Bringing Green Design to Residential Projects

Innovations and alternative products support custom projects
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Sponsored by Bison Innovative Products and Cascade Architectural
By Peter J. Arsenault, FAIA, NCARB, LEED AP
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Other Deck Design Options

There are a number of other ways that adjustable pedestal roof deck systems can be integrated into roofing designs. For example, green roofs are increasingly popular as a way to expand usable roof space, add gardens, and control rooftop drainage. Designs that include green roofs typically demonstrate an imaginative use of materials that minimize maintenance and the environmental footprint of the building. By incorporating a pedestal system into a green roof, a pedestrian walkway can be provided that keeps footsteps off of the vegetation and allows it to grow properly. It also provides controlled access for maintenance of the green roof or other rooftop items.

Similarly, an elevated pedestal system can be used within a water feature or where the water supply is concealed beneath the deck surface. Since the supports are impervious to water, mold, and most chemicals, they can function well for many years of service. Similarly, recessed lighting can be incorporated into the system by running the wiring beneath the deck surface. This can enhance the ambiance of the outdoor space and improve visibility and safety during nighttime/dark conditions.

Of course, the deck does not need to cover the entire roof in any of these scenarios. It can be sized to suit the needs of the project such that it avoids other rooftop equipment or features, provides a geometry that is visually interesting, or is just sized to accommodate the programmatic needs of the space. Similarly, smaller sections can be located on different parts of a roof or on different levels of a building or site, depending on the building design.

Site Furnishings

With the pedestals and the deck surface in place, it makes sense that manufacturers offer a series of deck furnishings to fit with the modularity of the deck system. For example, modular wood cubes are available with an array of design options to incorporate seating, storage, and planters. Such cubes are available with a polyurethane lining and drainage holes to host plant life. At other times of the year, the cubes can be repurposed for seating and storage of seasonal items (i.e., cushions and pillows) by placing a manufactured hardwood top on the cube.

If a different look is desired, aluminum cubes are also an option. Designed to withstand temperature extremes, these low-maintenance, durable planters are constructed of lightweight, partially recycled aluminum. Some use an industrial strength powder-coated finishing process that is applied electrostatically and cured under heat, creating a more resilient finish than conventional paint. The process does not emit any volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air and allows the cubes to be coated with virtually any paint color. Aluminum cubes typically contain recycled content, are 100 percent recyclable, include drain holes, and have irrigation sleeves. There is a variety of size and color choices available.

Overall, from reclaiming unused space in the city or creating a relaxing retreat in the suburbs, to creating a luxurious oasis by the sea, pedestal rooftop decks can be a solution for a variety of homeowners while creating valuable outdoor space for them and their guests.


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Originally published in Architectural Record
Originally published in November 2020


Bringing Green Design to Residential Projects
Buyer's Guide
Bison Rooftop Deck Systems
Manufactured in the USA with 20 percent post-industrial recycled materials, Bison Pedestals create level decks over sloped surfaces. Bison Pedestals elevate and support wood tiles, pavers, site furnishings, and a variety of other surfaces. Bison Wood Tiles are commercial-grade, constructed from sustainably harvested hardwoods, and available in standard and FSC-certified options.
Bison Innovative Products
Fabricoil Coiled Wire Fabric Systems
Cascade Architectural is committed to serving the product and service needs of our architectural customers. Since 1987, Cascade has provided a full range of functional Fabricoil woven wire mesh fabric systems to domestic and international markets. Suited for projects of any scale, exterior or interior, Cascade reflects our continued commitment to provide architects, engineers, and channel partners with aesthetically pleasing and affordable mesh systems.
Cascade Architectural