case study

Creating a green haven for pioneering apartments

The multi-award-winning MOHO housing scheme uses offsite methods and advanced green-roof technology to create a truly modern community.
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Creating a green haven for pioneering apartments

challenge

A leafy retreat in the city

City living specialists, Urban Splash, pride themselves on their ambitious approach to regeneration. In 2004, they pushed their creative vision further than ever before. Each of the 102 apartments at MOHO in Manchester was constructed inside a factory before being delivered to site and craned onto a six-storey steel frame.

To tie the apartments together and create a real sense of place, architects Shed KM centred the development around a raised garden which sits on top of a two-storey underground car park. To realise this proposal, they asked BMI Group to design a green-roof solution which could support pathways, plants and even mature trees. The main sedum-planted surface also needed to accommodate a 45° slope, integrating beautifully with outdoor steps to seamlessly change levels.
Creating a green haven for pioneering apartments

solution

As with the apartment modules, work on the green roof began in the factory. Within this controlled setting, we were able to develop, test and fine-tune solutions for the complex junctions such as around the two-metre-deep tree pit. This process allowed close collaboration with Shed KM to create a layout which was as pleasurable to view from apartment balconies as it is to walk through.

Our BMI Icopal Sure-Weld TPO single-ply system was already specified for the roof of the apartments. The heavy-duty membrane features built-in root inhibitors meaning it was a natural choice for the green roof. BMI Icopal Total Torch and Rootbar systems were also used to provide waterproofing in particularly challenging areas such as disabled access ramps and plant troughs. Drainage boards, filter layers, a lightweight soil mix and extensive sedum substrate all come together to create a healthy environment for flora and fauna to thrive.

As the garden acts as a regular access route for tenants, pedestrianised areas needed to be both durable and easy to maintain. A hard-wearing resin bound aggregate surface provided the answer with an attractive and dependable finish.
Creating a green haven for pioneering apartments

results

Since its completion the garden has offered residents a much-needed break from the bustle of the city, and a calm place where they can reconnect with the natural environment. The carefully tailored design is perfectly completed with flush-fitting rooflights for the car park below, creating a modern, tranquil space for relaxation. MOHO even won the prestigious Best In Show accolade at the Flat Roofing Alliance (FRA) 2006 RBM Awards