MOER Green roofs: history, classification and naming

This blog has often discussed green roofs and green roof typologies but they always need more consideration: Green roofs c3500BC Turf was the standard roofing material in Neolithic North Europe. You can still see this roofing technique in Norway and Iceland Roof garden c1000BC The most famous elevated garden in history, the Hanging Gardens of […]

Green Roof Typologies

Jorn Utzon called green roofs  ‘the fifth façade’ and there are many ways in which the public can interact with the new  landscapes evolving on roofs in our cities. Green roofs can be public space, private space or ecological space. Fly-over roof (photo courtesy Eyesplash Photography) The Vancouver Convention Centre is a great example of a green roof that is […]

Parliament House Canberra green roof

Seeing Green over new ground cover proposal for Parliament House One way of promoting green roofs and investigating the question of their  accessibility is to look at some of the excellent examples which now exist. Parliament House, Canberra is probably one of the world’s earliest and most successful green roofs. The Parliament House building was […]

London with a green roof

Thank you to Allen & Overy for opening their offices under the Open House scheme – and congratulations to them for having an office with genuinely green credentials. Roof space is used for solar panels, roof gardens or wildlife habitats (brown roofs). As the office brochure remarks ‘One of the best features of Bishops Square […]

Green vegetated roofs in the theory of landscape and architecture

In Germany, vegetated green roofs are often classified as: intensive (ie treated as a garden, typically with exotic plants, irrigation, turf and social use) extensive (ie treated as habitat, without irrigation or maintenance) I prefer to look at green roofs from a more Vitruvian standpoint and consider their roles as: visual space [Delight] ecological space [Firmness] […]

Green Living Walls CPD Seminar Conference in London on 15th April 2014

Living walls are a ‘growing’ trend… Mayor Boris Johnson has a target to increase green cover across central London by 5% by 2030 (2011 London Plan). Urban greening is a key element of the much broader Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, which encourages the use of planting, green roofs and walls and soft landscape. By increasing […]

London can become a Roof Garden City – but it needs imaginative design as well as town planning

Ebenezer Howard proposed garden cities outside London. That’s fine but Central London should adopt the landscape policy of becoming a Roof Garden City. Property developers should be rewarded for providing green roof gardens and punished on those few occasions when they find reasons for not providing roof gardens and sustainable green roofs on new buildings. […]

Roof SkyPark garden-landscape on Marina Bay Sands Hotel in Singapore

Having proposed a Sky Park for the City of London, I was delighted to see a real Skypark on the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. ‘London talks and Singapore acts’. The Marina Bay Sands Hotel has 2,561 rooms and 55 floors. The SkyPark, 200m above ground level, is larger than three football pitches and has an […]

Clean, green and responsive: the future of architecture?

Lumenhaus inspired by Mies Van der Rohe’s Fansworth House is described by Virginia Tech students as responsive architecture. Responsive architecture according to Nicholas Negroponte’s definition is “a class of architecture or building that demonstrates an ability to alter its form, to continually reflect the environmental conditions which surround it.” The aim of Lumenhaus designers was […]

Socrates, chives, tomatoes and biodiversity on my London roof garden

Socrates looks pleased to see that my chives are doing well but misty-eye puzzled that I have let weeds grow when the space could perfectly well be used to grow tomatoes. I tell him that while my wife grows the excellent tomatoes I am contributing to London’s 2010 Sustainable Green Roof Biodiversity Action Programme. See […]

Gardening on the roof, don't pass on the past….

What can the past teach us about gardening in the present? Undoubtably our ancestors were more agriculturally minded and more in tune with the rythmn of nature than we are today. The urban environments in which many of us live are climate modified, we buy our food from the supermarket and we heat and cool our […]

How green is my garage?

Bill Gates is famous not only for revolutionising communications but also for being the proud owner of the largest green roof garage in Seattle. Maserati recently ran a garage design competition…and entries included not only green garages…but an insanely cool garage that is everything about setting and concept (if just a little light on resolution). The winning […]

Turf roof gardens for back to nature sustainable ecohouse living in the twenty-first century

Iceland is the most recently made country and has a great-and-abandonned tradition of turf building. Dwellings were built with stone foundations, birch frames and turf cladding for the roofs and walls. Interiors were probably damp but now that waterproof membranes are available they should go back to to cladding their buildings in turf. It would […]

Looking good being green

Sometimes the most surprising green spaces are those that have been quietly there all along. This is so of the roof top garden on the British Empire Building at the Rockerfeller Centre. It is an example of visual space, a pleasure garden brilliantly contextualised with the surrounding architecture. The heavily geometric topiary subtly reflects the enclosing skyline: quite a challenge […]

Green dreams for social space

The greentainer project by Exposure architects demonstrates the innovative social potential of relatively simple green roof spaces. By importing a modern green house to function as a flexible space for art exhibitions, soirees etc the social use of a roof garden space can be enhanced without detracting from the vibrancy of its outdoor quality. The Residences 900  in […]

green seating

green roofs, green streets, green walls. how about some green seating? this prototype bench incorporates a trellis to allow plants to grow around it. its a little clunky at the moment, but the design and construction are deliberately lo fi, so it makes a good Do It Yourself project. also i imagined it, when overgrown, […]

Roofscapes as citywide landscape architecture

The Dirt (ASLA) blog has a post on “living buildings”. It reviews the idea that in future a building ‘won’t just use less water; it will collect and treat it. It won’t just force air; it will filter it’. This reminds me of the excellent example ASLA set the world by putting a green roof […]