_816 CONGRESS AVENUE ROOFTOP TERRACE
© Photo courtesy of dwg.
The 816 Congress Rooftop project transformed unsightly, under-performing, inaccessible flat roofs into a series of unique amenity decks and green roofs, and subsequently profitable building assets. The resulting, largest, 15th level terrace has become a tenant retreat and a coveted event space, offering unprecedented views of the downtown skyline and the Texas State Capitol. This building, designed for another era, is now competing with modern and newly built office space in downtown Austin by providing a one-of-a-kind sustainable amenity.
816 Congress is a 20-story office building located two blocks from the Texas State Capitol. Built in 1984, the building was constructed with terracing roof plates, that were artifacts of the era in which they were constructed – expanses of black asphalt and discolored roof pavers with a sprinkling of high wattage lighting fixtures among numerous exposed utilities. The view of these desolate expanses negatively affected the building performance in regard to non-code compliant building insulation and extensive office space vacancies adjacent to each of the roofs.
dwg. initially presented a simple alternative to the bleak roofs – what if the existing area was covered in native plants and the view from each floor above was a carpet of green? This relatively simple concept quickly expanded into a complete roof renovation of approximately 20,000 square feet across four areas including the creation of two amenity terraces, from previously inaccessible and un-leasable space. The project challenges the performance criteria for existing urban rooftops and represents a unique precedent for increasing standards.
This LEED Silver Certified project incorporates an AC-condensate harvesting system to irrigate the native, drought-resistant vegetation, which results in a 100% reduction in water use. The project replaced inefficient floodlights with a custom, LED lighting system that was carefully calibrated to match the nearby State Capitol. The project reused the existing pavers as ballast material to protect the waterproofing and secure the insulation. The proximity of nature in the workplace is directly related to improved health and reduced stress levels.
Austin, Texas, USA
MEP Engineer: MEJ & Associates
Interior Architect: STG Design
Structural Engineer: Datum Engineers, Inc.
Waterproofing Consultant: Building Diagnostics, Inc.
Balfour Beatty Construction