Green roofs, often referred to as living roofs, are the roofs that are either partially or completely covered with vegetation planted over a waterproofing membrane. There are several advantages both of environmental and financial matter that come with having a green roof.They serve several purposes such as absorbing rainwater, providing insulation as well as lowering the air temperature.
There are lots of inspiring projects featuring buildings that have green roofs and we have selected a few that might raise your interest in the matter.
1. The OUTrial House in Poland.
The first project that caught our eye is this contemporary residence located in Ksiazenice, Poland. It’s called the OUTrial house and was a project by Katowice-based studio KWK Promes. The construction of the house was completed in 2007 and the whole residence ended up measuring 1,937 square feet. The location is very beautiful. Before starting the project, this place was a splendid clearing surrounded by forest.
The main idea behind this project was to create a contemporary residence with a design that would allow the client to fully enjoy the surrounding panoramas and the beautiful environment. The client also wanted the house to somehow become a part of the landscape and to establish some sort of connection with the surrounding environment. The architect tried to achieve that by opting for a green roof. As for the structure and layout of the house, the client’s request for a recording studio and conservatory played an important role.
An atrium was created that has become a part of both the indoor and outdoor areas. It’s a quiet space, partially independent from the rest of the building but only accessible through the interior of the house.
2. The Meera House in Singapore.
The Meera House is another imposing residence that could easily be considered a dream home. It’s located on the island of Sentosa adjacent to Singapore and it was designed and built by Guz Architects. Situated on a new housing estate, the residence is surrounded by several other buildings. The structures are built closely together and they form a new and inspiring community.
Since the plots are not large and the houses are built close to the sides of the neighboring properties, the architects decided to take this aspect into consideration when designing the Meera House. It’s why their strategy was to build a solid wall on each side of the property in order to provide privacy when possible. Another important detail that should be mentioned is the fact that each level is covered by a green roof.
This way, the upper spaces have access to the green terrace and provide splendid views. The main idea was to allow each roof garden to provide a base for the storey above. This way a layered structure was created. Each level is delimitated from the rest. The result is the feeling that you’re sitting in a single-storey structure with a beautiful garden outside.
3. The Stone House in Vietnam.
Located in Dong Trieu, Quang Ninh Province, Vietnam, this residence impresses with its unusual design and shape. The house was a project developed by Vietnamese architectural firm Vo Trong Nghia and has been recently completed. However, the design of the structure makes it seem a lot older. Located in a quiet residential area, this dramatic building stands out with its torus-shaped structure.
But it’s not just the shape that makes this house unique. The Stone House, as it was very well named, features a rising green roof and walls built of dark blue stone. These carefully thought design details allow the house to seamlessly integrate into the natural landscape. Moreover, the green roof makes it seem like a natural part of the environment.
Internally, the rooms have been organized around an oval courtyard. All the areas in the house are interconnected and the circulation also continues to the green roof. The roof is actually a garden that basically connects all the rooms. It’s also an element that establishes a strong indoor-outdoor connection. The huge oval wall has been built using cubic stone and it plays an important role in the filtering of all the natural light that enters the property. It also gives the house a somewhat primitive look, even though it’s actually a modern residence.
4. The House in Caledon.
The House in Caledon was a unique project developed by Toronto-based studio Ian MacDonald Architect. The residence is located in the Regional Municipality of Peel in the Greater Toronto Area of Ontario, Canada. It sits on a 90-acre property defined by beautiful panoramic views. The house was designed for a family of four and the circumstances were quite interesting.
The agricultural property featured an existing barn and a stone farmhouse that provided an unusual setting for the new building. Despite the strong rural atmosphere and environment, the architects tried to incorporate everything into a modern design. The barn and the farmhouse have been left intact and they are separated from the newly built house.
When designing this residence, several aspects have been taken into consideration. For example, the landscape and agricultural history had to be respected and made a part of the concept. So in order to make the house better integrate into the surroundings, it has been partially hidden underground and covered with a green roof. This way it doesn’t stand out as much and the focus shifts towards the landscape and all the historical beauty surrounding the house. The roof features the same type of vegetation as the meadow and this way it easily connects with the landscape.
5. The 2 Bar House in California.
Located in Menlo Park, a city in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, the 2 Bar House is a modern residence with a very interesting design. It’s not the actual shape or appearance of the house that impresses the most but the techniques and concepts used when designing it. The house was a project by San Francisco-based studio Feldman Architecture and it was completed in September 2010.
It’s a two-story contemporary home that measures 2,120 square feet and that was built with a very cost-conscious design. The architects also tried to incorporate green materials and technologies into the design in order to create the perfect home for the clients and their two young children. Originally, the site was occupied by a different structure. But that was an old house with an inefficient design that didn’t really respond to the clients’ needs.
It was replaced with a new and modern structure that features an open design that perfectly responds to the indoor/outdoor lifestyle of the clients. It’s called the 2 Bar House because of its internal structure. There’s a bedroom bar placed perpendicularly above a living bar and this way two separate areas or volumes are created. The lower level has sliding doors that can be opened to let in natural light and it also has a green roof with a deck.
6. The North Bay Residence on San Juan Island.
The North Bay Residence is a contemporary home that was completed in 2009 and that measures 2,800 square feet. Located on San Juan Island, Washington state, USA, the house benefits from amazing views. It sits on a very beautiful but also somewhat restricted site that overlooks the Griffin Bay and that provides spectacular views of the surrounding landscape.
Finding the right spot to build the house turned out to be a challenge. The perfect spot for the house was already occupied by three majestic trees. They were beautiful so chopping them down was not something the clients were willing to do without exploring other options. The architects that designed the house came up with a solution.They considered the trees to be an important part of the site’s and the house’s history and charm so they decided to preserve them.
They managed to squeeze the house in the free space that was available. But there was another problem that needed their attention. Since the house was now close to the road, visual and acoustic privacy needed to be established. A stone wall was built and it has become the barrier between the public and private areas. For the roof, the architects chose a green version with drought-resistant plants.
7. The Malbaie V residence in Quebec.
The Malbaie V “Le Phare” project was developed by Malbaie V “Le Phare” project and resulted in the construction of a stunning contemporary home in the region of Cap-à-l’Aigle in central Charlevoix, Quebec, Canada. Completed in November 2010, the house measures 2,400 square feet. It’s a stunning two-story residence with a simple but dynamic design.
The house is structured in several geometrical volumes that interfere with one another. The house itself appears to rise out of the ground and this allows it to establish a strong connection with the outdoors. Another element that contributes to this fact is the green roof and the use of natural materials throughout that allow the residence to blend in and to become a part of the landscape.
The residence is covered with a green roof that also serves as an insulating layer. The ground level is a continuous open plan that contains the main living areas and public spaces. It also integrates four bedrooms and two full bathrooms that were arranged lineary. The exterior as well as portions of the interior are covered in wood panels and strong contrasts are created between the different types of materials used throughout. Nevertheless, these materials also help the residence harmoniously integrate into the surroundings.
8. Villa Ronde on the Japanese Coast.
Villa Ronde is a unique structure for several reasons. But first let’s learn a few general information about it. It was designed and built by Franco-Japanese architectural firm Ciel Rouge and it’s a luxury residence situated on the Japanese coast. It has a stunning and unique design and it includes a private museum, a guest house and a resort.
As its name suggests, Villa Ronde is a round structure and it’s organized around a central courtyard. Its design is not purely decorative as it also helps protect the building from the strong winds by deflecting them. Also, it’s a detail that helps with the natural ventilation on the interior. The main concept behind the design of this impressive structure was to create an organic space. The rooms can either be closed for privacy or they can form a continuous space around the patio.
The building is hidden behind coastal vegetation. It has the same color as the rock and its green roof further camouflages it by helping it seamlessly integrate into the landscape. Inside all the rooms are connected to each other and they create a large gallery. The windows are oval and create focal points while the rest of the space is kept private.
9. The Black Beauty Mariposa Villa in Costa Rica.
The Black Beauty Mariposa Villa is a vacation located in the Black Beauty Village of Ostional from where it also got its name. The village is located in the province of Guanacaste, Costa Rica. The house measures a total of 4,424 square feet and it features three bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms. It’s a very beautiful contemporary structure and it was designed and built by Kalia.
The location of this vacation home is amazing. It offers views of both the Pacific Ocean and the beautiful mountains and the combination is breathtaking. The house can be rented all year round. In terms of architecture, it’s a simple structure with minimalist details and has a design based on functionality. The interior reveals a luxurious eco-design.
The house has two levels and it’s structured into volumes. It’s entirely covered with a beautiful green roof. The property also has a splendid exterior garden and there’s a glass bridge-like structure that separated the living and entertainment areas from the private spaces. The master bedroom can be accessed through a corridor and it’s situated above the family room and the guest suites. The bedrooms all share amazing and panoramic views.
10. The McLeod residence in Vermont.
The McLeod residence is a very interesting structure. It’s located in Middlebury, Vermont and was built in 2008. But even though it’s a modern structure, it looks like it has been there for a long time. That’s because it integrates perfectly into the landscape and the surrounding area. Designed and built by John McLeon Architect, the residence has a neutral exterior that allows it to blend in.
When designing the house, several aspects have been taken into consideration. They include the sun, the climate, the topography and also the community. Everything had to be in sync and the results had to be well-balanced. The architects then created this 1500 square-foot building. It’s a somewhat modest structure that was built on a piece of land surrounded by trees and vegetation.
It’s situated at the edge of a natural preserve. The single-story house is facing the road and its design and dimensions were also dictated by the scale of the neighborhood. One portion of the structure reaches three stories and this is the private volume. The residence features a sloped roof that’s covered in vegetation. This further allows it to seamlessly integrate into the landscape and to become a part of the surroundings.
11. Villa Bio in Barcelona.
Located in Barcelona, Spain, Villa Bio is a contemporary residence that was designed by architect Enric Ruiz-Geli. The architect worked with interior designer Manel Soler Caralps and landscape designer Joan Madorell and the collaboration resulted in the creation of a beautiful structure that was completed in 2005.
The goal was to create a residence that would become a natural part of the site and that would replicate the organic lines of the surrounding landscape. The house sits on a platform made of concrete and that’s shaped like a C. To make the house better blend in, it was covered with natural vegetation. The green roof also had other advantages such as better insulation and the opportunity to create a beautiful terrace with wonderful views.
The materials used for this project mainly include stone and glass. The combination is simple and contrasting and the result is a striking design. The green roof further adds drama. Its shape and design contribute to this image as well. The whole project is unusual. The lines seem to follow organic shapes and there seems to be an overall continuous design that focuses on integrating the building into a natural environment that doesn’t really exist in that area.
12. Shipping container guest house in San Antonio.
Luxury, imposing houses aren’t the only ones that can benefit from a green roof. Even something as small and simple as a shipping container house can use some of its benefits. It’s the case of this lovely shipping container guest house from San Antonio.
The client approached Texas architect Jim Poteet about a project that involved the transformation of a shipping container into a playhouse and guest house. Even though the architect had never worked with a container before, the project turned out to be a spectacular success and a wonderful challenge. The house that was created is made from a standard 40-foot shipping container and measures 320 square feet. It’s small but it’s the perfect addition to the client’s backyard.
The container is painted blue and has been equipped with heating and air-conditioning systems. It was a spectacular transformation and the result was a perfectly functional guest house and playhouse. But since the insulation was still a problem, the architect decided to add a green roof. The roof is filled with plants that help regulate the temperature and that also gives the house a more organic appearance and helps it better integrate into the backyard area.
13. House at Leon.
House at Leon is a contemporary residence that looks stunning and that has been built on a low budget with minimum of effort. It’s located in Leon, Spain and it was designed and built by Alarcón + Asociados / Alberto Alarcón along with collaborators Sara Rojo, Carlos Tomás, Clara García and Heloise. Completed in 2009, the house covers an area of 310 square meters.
The design of the house and the structure were inspired by traditional Chinese architecture. It consists of three different volumes that are all linked together. This allows them to function as separate spaces while still being connected. But the volumes are not delimitated by the final skyline so the visual structure doesn’t necessarily represent the internal structure. The resulting building has a contemporary design with a simple and yet unusual layout and structure.
But that’s not the only interesting thing about this project. The residence is also a low-energy building. Its interior is warm during the winter and cool in the summer so the insulation is excellent. The design helps with that but a great advantage also comes from the green roof used for the entire house. This is an excellent example of a project made on a budget with wonderful results.
14. Villa Am See in the Swiss Alps.
Most contemporary residences have designs that are simple and that focus more on functionality. But it’s also common for architects and for clients to want something unique. It’s the case of this unusual residence located high above Lake Lucerne in Switzerland. It impresses with its design and layout and, to make things even better, it benefits from incredibly beautiful views of the Swiss Alps.
The house is a massive structure and features striking architecture from several points of view. It was designed by Ungertreina and has a sculptural structure with a dynamic design. The house consists of three volumes and it’s difficult to see them as a whole when they are all so different one from the others. It’s not just the appearance but the actual positioning and design. Each volume has a different layout.
But even though they are unique, they still have elements in common. For example, all three volumes have thick glass walls and they each focus on a different section of the panorama. On the ground level, a massive steel garage door leads to a corridor and then to the three concrete boxes stacked one on top of the other. The corridor has a dramatic décor as the exposed concrete walls and the lighting create the impression of a tunnel. The top areas benefit, besides the panoramic views of the lake and the mountains, from the beauty of the green roof that is exposed underneath.
15. House S in Germany.
We continue the expose with a project that, unlike the ones presented so far, doesn’t have to do with a contemporary house that was built from scratch. This is a remodeling project that has been recently completed in Wiesbaden, a city in the southwest of Germany. The house we’re talking about was originally built in the 60’s.
It’s a single-level bungalow that was originally built by architect Wilfried Hilger. Now it has been recently remodeled as part of a project developed by German studioCHIRST.CHRIST. It was transformed into a two-story contemporary house with a stunning green roof. The roof area was actually envisioned as building space that could be used for the creation of other independent structures. It’s an interesting idea that responds to our constant need for expansion despite the lack of land.
House S was remodeled for a family a four that also wanted to renovate the space. The architects that worked at this project tried to maintain the building’s original charm while also making serious changes. In an effort to keep the existing bungalow intact, they added three box-like structures on the flat roof. They are interconnected by a glass corridor. The green roof provides a very nice base for the contemporary home.
16. The Black Beauty Luna Villa.
The Black Beauty Village in Ostional also has several other beautiful residences that can be admired. Here, in the province of Guanacaste, Costa Rica there’s another stylish contemporary home known as the Black Beauty Luna Villa. This is a 4,618 square foot building that contains a total of three bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms.
The house has been designed and built by Kalia and it features wonderful views of the Pacific Ocean and the beautiful mountains in the distance. The villa, just like the other one located in the same area that we’ve presented, can be booked all year round. It’s situated on a slightly sloped site and has expansive views that reveal the beautiful panoramic views of the forest, ocean and mountains.
The entrance is visible once you enter the exterior courtyard. It’s dominated by terraces, ponds and waterfalls. The entry then reveals a very large entertaining area that contains the kitchen, the dining room and the living spaces. The main living and lounge areas also open up onto the exterior dining area and the poolside spaces. The master suite features a luxurious décor and the guest rooms above share the same characteristics. In addition, the green roof only adds more charm to the villa.
17. Contemporary Madrid residence.
Located in the beautiful city of Madrid, this contemporary residence impresses with its openness and organic simplicity. The house was designed and built by architect Miguel Barahona in collaboration with PYF Arquitectura. It’s a single-family home that occupies an area of 4,000 square feet. Completed in 2010, the house features a beautiful green roof and an impressive U-shaped swimming pool.
The house is situated on the highest point of the plot and this allows it to offer spectacular views of the valley and the mountain in the distance. The property also includes its own beautiful natural garden decorated with rocks and oaks. The actual design of the house is nicely balanced and this allows it to seem very light and open. It has floor-to-ceiling windows and a simple internal structure with large open spaces.
The slanted roof is covered with drought-resistance plants and seems to almost disappear into the landscape. The house has been organized around three courtyards. Two of them are quite small while the larger one contains the indoor pool and the adjacent lounge areas. The living area and the main bedroom offer views of the pool that extends into the garden. The living room is surrounded by water on three sides.
18. The Fish House in Singapore.
The Fish House is a luxury home that can be found in Singapore. It was designed and built by Guz Architects and has a contemporary look. Given the fact that Singapore is a region where the climate is hot and humid, certain design elements were a must. For example, the natural ventilation was a detail that architects had to keep in mind when designing the house. The large windows and the green roof were also elements that were introduced into the design for similar purposes.
The house has a surface of 5,800 square feet. It has an impressive contemporary design with luxury details and, in addition, it also offers wonderful views of the ocean. As for the interior, it’s divided into several areas. The basement includes a spectacular media room while the rest of the space accommodates everything else. The idea behind the design of this house was to come up with some sort of organic relationship between the house and the surrounding nature.
The swimming pool partially connects the house to the landscape. It creates visual connection with the sea. The media room has an U-shaped window that offers views into the pool and provides diffuse natural light. It’s an interesting and eye-catching feature. The curved roofs were designed to symbolize the waves. They are partially covered with solar panels and the rest is a green roof.
19. The Mill Valley cabins.
We now shift our attention towards something a little different. Let’s take a look at this beautiful property found on Mill Valley in California. Here there is a beautiful home perched on a hill. But it’s not the actual home that we’re interested in. What caught our attention are the two cabins that are situated on the same property.
The cabins were built as accessories for the already existing home and they have a very simple and alluring look. They were designed and built by Feldman Architecture. The cabins are accessories that complement the house and add structural strength to the property. The clients envisioned these cabins as a couple of tranquil and private spaces. One serves as an artist studio while the other is a yoga space/guest cabin.
The two cabins are placed between trees. Their location is strategic from several points of view. For example, they each capture unique and different views that can be admired through the large windows. The roofs of the cabins are covered with green plants. This way they provide lovely views of a small garden when seen from above, from the main house. Also, the clients and the designers agreed that it would also be an element that would allow the cabins to more easily integrate into the hillside.
20. The West 21th house in Vancouver.
The last property that we included here for now is a beautiful contemporary home found in Vancouver, Canada. The residence was designed and built by Frits de Vries and it was named the West 21th House. It has a total surface of 3070 square feet and it sits on a 42 feet wide lot. The location is very beautiful as it offers views of the Pacific Spirit Park as well as views of the distant city center.
The residence has an overall simple and flexible design. The main idea behind the project was to create a space that would allow versatility and that would be able to adapt to everyday changes and modifications. The client also had another request. He wanted the house to also feature a strong indoor-outdoor connection. To make that happen, the architects designed outdoor patios and gardens at all the levels of the house. In addition, the green roof further helps the house establish a closer connection to nature.
The house also uses passive solar energy and features high-efficiency windows, solar water heating systems and all sorts of other measures designed to keep the energy consumption to a minimum while also allowing a luxurious living experience. The appliances and fixtures were also very carefully selected and, for the interior, recycled materials were used for the flooring. The green roof also helps regulate the temperature and absorb rainwater.