Top gardens on the roof

Roof garden has become more familiar in the modern society, especially in the crowded cities where land is expensive and fresh air is precious. Planted on the roof of a building in urban areas, a roof garden provides environmental impacts, architectural enhancement and recreational facilities. That’s why this famous concept of landscaping is on the rise all over the world, used atop the latest residential blocks, office buildings and luxury hotels. Let’s see how the famous roof gardens below bring you to urban jungle experience.

Chicago City Hall Green Roof, U.S.A

As part of initiative to combat the urban heat island effect and to improve urban air quality, the semi-extensive green roof was completed at the end of 2001 with the total investment of US $2.5 million.

Covering 38,800 square foot with more than 150 species of vines, shrubs and trees that are native to the Chicago region, and adapted to the high levels of wind and sun exposure they receive, this work of botanical art also conserves energy and reduces storm water runoff.

Kaiser Roof Garden, U.S.A

This 3-acre garden was the first major privately owned roof garden in the U.S.A, viewing the San Francisco Bay, Lake Merritt and Oakland hills. Opened in 1960, Kaiser Roof Garden was the largest roof garden in the world, setting the stage for green roofs and inspiring the proliferation of roof gardens across the planet.

Rockefeller Center Roof Gardens, U.S.A

This hidden treasure is put in our list given it’s the urban gardens archetype, inspiring properties like Kensington on London and Oakland’s Kaiser.

Opened in 1935, Rockefeller Center Roof Gardens comprises five terraces with 3,000 tons of earth, 500 tons of bricks, 100 tons of stone, 2,000 trees and shrubs for completion. It is instantly recognizable thanks to movies like “Spiderman” (2002) and “Fantastic Four” (2005).

Roof garden at Vancouver Convention Centre, Canada

This six-acre green roof provides living space for 400,000 native plants and grasses, as well as hives for 60,000 bees. As one of the largest green roofs in the world and the largest one in Canada, it helps reduce the building’s internal temperature throughout a year, and save water and energy through an onsite black water treatment and seawater pump system for heating and cooling.

Roof garden at Vancouver Public Library, Canada

The roof garden takes up 20,000 square foot of the library’s roof space. It is mainly composed of kinnickinnick and fescue bunchgrass which is drought resistant and its colors of blue and green symbolize water, shore and forest.

Both of these plants are native to the southwest region of British Columbia. Meanwhile, the meandering pattern reflects the shape of the Fraser River, providing a beautiful oasis within the busy city.

Roof garden at Waldspirale, Germany

Dubbed the Waldspirale, which translates to “forest spiral” in English, the apartment complex is certainly one of its kind with a forest growing on top.  Completed in 2000, this U-shaped building goes beyond conventional architecture and created by one of Austria’s most famous artists, Friedensreich Hundertwasser. It is topped with shrubs, grasses, and as it spirals 12 floors to a café, visitors can sip weissbier and admire the peculiar surroundings.

Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

Spanning over 101 hectares in the central Singapore, Gardens by the Bay is a natural park located adjacent to the Marina Reservoir with three waterfront gardens: Bay South Garden, Bay East Garden and Bay Central Garden. As a kind of horticultural theme park, Gardens by the Bay’s premier attraction is Cloud Forest, one of two enormous conservatories that dominate the edge of Singapore’s Marina Reservoir as a beautiful green roof.

The gardens are encased within is a 35-meter-tall tower of exotic vegetation, shrouded in mist, and the world’s highest indoor waterfall. Visitors take an elevator to the edge of the falls before descending via walkways through nine zones of tropical habitat. Surrounding the forest structure is a grove of Supertrees – 50-meter-high, alien-looking towers that also have high walks suspended between them for treetop views of the gardens.

Roof garden at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

In addition to glass façade and amazing curving architecture, the key feature of the Nanyang Technological University building is the green roof that slopes almost at a 45-degree angle, using a combination of Zoysia matrella and Ophiopogon.

Beyond being an aesthetic feature that doubles as a scenic outdoor communal space, the green roofs keep the ambient temperature low and reduce heat in the daytime. Furthermore, the reflective pond in the central courtyard provides a cool visual respite for those gazing out of the classrooms, laboratories and offices that overlook it.

Roof garden at Namba Parks, Japan

Namba Parks is an office and shopping complex located in Osaka, at the place where the former Osaka’s baseball stadium had stood until 2003.

The complex consists of a 30-storey office tower called Parks Tower and a 120-tenant shopping mall. What makes Namba Park standing out from the rest is a roof garden that gradually ascends eight levels as it flows through several city blocks.

In addition to providing a highly visible green component in the city where nature is sparse, the sloping park connects to the street, making it easy for passers-by to enter its groves of trees, clusters of rocks, cliffs, lawn, streams, waterfalls, ponds and outdoor terraces.

Roof garden at Acros, Japan

Situated in the middle of Fukuoka City, Acros Fukuoka Prefectural International Hall is a 14-storey building, each level of which reveals natural wonders normally found in the forest, from glossy ponds to waterfalls with more than 50,000 plants and trees in total.

On the way to the top, visitors pass through a vast atrium, this extends into a semicircle of glass paneling. Inside are exhibition spaces, shops, offices and a symphony hall. The design of Acros proposes a powerful new solution for a common urban problem: reconciling a developer’s desire for profitable use of a site with the public’s need for open green space.

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