Cuartel de Ballajá Green Roof

Built by the Spanish army in 1856, occupied by the US Army after the military occupation of Puerto Rico in 1898, and bought by the State in 1976, the Cuartel de Ballajá, or Ballajá Barracks, has housed many uses throughout its history. Most remember it as a ruin and informal parking lot in a derelict part of the colonial city. Then from 2009-2011, the State Historic Preservation Office, now custodians of the building, undertook a major restoration effort. 

This was the first, and still only, institution in a historic building, with an energy and sustainability retrofit that includes a 25,000 square foot green roof. 

In 2017, when Hurricanes Irma and María decimated the Puerto Rican Archipelago, this roof, was partially destroyed. The landscape architect, rehired to redesign the green roof, incorporated lessons learned from the original project, added additional sustainability and resilience criteria, and created a renewed space that has become a city landmark.

Design was completed in 2009 and built in 2011, and redesign in 2018 and built in 2021.


San Juan, PR





Key team members

Edmundo R. Colón, ASLA AIA – Principal in Charge


WTI, INC - Contractor PR Green Design – Sub-Contractor (2010)


2024 ASLA Florida – Award of Excellence 2024 ASLA Florida – Frederic B. Stresau Award