The landscapes of 150 Charles represent a new paradigm of urban residential development— one that celebrates urban ecology through nuanced and responsive design, and asserts that nature may be thoroughly integrated into the built environment.
The 150 Charles landscape sets itself apart in both the overall percentage of green space and in its response to the disparate microclimatic conditions that occur across the building’s elevation. The gradation of sun and wind exposure, humidity, and soil depth led to the adoption of four landscape archetypes: rainforest at the ground level, temperate forest and temperate grassland at the intermediate levels, and desert at the highest elevation. Drawing from biologically diverse ecological communities—including native northeastern plant communities—the landscapes are both a vibrant backdrop for residents and the surrounding community and an exemplar of resilient design capable of thriving in inhospitable urban conditions. Over 30,000 square feet of landscape space, both public and private, occupies the site across multiple levels, representing a significant percentage of the building’s coverage and constituting more green space than the nearby Abingdon Square Park, Christopher Square Park, and the Jefferson Market Garden combined.
Acting as both facilitator and designer, the landscape architect helped to guide the project through City Planning approval. Landscape was an integral element in the development of a new Text Amendment to the Zoning Code. As a key team member, the landscape architect provided support, documentation and presentations to fulfill the high performance landscape mandates and permanent green space requirements set forth in the Re-Zoning Initiative. Beyond the social, cultural, and psychological benefits of cultivating greater green space within the urban fabric, this robust example of “greening” the built environment also contributes to the reduction of energy and resource consumption, the improvement of stormwater and carbon capture, and the mitigation of urban heat island effect. When multiplied across the city, insertions of green interventions such as this are a critical step towards preparing cities for the challenges of the 21st century. 150 Charles is an example of progressive design that will push policy and planning toward greater engagement in and inclusion of ecological understanding.
Entrant office name: Dirtworks Landscape Architecture, PC
Role of the entrant in the project: Landscape Architect
Other design firms involved: CookFox Architects – Architects Project location: Far West Village, New York
Design year: 2011
Year Built: 2015