We are currently in Beta version and updating this search on a regular basis. We’d love to hear your feedback here.

  1. ArchDaily
  2. Green Roof

Green Roof: The Latest Architecture and News

Can Green Roofs Make Our Cities Better?

Researchers credit the Hanging Gardens of Babylon as the first examples of green roofs. Although there is no proof of its exact location and very little literature on the structure, the most accepted theory is that King Nebuchadnezzar II built a series of elevated, ascending terraces with varied species as a gift to his wife, who missed the forests and mountains of Persia, their local land. According to Wolf Schneider [1] the gardens were supported by brick vaults, and under them, there were shaded halls cooled by artificial irrigation of the gardens, with a much milder temperature than the outside, in the plains of Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq). Since then, examples of green roofs have appeared all over the world, from Rome to Scandinavia, in the most diverse climates and types.

Nevertheless, inserting plants on roofs is still viewed with suspicion by many, as they are thought to be costly and difficult to maintain. Others, however, argue that the high implementation costs are quickly offset with savings in air conditioning and especially that occupying the building's fifth façade with vegetation is, above all, a rational solution. In any case, the question remains as to how green roofs can really help with climate change.

MVRDV Reveals Design for Terraced Office Building in Shanghai

MVRDV has unveiled the design of a terraced office building created for the agriculture company Lankuaikei. Set within a rapidly developing area of Shanghai, the 11-storey structure covered by a curved technological roof that follows the stepping structure is conceived as an agricultural oasis that showcases the company's vision of food production. With an extensive sustainability agenda, the project encompasses various strategies, from the extensive use of greenery, renewable energy to low-carbon materials, addressed both with high tech and low tech solutions.

Courtesy of MVRDVCourtesy of MVRDVCourtesy of MVRDVCourtesy of MVRDV+ 9

A New Layer of Public Space: The Case for Activating Urban Rooftops

In increasingly denser urban environments, there is a new-found interest in underused spaces as opportunities for further development. Representing up to 25% of cities' land area, rooftops are among the most exciting spatial resources. From sustainable infrastructure and urban farming to social spaces and cultural venues, the article looks into the potential of creating a multi-layered city through the activation of urban rooftops.

CopenHill by BIG. Image © Hufton+CrowGreen Cloud by ZHUBO-AAO. Image © John SiuRodeph Sholom School Playdecks by Murphy Burnham & Buttrick Architects. Image © Francis DzikowskiYOU+International Youth Community Shenzhen by officePROJECT. Image © Chao Zhang+ 10

Seaweed as Cladding: Combining Old Traditions With New Tech

Traditional Eelgrass Roof. Image © Kathryn LarsenThe Seaweed Pavilion. Image © Kelley HudsonEelgrass Roof. Image © Kathryn LarsenThe Seaweed Pavilion. Image © Kelley Hudson+ 19

Inspired by vernacular architecture, Kathryn Larsen is a bio-based designer working with seaweed. Throughout her career, she has been doing an intensive investigation into eel-grass, a material that has been used for centuries around the world. Larsen wants to apply all the benefits of this material (rot resistance, fire resistance, non-toxic, insulation characteristics comparable to mineral wool, and its ability to create carbon negative buildings) into prefabrication development and other technologies that enable the creation of new cladding and other elements, such as insulation batt and acoustic panels.

During the latest Design Indaba Festival, we had the chance to interview Kathryn. Read the interview and learn more about her work below.

How to Incorporate Gardens in Home Design

Courtesy of TAA DESIGN© BK© Rafael GamoHydroponic gardening. Image © Needpix user naidokdin+ 42

Indoor gardens can contribute important benefits to home living, ranging from aesthetic beauty to improved health and productivity. Research has shown that indoor plants help eliminate indoor air pollutants called Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that emanate from adhesives, furnishings, clothing, and solvents, and are known to cause illnesses. They also increase subjective perceptions of concentration and satisfaction, as well as objective measures of productivity. Indoor gardens may even reduce energy use and costs because of the reduced need for air circulation. These benefits complement the obvious aesthetic advantages of a well-designed garden, making the indoor garden an attractive residential feature on several fronts.

What Materials Keep Buildings Cool?

Air-conditioning isn’t just expensive; it’s also terrible for the environment. Accounting for 10% of global energy consumption today, space cooling in 2016 alone was responsible for 1045 metric tons of CO2 emissions. This number is only expected to increase, with the International Energy Agency estimating that cooling will reach 37% of the world’s total energy demand by 2050.

Renzo Piano's California Academy of Sciences. Image © Tim GriffithA-cero's Concrete House II. Image © Luis H. SegoviaAmbrosi I Etchegaray's Spa Querétaro is a contemporary example of a centralized water feature and courtyard. Image © Luis GordoaCooper Scaife Architects' Leura Lane, which features a reflective and lightly-colored skillion roof designed for summer shade. Image © John Wilson+ 10

Roof Waterproofing with Water: A Solution by ‘Brasil Arquitetura’

During the modern period, the buildings that used the traditional sloping roofs with tiles, draining the waters as quickly as possible, have begun to give way to the well-known 'waterproof flat roofs.' In spite of delivering a clean aesthetic to the project, allowing the use of the last slab as a space for living and contemplation, this solution can become a headache for its occupants if its execution and design are not careful. It is no accident that there have been infiltrations in famous modern buildings, such as the Vile Savoye or the Farnsworth House, designed by great masters of architecture. Currently, the civil construction industry has developed more sophisticated products and techniques that drastically reduce the chances of subsequent infiltration. However, we could say that waterproof flat slabs continue to be fragile points in buildings. The architects from Brasil Arquitetura have improved an inventive and very simple solution to avoid infiltrations in flat slabs, much used in the 70's by architects like Paulo Mendes da Rocha and Ruy Ohtake, filling them with vegetation.

Construction of MVRDV's Landscaped Food Market Begins in Taiwan

MVRDV has broken ground on a wholesale market for fruit and vegetables in Tainan, Taiwan. Defined by a terraced, accessible green roof, the open-air market will serve as both an important hub in Taiwan’s supply chain, and a destination for meeting, socializing, and taking in views of the surrounding landscape.

Named the “Tainan Xinhua Fruit and Vegetable Market,” the MVRDV scheme transforms an often-prosaic aspect of the food industry into a public experience of food and nature. Located in a strategic position between the city and mountains, with good public transport links, the scheme sits at a convenient node for traders, buyers, and visitors.

The design comprises a simple open structure with high undulating ceilings that allow for natural ventilation. Image © MVRDVThe design compliments the surrounding environment. Image © MVRDVThe open-air market will also be an important social hub. Image © MVRDVThe Tainan Xinhua Fruit and Vegetable Market elevates a prosaic part of the supply chain into a place for the public to experience food . Image © MVRDV+ 4

18 Spectacular Living Roofs in Detail

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+ 47

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

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

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

Foster + Partners Reveal Proposal for Refurbished Axis of Madrid

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

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 WOHACourtesy of WOHACourtesy of WOHACourtesy of WOHA+ 17

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

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 3XNCourtesy of 3XNCourtesy of 3XNCourtesy of 3XN+ 7

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

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

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

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.