Target Center Green Roof

Minneapolis, Minnesota, for Minneapolis Department of Community Planning & Economic Development (CPED)


Photo Credit 2009, Bergerson Photography

When Minneapolis’ Target Center Arena needed a new roof, The Kestrel Design Group provided its green roof expertise to create a quantitative and qualitative cost benefit analysis that enabled the City of Minneapolis to decide with confidence that replacing the conventional roof on the Target Center with a green roof was the most cost effective decision over the lifespan of the Target Center building. Subsequently, The Kestrel Design Group also provided design services for the green roof. At 113,000 s.f., the Target Center Arena green roof – the fifth largest extensive green roof and the first green roof installed on an arena in North America – mitigates the urban heat island effect, greens views from above, provides wildlife habitat and improves urban air quality on a scale that is not feasible at grade in an urban area like downtown Minneapolis.


Image by Nathalie Shanstrom

It also mitigates stormwater runoff from a significant amount of impervious surface in a downtown location where space does not permit use of other Low Impact Development Techniques for stormwater management at grade. Such positive impacts on local water bodies are valuable in a City that prides itself on its legendary waterbodies: The City of Lakes in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.


Image by Nathalie Shanstrom


+ Life Cycle Cost Benefit Analysis

+ Green Roof Design and Construction Documents

+ Construction Observation


Architect of Record: Leo A Daly

Green Roof Design: The Kestrel Design Group

Roofing Consultant: Inspec

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Silver Lake Shoreline Restoration

Rochester, Minnesota, for the City of Rochester


Image by Sarah Sutherland

Silver Lake is located on the edge of downtown Rochester and was overwhelmed with poor water quality from heavy use, urban stormwater runoff , and waste from a large goose population remaining on the lake year-round due to open water conditions.


Image by Sarah Sutherland

The Kestrel Design Group used native plant communities as a model for the restoration of shoreline areas around Silver Lake. Aquatic and terrestrial vegetation was re-established in the floating, emergent, wet prairie/sedge meadow, and mesic upland prairie plant community zones along the shoreline. Groves of bush on bush, black chokeberry, highbush cranberry, and dogwood with native grasses and rushes were planted along pedestrian trails for aesthetic and habitat improvements.

Wetlands were created around the lake’s perimeter to filter and clean stormwater runoff before it enters the lake.  Project goals included; decreasing erosion, improving water quality, increasing habitat for desirable species, decreasing nuisance wildlife numbers, and creating colorful and dynamic aesthetics to enhance a regional identity.

Image by Sarah Sutherland



+ Wildlife Habitat Enhancement

+ Natural Areas Restoration

Project Engineer: Wenck Associates

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Minneapolis Central Library Green Roof

Minneapolis, Minnesota, for the City of Minneapolis


Image by Rick Grabovsky from AMBE, 2006

The conceptual design for the Minneapolis Central Library’s green roof weaves together local cultural and natural patterns. The concept emphasizes the influence of the Mississippi River on Minneapolis’ street grid and the library building design, as the river bend on which the street grids and library building are based is reflected in the green roof pattern of waves. The Mississippi River is emulated by waves created across plant palettes of varying, undulating heights, with 20-30 species in each palette. Wave patterns change seasonally as different waves are more apparent at different times of the year when prominent species are in bloom. Additionally, a seasonal wave movement is also superimposed on 3D wave patterns by a purple/pink burst of color that moves from west to east from spring to fall in accordance with the flow of the Mississippi River.


Image by Nathalie Shanstrom

The planting design also complements the frit patterns and geometry of the library windows. The metaphorical connection of the green roof design to the Mississippi River highlights the positive impact of the green roof as it mitigates the effect of storm water runoff from the roof on the Mississippi River. Further minimizing negative effects of roof runoff on downstream water bodies, the Central Library Green Roof is equipped with a cutting edge irrigation system that utilizes a 7,500 gallon capacity cistern system to collect, store, and distribute rainwater for use by the plants.


Image by Nathalie Shanstrom


2007 Merit Award – Minnesota Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (MASLA)


+ Green Roof Design

+ Stormwater Management

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Luther College Sustainable Master Plan

Luther04Decorah, Iowa, for Luther College

The Kestrel Design Group, Inc. worked with Luther College to create a sustainable Master Plan which reflects the College’s rich cultural and natural history. Luther College is nestled in a scenic river valley on the outskirts of Decorah, a small town of 8,500 in the bluff country of northeastern Iowa. Since the founding of the College in 1861, Luther College has seen much growth and change. In 1909, Jens Jensen, a formative landscape architect in the prairie school of design, was brought to Luther College to restore the oak savanna and meadow, typical of the Upper Iowa River Valley. The Kestrel Design Group created a plan to extend the philosophy of Jens Jensen on all campus lands and trails, restoring native plant communities and enhancing campus connections to the land.


Project Goals

• Improve Signage and Circulation

• Create Space for Campus Life

• Reorganize and Prioritize Parking

• Establish a Sustainable and Aesthetic Landscape

• Honor the Historic Campus

• Organize Campus for Present and Future Use



+ Sustainable Master Planning

+ Trails, Parks & Open Space Planning

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Discovery Gardens – University of Minnesota

CFANS-02-260Rosemount, Minnesota, for University of Minnesota, College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS)

The University of Minnesota Rosemount Research and Outreach Center (RROC) is embarking on the design and development of a new teaching, research and outreach garden to be known as the CFANS Discovery Gardens.

The Discovery Gardens will be a destination where visitors are engaged in horticulture education that fosters a “Come-Discover-Adopt” philosophy about horticulture in Minnesota: historical aspects of the land, healthy food, and sustainable and environmentally responsible horticultural practices for Minnesota landscapes and gardens. It will also serve as a setting for volunteer Master Gardeners to hold educational tours, workshops, and other gardening/landscape programs.  these will help to foster an increase in public knowledge of horticultural plants and practices applicable to their own properties.

After a public RFP process in 2013, the Kestrel Design Group (Kestrel) was retained to help develop an overall concept design for the Discovery Gardens. Kestrel proceeded to work with the RROC Garden Program Director and the Design Selection Committee (DSC) to ensure the concept would exemplify the vision and goals of the RROC and other stakeholders.

Kestrel developed one detailed concept plan for the Discovery Gardens – combining landscape architectural principles, detailed site analysis, precedent studies, and overall project goals.

This design for the Discovery Gardens provides the framework for CFANS and RROC to develop specific learning experiences for individual garden spaces. The garden landscape and natural areas of the Discovery Gardens will focus on three key themes that will recur throughout the site: LEARNING & TEACHING, SUSTAINABILITY, and FOOD & HEALTH.

Significant connections and collaboration at the gardens will be encouraged with CFANS programs, staff and faculty, U of MN Extension programs, staff, faculty and volunteers, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and Dakota County.


Graphic by John Koepke

CFANS has since retained Kestrel to continue with the project design and detailing through costing and continuation into Design Development.


+ Project Visioning & Facilitation

+ Sustainable Master Planning

+ Trails, Parks & Open Space Planning


“The Kestrel Design Group has provided exceptional leadership and design skill in helping bring to life a vision…Their ease of accessibility and enthusiastic willingness to discuss and review project issues and ideas throughout the design process has been most appreciated.”
Bob Mugaas, Horticulturist and Garden Program Director, U of MN Rosemount Research and Outreach Center
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