Green Roofs for Healthy Cities has just announced the Awards for Excellence 2008 honoring projects that exemplify the aesthetic and environmental benefits of green roofs and living walls. The winning installations are a showcase of innovation and awareness-raising ideas that standout among the growing field of building integrated green space. Honorees were recognized for several important aspects including design, research and policy development in seven award categories. The distinguished designs among this year’s winners are engaging examples that successfully deploy economic, ecological, aesthetic and functional considerations in gorgeous green form.

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All of this year’s winning designs are extraordinary. Above, Austin City Hall’s green roof covers nearly 12,000 square feet with a “native plant palate” including mountain laurel, agaves, yuccas, prickly pear, feather grass, silver pony foot, and colorful perennials such as bluebonnets, black-eyed susan and prairie coneflower.

In Chicago, a leader in the green roof wave, the Residences at 900 features a stunning urban oasis of native natural plants and flowers. This green roof is a striking contrast to the surrounding skyscrapers of Chicago’s skyline. Honored in the Intensive Residential category, this rooftop garden used a modular green roof system to establish an extensive variety of vegetation for residents to enjoy. Covered with pergolas, stone decks and outdoor gathering areas, this elevated urban green space covers nearly 14,000 square feet.

The Vancouver Aquarium’s living wall is meant to educate as well as provide enjoyable green space. “Built to replicate native cliff ecology, the living wall at Vancouver Aquarium was designed to educate visitors about of the benefits of green walls. The overall project used ecology as a guiding principle combining indigenous plantings, stormwater management strategies, green roofs, and a living wall to create a visible public example of what a sustainable landscape can achieve.” Nearly 1,000,000 visitors per year experience this amazing green wall, also a modular system, and learn about the unique ecology integrated into this LEED Gold certified complex.

The awards were chosen by a six-member, multi-disciplinary judging team that includes architects, landscape architects, engineers and horticulturists. All of the winning projects are online at the Green Roofs for Healthy Cities website. Congratulations to this year’s award-winning green roof visionaries!