17 Living Roofs: the High Tech Green Future of Architecture

We’ve always thought we had roofs covered. They had to be barren, hostile places the rain and the wildlife slid from before they could do any damage. Nature had no place on our roofs. Except…we couldn’t have been more wrong. A green roof may required a little extra engineering behind the scenes, but it’s far better than its non-living counterparts for regulating house temperature, filtering out pollutants, scrubbing the surrounding air, controlling stormwater run-off, absorbing sound and many more factors that impact our quality of life. A green roof is a healthy roof.

Green design is an enormously popular trend in modern architecture. Take a look at these 17 examples – some in place today, and others still on the drawing board. We may have got it wrong in the past, but we’re certainly making up for lost time…

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ACROS Fukuoka, in Fukuoka City, Japan. 35,000 plants, 76 species – and the city’s best view from an office window.

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Art and Exhibition Hall roof garden – Bonn, Germany.

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Chicago City Hall – the coolest place to be, thanks to this $2.5 million rooftop garden (not open to the public – the 11-storey drop might have something to do with this).

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California’s Academy of Sciences (SF) is covered in rolling hills – the perfect place for students to grab their lunch in the sun.

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Looking like the ultimate vegan pizza, the Pennsylvania State University’s Center for Green Roof Research is a department that practices what it preaches.

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Marriott Hotel, Victoria, BA. Keeping an underground car park cool in the summer, toasty-warm in the winter.

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The forwarding link isn’t working, but this rooftop garden (wherever it is) found on This Girl’s Gone Green is an extraordinary achievement – it grows crops!

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This design by architect Hoerr Shaudt graces the roof of 900 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago. A haven of natural tranquility, 10 floors up.

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After a long, hard day in the School of Art Design and Media at Nanyang Technological University (Singapore), what more cathartic way to unwind than to walk all over it?

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This idyllic spot may look terrestrial, but it’s a thing of the air, roofing Toronto’s Mountain Equipment Coop.

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The Waldspirale in Darmstadt, Germany, is all about being unique. It doesn’t look like any building you’ve ever seen. Every one of its 1,000+ windows is different – ditto for all the doorhandles. And running along spiraling rooftop is a tree-lined garden (the wald or “wood” in its name).

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Turfed roof near Gol, Norway. In days past, this sight would be grounds to condemn your neighbors as the laziest people on the planet. Now they’re obviously the cleverest (although we’re a little worried about that bowing roof).

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Vancouver Public Library, Canada. Beautiful, useful, and definitely out of bounds – note the lack of protective barrier around the edge.

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And now to more speculative matters. This proposed village for Heden, a sleepy cityblock in Sweden’s  Gothenburg, has more than a touch of Hobbiton about it…

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…as does this proposal by designer Friedenreich Hundertwasser.

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Should green roofs be built to be scaled on foot? The designers of this proposal for the 2007 Fit City 2 conference in New York certainly think so – and there’s a good reason for thinking they’re right.

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And finally – this example looks as speculative as they come. But it’s reality: the blueprint for the Vancouver Convention Center, currently expanding rapidly in time to host the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. The 6-acre living roof will house a whopping 400,000 varieties of native plant life – Inhabitat has a closer look here.

More information: Green Roofs (what else?)

Images: hans s / metaefficient / Deutsche Telekom / NREL / California Academy of Sciences / Inhabitat / Treehugger / pnwra / food2gro / trendir / Nanyang Technological University / sookie / Hundertwasser / IGPOTY / Terri Meyer Boake / Kjellengren Kaminsky Architecture / Ecogeek / Archidose / Inhabitat.

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DISCUSSION

20 thoughts on “17 Living Roofs: the High Tech Green Future of Architecture

  1. Pingback: 7 Impressive Green Roofs Around the World | Green Building News and Views

  2. wow, imagine every roof as a green living roof.

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  4. The green is a nice contrast to the gray concrete of the buildings. A little fresh air never hurts.

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  6. Hey there….

    Great article.

    This photo (fokuoka_green roof)…. do you happen to have it in high-res or know the photographer?

    All the best,

    Patrick

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  17. Thanks, Rey. :)

    And I agree, Michael. I don’t see why there has to be such a firm line drawn between City and Country….

    A good point to be made is that just putting grass on your roof doesn’t make it truly “green”. (That could encourage greenwashing). It’s just one of many green architectural techniques that requires expertise and know-how to put into place – and it’s only one factor in making your roof as energy-efficient as possible….

    But there’s no denying how gorgeous a living roof looks. :)

  18. I love and support this idea 100%, I think its a great way to incorporate nature into our daily city life!!!!!

 

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