“Populus will be a stunning architectural landmark that will forever alter Denver’s skyline and contribute to the architectural legacy of the entire Mountain West.”
Award-winning landscape architecture firm Superbloom, launched last year by Principals and Co-Founders Stacy Passmore and Diane Lipovsky, is leading the design of the Populus Hotel green roof in downtown Denver, which broke ground last month. Working with project architect Studio Gang and developer Urban Villages, Superbloom brings their commitment to community and ecology to the design and planning of the hotel’s green roof, restaurant terrace and streetscapes.
Superbloom specializes in large-scale landscape design for commercial, agricultural, educational, and municipal clients, focusing on projects that transform communities and ecological systems. Grant McCargo, Urban Village co-founder, CEO, chief environmental officer, and partner, says, “Not only will Populus be the country’s first carbon-positive hotel, it will also be a stunning architectural landmark by Studio Gang that will forever alter Denver’s skyline and contribute to the architectural legacy of the entire Mountain West.” (source: Dezeen article)
Previous work includes public spaces, community parks, cultural landscapes, and ecological rehabilitation. Drawn to this project by the opportunity to make an impact on Denver’s urban ecology, Superbloom consulted with local experts to formulate a unique combination of native plants. The planting scheme introduces the Columnar Swedish Aspen, the prairie-adapted variation of the building’s namesake, Populus tremula ‘erecta’. The spectrum of plant species aims to attract and support pollinators like insects and birds, as well as give guests to the hotel’s rooftop restaurant and bar a taste of local nature while taking in stunning views of the Denver skyline and Front Range of the Rockies.
“Recently, green roof design in Denver has been moving toward more regionally appropriate applications through strategic use of native and adapted species and deeper substrate profiles.” says Dr. Jennifer Bousselot, Assistant Professor of Horticulture at Colorado State University, who consulted on the project’s planting design. Denver voters seem to be on board with this direction for a greener city, passing a green roof initiative in 2017 that required new and existing buildings over 25,000 square feet in size to install a green roof (source: City and County of Denver). The ordinance has faced challenges in a city with unique climate fluctuations, however, it seems the push for sustainable architecture in Denver is catching on.
The hotel will join other rooftop habitats in Colorado’s capital, the Denver Botanic Gardens, the Clyfford Still Museum, and the University of Colorado Anschutz Wellness Center (source: Colorado Green Roofs). The project aims to maximize sustainability through innovative high performance building envelopes, solar energy, native habitats and more. Dr. Bousselot agrees, “An excellent example of a high impact, regionally appropriate green roof will bloom on the upcoming Populus rooftop, designed by Superbloom.”
Render of Populus hotel, courtesy of Studio Gang. Read more about the project here.