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Green Roof

18 Spectacular Living Roofs in Detail

12:30 - 28 August, 2018

In Le Corbusier's 5 points of architecture, he advocates the inclusion of flat roofs hosting roof gardens, providing valuable outdoor space for the inhabitants of the building in order to replace the ground lost to the construction of the building. But while this acknowledgement of outdoor space was important for people, Le Corbusier's sculptural concrete roof gardens were little consolation to the non-human flora and fauna that were displaced by his works.

Recent improvements in our understanding of ecosystems and the environment, as well as a better scientific understanding of the needs of plants, have changed this dramatically. In the past few decades, green roofs and living roofs have exploded in popularity, and now adorn every kind of building--from small private houses to the gigantic surface of Barclay's Center in Brooklyn.

We've collected together some excellent examples of these living roofs, including the structural detailing that makes them possible. Read on for 17 spectacular green roofs that achieve environmental benefits including reduced stormwater runoff, and reductions in energy use and the heat island effect.

© Pedro Lobo © Hiroyuki Oki © Luis Alonso © Cortesía de Alarcón + Asociados + 45

Facebook Set to Occupy London Offices in King's Cross by AHMM and Bennetts Associates

14:00 - 23 July, 2018
Facebook Set to Occupy London Offices in King's Cross by AHMM and Bennetts Associates, "P2" is currently undergoing planning persmission. Image © Bennetts Associates via Kings' Cross
"P2" is currently undergoing planning persmission. Image © Bennetts Associates via Kings' Cross

Facebook is moving into new offices in London’s King’s Cross. The announcement from King’s Cross details the social media giant’s commitment to take over 600,000 square feet (55,000 square meters) of office space across three buildings, namely 11 and 21 Canal Reach by Bennetts Associates, and P2 by Allford Hall Monaghan Morris.

The July 23rd deal between Facebook and King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership (KCCLP) represents one of the most significant such commitments in London in the last decade, encompassing around 15% of King’s Cross’ 4-million-square-foot (370,000 square meters) commercial portfolio.

C.F. Møller's Green-Centric Proposal Wins Competition for New Train Station in Hamburg

14:00 - 15 July, 2018
C.F. Møller's Green-Centric Proposal Wins Competition for New Train Station in Hamburg, Courtesy of C.F. Møller Architects
Courtesy of C.F. Møller Architects

Acting both as a “visionary landmark and an urban catalyst,” C.F. Møller Architects’ proposal for a new train station development in Altona, Hamburg, emphasizes the significance of green space within the city’s urban fabric. The project will have several uses, ranging from cafes, restaurants, and shops to offices and fitness centers. Its unique undulating roof landscape “embodies a collective and progressive vision of reinforcing Hamburg’s green credentials.”

Courtesy of C.F. Møller Architects Courtesy of C.F. Møller Architects Courtesy of C.F. Møller Architects Courtesy of C.F. Møller Architects + 6

Foster + Partners Reveal Proposal for Refurbished Axis of Madrid

12:00 - 20 June, 2018
Foster + Partners Reveal Proposal for Refurbished Axis of Madrid, Courtesy of Foster + Partners
Courtesy of Foster + Partners

Foster + Partners has released details of their proposed comprehensive refurbishment of the Plaza Colón building in Madrid. Located at a historically significant site in Madrid, the scheme will see the transformation and revitalization of the existing structure to “create a new iconic landmark.”

Located at the junction of Madrid’s main north-south and east-west arteries, the building occupies one of the most important intersections in Madrid and forms a key part of the city’s long-term urban vision. The building also faces the bustling Plaza de Colón, one of the largest public spaces in Madrid, while linking three distinct districts containing luxury shopping, finance, art, and historic tradition.

WOHA's First Office Skyscraper in China Tops Out in Shenzhen

12:00 - 13 June, 2018
Courtesy of WOHA
Courtesy of WOHA

WOHA has released an update of their first office skyscraper for China, as their Vanke Yun City scheme tops out in Shenzhen. Manifesting as three tower blocks attached to a central T-shaped core, the scheme seeks to present “an alternative office tower typology that responds to the sub-tropical climate in Shenzhen.”

Set against the backdrop of ubiquitous post-modernist skyscrapers, the 1.6 million-square-foot (150,000 square-meter) scheme aims to “radically transform the soulless skyscraper into a highly liveable, humane, and sustainable micro-vertical city.”

Courtesy of WOHA Courtesy of WOHA Courtesy of WOHA Courtesy of WOHA + 17

3XN and GERNER GERNER PLUS Reveal Competition Design for Undulating Aquarium in Vienna

12:00 - 23 April, 2018
3XN and GERNER GERNER PLUS Reveal Competition Design for Undulating Aquarium in Vienna , Courtesy of 3XN
Courtesy of 3XN

3XN and GERNER GERNER PLUS have released details of their competition entry for the design of a new aquarium in Schönbrunn Zoo, Vienna. Developed in collaboration with aquarium specialists ATT, “Poseidon’s Realm” was designed to be “elegant, simple and mysterious, lying across the landscape like a great veil.” The scheme was awarded second place in an international competition for the aquarium’s design, with the winner yet to be announced.

The “Poseidon’s Realm” scheme is defined by a spacious green roof landscape embedded in the zoo’s path network. The aquarium covers a total area of 65,000 square feet (6,000 square meters), divided across four levels, with a large, glazed, wave-shaped entrance enticing visitors to transition between outdoor greenery and a “softly undulating waterworld.”

Courtesy of 3XN Courtesy of 3XN Courtesy of 3XN Courtesy of 3XN + 7

Riken Yamamoto's "Hill" Wins Competition for Taiwan Art Museum

14:00 - 19 March, 2018
Riken Yamamoto's "Hill" Wins Competition for Taiwan Art Museum, Courtesy of Riken Yamamoto & Field Shop
Courtesy of Riken Yamamoto & Field Shop

Riken Yamamoto & Field Shop has released images of the proposed Taoyuan Museum of Art in Taiwan, having won an international competition for the scheme’s design in 2018. Acting as a symbolic gateway to the heart of the city, the architect’s vision was for a hub where every visit leads to new discoveries and experiences.

Named “The Hill,” the competition-winning scheme is defined by a sloping green roof, hosting artwork, pavilions, trees, and an outdoor theater. Beneath the roof, a structure named “The Cube” contains permanent exhibitions and collections, and establishes a link between the museum and Blue Pond Park beyond.

Courtesy of Riken Yamamoto & Field Shop Courtesy of Riken Yamamoto & Field Shop Courtesy of Riken Yamamoto & Field Shop Courtesy of Riken Yamamoto & Field Shop + 7

Perkins+Will is Creating a Whole New World for the Suzhou Science & Technology Museum

06:00 - 19 January, 2018
Courtesy of Perkins+Will
Courtesy of Perkins+Will

Perkins+Will is creating a whole new world 62 miles northwest of Shanghai for the Suzhou Science & Technology Museum. Inspired by shan sui, the Chinese phrase for "mountain-water,” the complex lies at the foot of Lion Mountain and adjacent to Shishan Lake. The 600,000 square foot museum will be the focal point of a new cultural neighborhood in Shishan Park.

COBE Designs New Visitor Center And LERVIG Brewery For Stavanger

14:00 - 24 December, 2017
COBE Designs New Visitor Center And LERVIG Brewery For Stavanger, Courtesy of COBE
Courtesy of COBE

Soon the people of Stavanger, Norway will get to see the LERVIG beer brewing process at the new 11,000 square meter visitor center and brewery designed by Danish architects COBE. An iconic focal point on what was once an industrial pier, the building will offer many new amenities to central Stavanger. The brewery will be encircled by public spaces such as a harbour bath and Norway’s first west-coast ‘street-food’ market, complete with a green roof above. From these periphery spaces, guests will be able to view the brew tanks and fermentation process happening in the heart of the building.

Australia's Sunshine Coast Plans for New $900 Million Mixed-Use Development

14:00 - 25 November, 2017
Australia's Sunshine Coast Plans for New $900 Million Mixed-Use Development, Courtesy of Sekisui House
Courtesy of Sekisui House

The Sunshine Coast of Australia’s Yaroomba Beach is about to get a $900 million upgrade. The integrated, mixed-use development will be the first 5-star resort developed on the Sunshine Coast in 30 years. HASSELL has been awarded the work as master planners, architects, and landscape architects for the massive project, focusing on sustainable and ecological goals to ‘touch the ground lightly.'

Courtesy of Sekisui House Courtesy of Sekisui House Courtesy of Sekisui House Courtesy of Sekisui House + 6

Vincent Callebaut Imagines Hyperbolic Shaped Forest Suspended Over River in Seoul

16:00 - 17 June, 2017

Vincent Callebaut Architectures have developed a design plan reimagining the riverbank of Yeouhido Park, Seoul. The park is envisioned as an experimental urban space dedicated to sustainable development through a series of interventions - including a floating ferry terminal. Named the “Manta Ray,” the ambition of the proposal is to transform the park into an ecological forest of trees, enhancing its natural irrigation and strengthening the banks from floods. The “permeable landscaping” seeks to reduce floods and rehabilitate urban ecosystems that have become fragmented through Seoul’s rapid built expansion. The vegetation-dominated strategy also seeks to reduce the urban “heat island” effect Seoul has been experiencing due to climate change over the past decades.

© Vincent Callebaut Architectures © Vincent Callebaut Architectures © Vincent Callebaut Architectures © Vincent Callebaut Architectures + 32

From War Relic to Mixed-Use: Plans to Build a “Green Mountain” Atop a Bunker in Hamburg

06:00 - 25 May, 2017
From War Relic to Mixed-Use: Plans to Build a “Green Mountain” Atop a Bunker in Hamburg, Courtesy of Hilldegarden.org
Courtesy of Hilldegarden.org

A team of local residents and architects in Hamburg’s neighborhood of St. Pauli have been granted planning permission for a proposal to repurpose a war bunker dating back from the 1940s. Coined Hilldegarden, the proposal seeks to create a “green mountain” garden atop the disused roof of the bunker along with a range of mixed-use projects that increase its height by several stories. “We are rebuilding what we inherit.” The project’s initiative states, “Adding something to history while dealing with it and thereby reshaping history itself.”

via PLANUNGSBÜRO BUNKER via PLANUNGSBÜRO BUNKER Courtesy of Hilldegarden.org Courtesy of Hilldegarden.org + 19

Hanging Gardens of Babylon-Inspired Residential Units Proposed for Birmingham

06:00 - 12 April, 2017
Hanging Gardens of Babylon-Inspired Residential Units Proposed for Birmingham, Courtesy of Architects of Invention
Courtesy of Architects of Invention

A new housing complex in the form of 500 terraced units has been proposed by London practice Architects of Invention for the city of Birmingham, in response to its growing multicultural population. Drawing inspiration from the ancient Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Garden Hill’s formal composition is that of two staggered 25-storey towers, with private and communal gardens on each level of terraces.

With the project's swooping mass, the residences aim to offer panoramic views of Birmingham, given its central location in the Digbeth area, a 10-minute walk from the city center. Additionally, the staggered towers capture ample daylighting over the course of the day, with the south end benefitting from the morning sun and the north end in the evening.

Courtesy of Architects of Invention Courtesy of Architects of Invention Courtesy of Architects of Invention Courtesy of Architects of Invention + 22

WE Architecture’s Winning Proposal Combines Green Space with Social Housing in Aarhus

08:00 - 25 February, 2017
WE Architecture’s Winning Proposal Combines Green Space with Social Housing in Aarhus, © WE Architecture
© WE Architecture

A competition for a new social housing complex in Aarhus, Denmark, has been won by WE Architecture, in collaboration with local practice JWH Arkitekter and commissioned by Ringgaarden, a Danish housing organization.

Titled “Saltholmsgade”, the winning proposal is a reinterpretation of Aarhus’ historical housing typologies along Hjortensgade, creating modern and green communal spaces. The complex consists of 38 individual apartments, offering tenants views of the city through the inclusion of rooftop gardens.

© WE Architecture © WE Architecture © WE Architecture © WE Architecture + 14

James Corner Field Operations Highlights New York's Skyline with Rooftop Garden

08:00 - 17 February, 2016
James Corner Field Operations Highlights New York's Skyline with Rooftop Garden, © Matthew Williams, Courtesy of Two Trees Management Company
© Matthew Williams, Courtesy of Two Trees Management Company

James Corner Field Operations has completed a nearly 6,000 square foot rooftop garden located in the heart of the DUMBO neighborhood in Brooklyn. The garden is located on top of a seventeen-story apartment complex designed by Leeser Architecture and developed by Two Trees Management. The Dock Street Rooftop Terrace allows residents to view the panoramic scenery of the Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, East River, and Manhattan Skyline.

Sasaki’s "Forest City" Master Plan in Iskandar Malaysia Stretches Across 4 Islands

06:00 - 2 February, 2016
Sasaki’s "Forest City" Master Plan in Iskandar Malaysia Stretches Across 4 Islands, Rendered VIew. Image Courtesy of Sasaki Associates
Rendered VIew. Image Courtesy of Sasaki Associates

Located on four man-made islands in Iskandar Malaysia, “Forest City” is set to be South-East Asia’s largest, mixed use green development. Designed by Sasaki Associates, the master plan has an estimated investment of S$58.3 billion (US$40.9 billion) and is expected to bring around 220,000 jobs to the area. Located near the economic centers of Southeast Asia, the new Forest City is ideally placed to become a hub of commerce and culture. Designed to encourage live/work culture, it is composed of “financial institutions, high-tech research and development facilities, headquarter offices, and a variety of creative industries that establish an innovative and sustainable employment base for the region,” write the architects. Read more after the break.

Rendered VIew. Image Courtesy of Sasaki Associates Rendered VIew. Image Courtesy of Sasaki Associates Aerial Rendered View. Image Courtesy of Sasaki Associates Rendered VIew. Image Courtesy of Sasaki Associates + 23

Rafael Viñoly to Add World's Largest Green Roof to Former Shopping Mall in California

16:15 - 10 September, 2015
Rafael Viñoly to Add World's Largest Green Roof to Former Shopping Mall in California, © The Hills at Vallco
© The Hills at Vallco

Rafael Viñoly and OLIN have unveiled plans to transform Cupertino's Vallco Shopping Mall into a new mixed-use neighborhood that boasts the "world's largest green roof." The current plans call for a 15-block sustainable town center with 625,000-square-feet of retail, two-million-square-feet of office space and 800 residential units. All this, if approved, would be topped by a 30 acre public green space with a 3.8 mile trail network that runs through orchards, vineyards, an amphitheater and play areas.

Through the Lens: The Social Implications of Green Roofs in Film

00:00 - 14 January, 2015
Through the Lens: The Social Implications of Green Roofs in Film, "Hobbiton," the home of the virtuous Hobbits. Image © www.bonvoyadventuretravel.com
"Hobbiton," the home of the virtuous Hobbits. Image © www.bonvoyadventuretravel.com

Film often makes a mockery of architectural features. Glass facades are obliterated by gunfire, grisly murders are set against a white modernist palette, deconstructed stairs are the cause of nasty accidents or ludicrous slapstick, and you just know a tensile fabric roof will be shredded by the time 007 is finished with it.

There is one architectural feature however that has benefited from very complimentary treatment by the film industry, and surprisingly it is a sustainable one. Green roofs and other “architectural” green spaces have been popping up regularly in mainstream movies over the past decade: blockbusters including The Vow (2012) and Source Code (2011) utilized the greenscape outside Gehry's Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park; last year the Vancouver Convention Centre was featured in both Godzilla and Robocop; and Kaspar Schroder’s 2009 uber cool documentary My Playground, about the sport of parkour (the art of bouncing off buildings made famous by the opening scenes of Casino Royale), features BIG’s Mountain Dwellings in Copenhagen. And we cannot forget two of the biggest film franchises in history: both of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit franchises feature green roofs in their portrayal of Hobbiton – home of the virtuous and incorruptible Hobbits.