If you’ve seen our Other Uses for Product Samples video series, then you know all about how we’ve found ways products can be used for things other than their intended purpose. (Those of you who have children likely have seen firsthand how simple household items have been “repurposed.”) But using a product for something other than its intended purpose doesn’t always end with ceramic tiles as a xylophone, stuffed monkeys dancing with vampire dolls, or walls as an artist’s canvass. Creative thinking and a little ingenuity with a product can become a dynamic element on a project.


Image courtesy of American Hydrotech

While you might know the Barclay’s Center Plaza at Atlantic Yards as a newly opened sports and entertainment arena in Brooklyn, you might not know that it’s sporting a vegetative roof—at ground level.

Originally designed by SHoP Architects and the sport facility practice at Ellerbe Becket, the arena was constructed above the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) new Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center subway station. Since the MTA likes to make its systems conveniently accessible to stadium-goers, there’s an entrance. Pretty standard, right? But when you think of a subway entrance, what comes to mind? Metal railings surrounded by concrete with ads slapped up all around? Well, those things still exist at Barclays Center Plaza because they have to be functional, meet code and bring in some extra cash. However, average passersby see none of that. They instead see an island of greenery amidst the concrete, steel and glass of the urban jungle.

American Hydrotech technology successfully helped bring the architects’ plans to life, transforming the subway transit entrance into an innovative and visually appealing green space for residents and patrons of the center to enjoy. The project features custom InstaGreen Sedum Tile vegetation installed over Hydrotech’s GardNet technology to accommodate the steep slope of the dramatically shaped transit entrance tunneled roof. 

“We were excited about the opportunity to transform such a tight, triangular space into a beautiful piece of greenery for local residents,” says Adam Kraujales of American Hydrotech.  “In today’s metropolitan areas, developers should take advantage of any opportunity to provide an aesthetic and environmental benefit, whether it be a green roof or vegetation atop subway station tunnel entrances.”

The design of the Barclays Center has been described as achieving a striking balance between iconic form and performative engagement with the street. But only one word is needed to describe the use of a vegetative roof system to add green space at ground level: creative.


American Hydrotech helps transform the subway transit entrance outside Barclay’s Center Plaza into an innovative green space.