Imagine that you can relax or play in a garden – high above the street – with a great view over the city. In the past roof gardens was mostly for the few (and rich) however city planners have seen the many benefits of the roof gardens and new roof gardens are popping up a lot of different places. From large public project to minor private initiatives.

The Copenhagen State Archives
In Copenhagen the new State Archives (Rigsarkiv) has got a unique roof garden – open for the public.
We went there today to have a look. It all looks very new and the plants are still small and have not jet captured the area however it seems like the area has potentials to become a nice and calm “spot”.

If you go to the very end of the roof you can see the Copenhagen harbour and a lot of new build buildings.
The roof garden offers different sitting areas where the honeysuckle will grow to a wall around each little sitting area. Strawberry plants surrounds the benches so that you can take a rest eating fresh picked strawberries.

We discovered that the roof garden has a very interesting “entrance”. One of the buildings have an eaves with a big round hole so that the birch tree can grow as tall as it likes – a very beautiful way of integrating nature and architecture.

Getting to the roof garden is also quit interesting. You start at street level and walk up via a path bending like a hairpin in the the French Alps. Following the path you walk backwards and forwards all the way up to the roof garden. In other words it is not a direct “highway” to the roof garden. For me the bending path reminded me of slowing down and relax. I left the noise and stress of the city behind me.
(If you are in a playful mood I am also sure that the bending path will be a very fun place to state, bike or play if you feel like that).

[All the above images by Trine [art arbre]]

Read more about green urban projects in Copenhagen at Copenhagen X.

Chicago City Hall roof garden
In 2001 Chicago got a new 20300 sq.ft. roof garden on top of the City Hall. Encompassing one square block and twelve stories high, this retrofit application serves as a demonstration project and test green roof.

[Image from Green roofs]

UPDATE (15.AUG.2010): I just found this article about “Chicago: Converting vacant lots to greenery“.

View more examples of international green roofs at the Green Roofs Project Database and the Green Roof for Healthy Cities website.

More green roofs in Copenhagen
In Copenhagen the politicians has decided that all new-build houses with a roof pitch lower than 30% should have a roof garden (it count for both private and public buildings). It means that there will come 5.000 square meters of new green roofs (and it is only within public building activities) each year. (Visit the Copenhagen Municipality website to read more about the green initiatives (in Danish only).

Benefits of green roofs
There are numerous environmental benefits of green roofs in an urban setting:
-the plants works as isolation and their by reduces the CO2 emission and lower the cost of heating and cooling the building
-a green roof absorbs a lot of the rainwater which otherwise would have ended in the sewer and have been a burden for the draining system of the city
-reduces the urban heat island effect by lowering the City’s temperature and therefore reduces cooling costs
-beautifies the City
-creates more natural green spaces in urban areas. A benefit for the people living in the city.
-provides more habitat area for wildlife including migratory birds
-the plants improve the air quality

More details of the benefits of green roofs.

Written by Trine Plambech

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