The long-promised green roof atop Brooklyn’s Barclays Center is finally taking root. More than a decade in the making, it looked at one point as if the green roof had been removed from the plan altogether.

But construction to install the greenery began this past May, and now representatives from Forest City Ratner say the entire job should be completed by the end of July.

Absorbing Water and Sound

Last fall and winter, construction workers built a steel platform atop the arena’s existing roof in order to support the weight of the plant installation.

Now, sedum—a drought-resistant, flowering plant that requires little in the way of maintenance—is being installed panel by panel, using three large cranes. When completed, the green roof will cover more than three acres of surface area.

The roof is designed to absorb rainwater during storms, putting less stress on the city’s aging sewer system and hopefully reducing combined sewer overflows. According to representatives from Barclays, the plants will also help to absorb sound coming from inside the building.

There’s also an aesthetic aspect. Many feel the verdant green roof sets off the harsh rusted exterior of the arena—and throughout the season, the sedum will change colors from green to yellow to red.

Not Everybody’s Sold

The roof, not unlike Atlantic Yards, does have its fair share of critics.

Some are frustrated at the lack of access; the original plan pitched to the community included the green roof as a lush oasis accessible to the public. The new structure is completely off-limits.

Others feel that the entire installation nothing more than thinly veiled greenwashing. Lloyd Alter at Treehugger writes:

But the biggest issue is that it’s not being installed on the actual roof. They are building a giant 130,000 square foot steel superstructure that spans the whole existing roof with an air gap of between four and ten feet, installed by three cranes over a period of six months. They are essentially building a bridge to hold up a “flocked” pattern of sedum trays. The carbon footprint and embodied energy of so much steel far outweighs the environmental benefits of any green roof, let alone this one. The whole thing, from start to finish is a multimillion dollar environmental negative.

What’s your take?

Pictures of the New Green Roof at Barclays Center

Recently, Architect’s Newspaper got an extensive tour of the green roof installation. Here are a few photos from their visit:

The green roof with Downtown Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan beyond. Photo credit: Chris Ryan / AN.
Sedum panels arriving by crane. Photo credit: Chris Ryan / AN.
Blooming sedum. Photo credit: Chris Ryan / AN.
Ladybug enjoying its new home. Photo credit: Chris Ryan / AN.
Workers installing panels one by one. Photo credit: Chris Ryan / AN.
View of the green roof from above. Photo credit: Tom Kaminski / WCBS Chopper 880