The Landscaped Podium
As part of a building’s exterior element, landscaped podiums or waterproofed plaza decks provide an aesthetically pleasing common space for the enjoyment of their users. In addition to providing much needed green spaces on concrete structures, podiums that incorporate large softscape areas aid in the building’s water management strategy by retaining and slowly releasing storm water during a heavy rain event.
These landscaped podiums are becoming more common as housing density intensifies in urban and sub-urban communities and the desire of these communities to grow or maintain these green spaces increases. These podiums incorporate natural elements such as grass, shrubs and mature trees as well as designed elements such as playgrounds, water features, and suspended parking surfaces or drive aisles. These podiums are also becoming more and more elaborate often including difficult-to-access spaces covered with heavy and complex landscaping elements.
The replacement of the waterproofing systems for podiums is a burden too often passed on to the building owners. With this in mind, their design should include deliberate considerations for a durable waterproofed podium system. Their design should also include appropriate ground and surface water management strategies, proper tie-ins with building structure and envelope systems, adequate selection of landscaping and overburden and access provisions for maintenance and future replacement.