These 10 Green Roofs Bring Life—and So Much More—to These Modern Structures
Green roof systems can reduce heating and cooling costs, decrease storm water runoff, and help reduce pollution. Composed of a waterproofing layer, root barrier, drainage system, and a growing medium for the vegetation, living roofs give birds, insects, and urban dwellers a little extra green space without taking up any square footage outside of a home's existing footprint.
A look at the following 10 living roofs may make you want to start researching how to retrofit your own.
This 500-square-foot home’s green roof—designed by Emilio Fuscaldo of Nest Architects—is much more than just an environmental statement. Water from the roof feeds the toilet and the garden’s watering system, while the garden serves as insulation to keep the gas bills low in the winter.
On a cliff-top lot on the outskirts of Austin, Edgeland House was built by architect Thomas Bercy for lawyer and writer, Chris Brown. The home is topped by a living roof to help it blend smoothly into the landscape. The concrete, steel, and glass house is divided into two distinct public and private halves.
When Paul Bernier and Joëlle Thibault sought to expand their home in the Plateau Mont-Royal neighborhood of Montreal, they designed two additions: one in the garden and one on the roof. Their objective was to gain some additional space while also making the house lighter and brighter—and keep things green.
When Bay Area landscape designer, Loretta Gargan had the opportunity to finally work on her own home—a weekend cottage in Marin shared with her partner, the artist Catherine Wagner—they "mapped the idiosyncratic plants that had to stay." This included old oaks and a hundred-year-old olive tree intertwined with a vigorous climbing white rose. They also incorporated a green roof, which blooms with poppies, strawberries, and a spectrum of native wildflowers.
Feldman Architecture's custom design for this environmentally-conscious modern home exceeded all of the homeowner's expectations. One of the most stunning attributes is the living roof designed by Lauren Schneider of Wonderland Garden.
For the remodel of his family’s home in San Francisco, designer Peter Liang undertook a two-part landscaping renovation. First, he planted a living roof. Then, with the help of landscape architect Andrea Cochran, he redid the backyard. "I wanted to plant a green roof for its thermal mass, but I wanted it to be as natural as possible," Liang says.
In this $47 million affordable housing project designed by Holst Architecture in Portland’s Pearl District, Bud Clark Commons incorporates a design sensibility that's usually reserved for luxury lofts—and has enough green features to obtain a LEED Platinum rating.
One family’s effort to "smuggle a modern house into a historic district" in Washington, DC, resulted in this brightly transformed space that's perfect for urban family living.
Carver & Schicketanz created a low-maintenance green roof using native plants such as California oat and red fescue. The green roof blends into the surrounding two acres of native grasses that the architects planted on the site to replace the more invasive coyote brush that was there before.
Emerging gracefully from an overgrown meadow on Chappaquiddick Island near Edgartown, Massachusetts, the smart design of this family vacation home earned Peter Rose + Partners an Honor Award for Design Excellence from the Boston Society of Architects in 2014.
Jennifer Baum Lagdameo
Jennifer Baum Lagdameo is a freelance design writer who has lived in Washington DC, Brooklyn, Tokyo and Manila. She is currently exploring the Pacific Northwest from her home base in Portland, OR. Follow her on Instagram @jenniferlagdameo