By Garrett Brinkman
The Lazarus Rooftop garden is located just south and west of the capitol building lawn in the downtown region of Columbus. The garden is on the roof of the building that once housed the Lazarus department store. Though I have never been there myself, it is very apparent that the Lazarus department store was very a landmark within the city where people would shop and especially meant a lot around the holidays. When the store was closed down it was met with a lot of tension because people were not sure what to make the building into. The building itself is a behemoth. The square footage of it equals over one million square feet. The question was what do you do with such a large space? The building today houses many things such as the office of the Environmental Protection Agency, the American Institute of Architects, an art space studio funded by the Ohio State University as well as other office spaces. The interior was redone in an art deco style which gives the building an older feel. The Lazarus building is certified as LEED Gold which is very difficult to achieve. This means that the building is very sustainable. The renovation of this building was done in a very green and a sustainable way. Nearly seventy-five percent of the debris from the renovation was recycled. During the renovation energy efficient windows were added. Many of the materials used in the renovation were already recycled such as flooring, baseboards, and terrazzo. The escalators in the center of the floorplan were removed and replaced with an atrium with a skylight at the top. This made the building more sustainable by allowing natural lighting to light the interior spaces that normally would not receive natural light. One of the elements of this building that was a main reason that it received LEED certification was the roof garden. The roof garden is 15,998 square feet or about fifteen perfect of the total roof space available. The garden is not for public use and is not meant for aesthetic purposes. Some people think the garden is quite ugly but I believe it is actually beautiful because it is natural looking as a garden on a roof can look because it almost looks unkempt. The vegetation used on the roof garden was carefully chosen because the roots could only be so deep since the depth of soil could not exceed a certain limit that would cause too much stress on the building’s structure. The plants that were chosen were also chosen because they’re a native species. Nearly sixty different species are present on the roof garden. The main purpose of the garden is to reuse water. When it rains the rainwater seeps down into the soil. The water goes through the soil and into a drain essentially. The water then is piped up to the water tower on the roof also known as the L ball. Once in the L ball the water is carried by gravity to a containing system in the basement where the water is then pumped into the plumbing and used for the toilets and flushing them.