thank you Alice for reminding me!

  4. That is so amazing! I love green roofs, and was just blown away by the Academy of Sciences roof. And I'm sure there will be different color schemes at other times of the year.

  5. It's the dream of my heart to have a roof garden just like this one. Before we had our back roof reshingled, I was scouting around for someone to green-roof me, but while they seem to be more available now for commercial/institutional buildings (in fact, in Toronto now all new builds of this type must have a green roof) it's harder to find a contractor who'll do this for residential properties. The search goes on. I only have 15 years till my shingles expire.

  6. Yes! How wonderful to see that.

  7. What great minds came with this idea of roof gardens!

  8. I would be happy to have a "lawn" of sedums if they looked this fabulous.