Employees of the Suction+Pressure Blowing Division of the Weiss+Appetito Group in Austria made every child's dream come true at St. Johann in Tirol. One of the roofs of the children's centre is no ordinary structure: it consists of a large butterfly, built from different materials including various substrates, deadwood and many different types of gravel.
This is, quite literally, a butterfly roof. The biodiversity roof bears this name not only because it will be the new home for many different species of insects and plants, but also because a huge butterfly actually spreads its wings out over the surface.
Since March 2020, construction of a new children's centre has been under way on the land known locally as the "Ellbögengründe". The centre will comprise a crèche and pre-school that can accommodate up to 300 children. Last November, the public were invited to suggest names for this new childcare facility. The winner was "KiM" – an abbreviation for "Kids in the Middle". The first sounds of children's laughter should already be heard coming from the building in autumn 2021.
The St. Johann Children's Centre project comprises three roofs. One of them is the biodiversity roof, with an area of 450 m2. The other two roofs cover a total area of 2,800 m2. Both of these were planted with extensive roof greenery using the Bauder system. For this purpose, our team of gardeners used hydraulic hydroseeding to apply sedum shoots and seeds of herbs suitable for roofs.
The biodiversity roof supports the environment, encourages biodiversity and brings the children closer to nature. When the plants were chosen, high priority was given to perpetually flowering species that can offer nutrition to insects throughout the year. The butterfly consists of extensive and intensive substrate, as well as river sand, bank run gravel, pea gravel and wood that the Weiss+Appetito team collected themselves from the Rhine estuary on Lake Constance. Each of the butterfly's lower wings consists of a waterhole that the children can view from a footbridge above the roof: a water hose has also been installed so they can fill the hole themselves.
Familiarising children with nature was an important aspect in the planning and implementation of the project. For this reason, a local apiarist will also set up a bee colony on the roof in spring 2021 to give the children insights into the amazing, unknown world of bees.
Our Tyrol team used the new Hornet 13 to install the three roofs of the children's centre. Willi and Tomas, our two "garden dwarves", carried out the planting work and created the butterfly's wings.