The next generation of green roofs will be designed to ensure the survival of specific species providing much needed ecological space in the urban environment. BAM believe the next ecological objective in green roof design is the creation of biotropes – living habitats for species such as migratory birds.
While not a roof habitat exactly, Neil Oxley came up with the idea of a man made tree for the city of Leeds to support bats, birds, butterflies, insects and even the much maligned urban fox. Kadas’ research into the potential for green roofs to support rare invertebrates suggests there is greater potential for green roofs to promote urban habitats.
Restoration ecologist and resource planner Paul Kepart of Rana Creek believes in the near future green roofs will be graded according to a biodiversity index. In keeping with these concerns plant ecologist Christine Thuring emphasises the need for green roofs to form a series of linked habitats or archipelagos.
It still seems some way off before we start to think of ways of providing green habitats – even roof space – for our larger land based fauna currently being displaced and endangered by urban activity.
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 Chicago is a beatifully executed (but more conventional) social space on a green roof. However, the benefits of a mixed garden to ecology cannot be underestimated. The roof garden on the 17th floor of the Washington Mutual Bank is a little more zen. It creates a contemplative social environment reminiscent of a wind swept plain – yet provides views across Elliot Bay.
Sometimes the best way to see something – is to see it differently. Thanks to Christo and his project Wrapped Trees, Fondation Beyeler and Berower Park, Riehen, Switzerland 1997-98 the humble tree can be seen more clearly as part of the three dimensional compositon of space. The exaggerated sense of presence wrapping the tree affords gives a greater sense of volume, solid and void and perspective to the overall scene.
And this is an art work that the viewer inhabits, experiences first hand and interacts with as the hours of the day colour it slightly differently. Time to reflect on our place in the world … [ http://rainfromthesky.blogspot.com/2009/03/trees-were-sculpture-without-their.html ]
The Made of Light project by Speirs Major and Associates Lighting Architects http://www.madeoflight.com/mol/site_map.htm is a wonderful e-book that discusses the relationship between architecture and light in 12 simple themes.
1. Source – natural and artifical
2. Contrast – light and darkness
3. Surface – light and texture
4. Colour – spectral colour
5. Movement – where time meets space
6. Function – the ability to see
7. Form – visual shape of mass and volume
8. Space – the absence of mass
9. Boundary – to unify or separate
10. Scale – the comprehension of size
11. Image – creating identity and charater
12. Magic – phenomena which can inspire us
The photographs above pick up many of these themes in the use of light in the landscape.
Apart from what looks what looks unfortuneately like artifical turf on the roof – the Garden House by Takeshi Hosaka Architects with its tight triangular plan is a surprise and delight! Definitely a garden for my soul! The living spaces are designed around the edges of an enclosed garden courtyard, cleverly stacked and arranged to take advantage of every square mm of space, create privacy and capture views. In the photographs the garden is very young…it would be fantastic to revisit the house as the tree grows and the potted garden matures.
If you can’t resist viewing more maybe a trip to Japan is in order…
What is the future of water architecture? [ http://wiki.provisionslibrary.org/blog/index.php/2008/02/06/water-architecture-a-floating-alternative-for-the-future/ ] Surely it is zen. http://www.whatsonyourplate.msstate.edu/architecture/water.html Or…. http://www.cmoa.org/exhibitions/popup/diller.html
Corbusier’s influence continues to inspire and to produce some of the most evocative architecture sensitive to its landscape setting. The building does not dominate the landscape, rather the landscape is both shield and platform. Garden is both formal and informal. http://www.archdaily.com/374/os-house-nolaster/