100 ways to make better use of urban rooftops

On the rooftop of a hospital within the Dutch metropolis of Rotterdam, sufferers can go to a small orchard full of fruit bushes. A neighboring artwork museum has a rooftop forest planted with birch bushes that have been raised to survive at a barely greater altitude. Close by, a virtually 4,000-foot-long constructing is topped with a park that has vegetable gardens, picnickers, and grazing sheep. On different roofs within the metropolis, pilot initiatives are testing the potential of tiny homes.

The town is a pioneer find new makes use of for a component of urban house that’s typically ignored. In a brand new ebook known as Rooftop Catalogue, Rotterdam-based structure agency MVRDV and the group behind an annual “rooftop day” festival within the metropolis discover extra potential ways to rework roofs and the way the entire rooftop panorama might change.

[Photo: Courtesy MVRDV]

“Rooftop use might make an enormous contribution to the densification of town—and it might additionally forestall us from constructing extra on the outskirts of our cities,” Winy Maas, cofounder of MVRDV, stated in an interview included within the ebook. In Rotterdam, the crew calculated that if 10% of town’s roofs have been used for housing, it might create 15,000 comfortably sized small properties. Like yard homes, small rooftop properties may help add new residential house to neighborhoods which can be already constructed up. Roofs may be used to lengthen house from current flats or for including new coworking areas to condominium buildings.

Including inexperienced house to roofs may help counter the urban warmth island impact—the truth that cities are hotter than rural areas as a result of of the warmth radiating off of streets, parking heaps, and buildings. Rooftop gardens may also assist biodiversity, assist scale back air air pollution, and soak up rainwater in storms. The ebook appears at a variety of designs, like a “silent backyard” that provides residents an oasis from urban noise; an urban farm; and a “inexperienced monument” (an deserted constructing that’s allowed to be overtaken by nature, together with on the roof).


[Photo: Courtesy MVRDV]

Different ideas vary from easy—similar to a rooftop house for outside yoga or a canine park or neighborhood workshop areas for DIY initiatives—to the absurd, like a curler coaster that begins on a roof after which wraps round a skyscraper. The designers additionally recommend utilizing roofs for bike parking, as shortcuts for pedestrians, or as potential drone supply stations.

In fact, roofs will also be lined with photo voltaic panels. However the ebook argues for a variety of makes use of. (In some instances, completely different makes use of might occur on the identical roof; inexperienced house may help maintain photo voltaic panels cooler and working extra effectively, for instance.) And even when fewer than half of the roofs in Rotterdam have been used for solar energy, the authors calculate, that may be sufficient to energy one million households.

There are challenges, together with the truth that most buildings want to be retrofitted to deal with extra weight on the roof. However cities must be interested by how to encourage new makes use of, the designers say. “I believe we’d like a brand new Constructing Code, or relatively a Rooftop Code,” Maas says within the ebook. “You ought to be in a position to stack the 4 parts—water, greenery, power, and inhabitants—on prime of one another, like a sandwich.”