National Institutes of Health Library

BETHESDA, MARYLAND / 2007 - 2008

The National Institutes of Health Library Green Terrace is a 4,000 square foot rooftop that offers NIH staff and guests a place to relax, recharge, congregate and interact in an outdoor environment that is a direct physical extension of the beloved and recently renovated Library. Living Habitats paired medical metaphors and interpretation beautifully with custom outdoor elements that support human health. The terrace has several garden areas; some are very drought tolerant, while others are more traditional perennial gardens including an annual zone that features more tropical plants currently being researched at NIH for their medicinal values.

Living Habitats was responsible for conceptual and schematic design, documentation and presentations as part of a design-build contractor team. Several sustainable features beyond the vegetated roof surfaces were also incorporated into the design. Existing roof pavers were re-used in the new terrace layout. Solar arrays supplement the project’s energy use, powering the terrace lighting and irrigation pump. Rain is stored onsite in a large cistern and reused to irrigate the terrace and reduce the amount of flows to and from the municipal water supply and storm systems.  This feature, in combination with the vegetated roof areas, offers important reductions in storm water runoff from the NIH campus, supporting water quality improvement goals for the broader Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Awards:  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Green Champion Award for Sustainable Buildings


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