Rooftops are an often ignored and consequently wasted space in architecture. They house the ugly functional elements of buildings like air conditioning and heating equipment, are often blank blocks of cement absorbing heat from the sun and contributing to urban heat, and aren’t thought of as the opportunities they should be. In modern architecture and city planning, rooftops should be considered an asset – a resource every city can harness to bring nature back to the urban landscape, cool off our urban centers, and provide access to relaxing, fresh-air spaces in the middle of our concrete jungles. Check out our list of five most amazing rooftop gardens, and encourage your local businesses and municipalities to use rooftops as open spaces for the community.
Namba Parks, Osaka, Japan
This shopping mall and office compound offers an amazing 8 levels of landscaping and architecture, combining with nature to offer stunning waterfalls, ponds, streams, canyons and cliffs. Visitors can walk through the park area along shops and restaurants, with terraces, seating and even spaces for growing your own personal vegetable gardens.
Rogner Bad Blumau Hotel, Styria, Austria
This rooftop garden hotel is dedicated to rest and relaxation as a spa – a goal it is clearly capable of achieving as the hotel itself blends in with its natural surroundings. The rooftop plants reduce cooling costs of the building through transpiration and provide filtration of waste water.
ACROS Fukuoka, Fukuoka City, Japan
The huge ACROS Fukuoka building is a 60 meter , many-tiered garden terrace that raises right out of a beautiful park. Containing about 35,000 plants across 76 species, the terraces surround a circular area that houses a symphony hall, offices, and a shopping area. The sprawling city had only one green space remaining, and it was the park on top of which this building was made. As a result, the architects created a goal of preserving as much green space with the building as possible.
Chicago City Hall
The Chicago City Hall is one of many green roofs in the city of Chicago. While not often open to the public, it does offer paths for a pleasant stroll around the greenery. This rooftop garden makes our list because there is nothing like the leadership of a municipal government to encourage the private sector to build with the environment in mind.
NYC Hidden Garden
This privately-owned, plant-adorned, 1,600-square-foot garden from urban heaven is hidden in New York City’s Chelsea area, and apparently can be yours for just 4.5 million dollars. The garden offers the ultimate in both greenery and useability, with a path allowing access to multiple levels as well as different seating areas with comfortable yet sleek patio furniture. This garden makes this list because of its ultimate status in home gardening and décor.
Whether by a municipality, commercial investment or private ownership, rooftop gardens offer the best in city life, combining both nature and architecture, reducing urban heat, and combatting pollution. Rooftop gardens are the future of urban planning, as city dwellers demand more and more access to nature within the city limits, and these five here are examples of that future now.
About the Author: This is a guest post by Lilly Sheperd. She’s a freelance writer, writing on behalf World Market, a company offers patio furniture.