The Westbury Apartments is an inner city art deco apartment block built in the early 1930s. A 2010 rooftop garden makeover by Atlantis Design, however, has given the building a new lease of life.

The project aimed to respond to the recreational needs of residents, whilst being sympathetic to the building’s heritage interior.

“We aimed for a relaxed suburban backyard feel that was well-serviced for entertainment, but had virtually zero maintenance requirements,” said Mark Harper, principal of Atlantis Design.

Life-like synthetic lawn was installed adjacent to the swimming pool and clothes drying area, with elevated granite stone pavers protecting the underlying roof membrane and providing enhanced thermal insulation to the building.

Elmich Australia’s VersiPave was also utilised. Manufactured from recycled plastic, it eliminates the use of bedding sand or screeds.

“This is a major benefit resulting in significant weight reduction on The Westbury’s building structure,” said Harper.

“The 4mm void created between each paver allows rapid water drainage onto the membrane and then to drainage outlets, ensuring that the levelled paved surface does not retain water.”

At the same time, the waterproof membrane on top of the building was replaced as part of the refurbishment. Supplied by Green Roof Technologies , Evalon is a sheet waterproofing membrane that is highly resistant to UV and plant roots, and backed by a 20 year warranty.

Water harvesting drainage trays and cells from Elmich Australia that prevent damage to the underlying membranes and promote water drainage were also used for the green roof areas.

This includes the VersiDrain 25P drainage and water retention trays, which were installed in shallow planted areas. Lightweight and easy to install, the trays lie beneath geotextile and lightweight growing media and plants to keep them well hydrated, whilst protecting the waterproof membrane.

It also enables water storage for reuse, but eliminates excessive build-up of water through drainage perforations.

Additionally, VersiCell drainage cells have been installed at the base of deeper planter boxes. Made from recycled plastic, these cells work to allow the dispersion of excess water, and can withstand heavy loads such as large trees.

The VersiDrain 8Geo from Elmich, a dimpled drainage sheet with adhered geotextile, was also installed on to the planter box walls to protect the membrane and encourage drainage.