Landscaping the Sky:  Living Roofs (Book Review)

Landscaping the Sky: Living Roofs (Book Review)

Below is a photo which I took on the roof of a house in an inner-city neighbourhood in Rotterdam. Even though my friend loves the city, she’s also something of a nature person, and what better way to combine the both by transforming your roof into a little green private island in the sky. Needless to say, it’s a heavenly place to hang out. The odd thing is though, that hardly anyone else does this.


When I suggested we created a little roof top garden on the downtown resiscraper that is my home, I quickly became aware that this is something you want to think of when the building is still on the drawing board. Not that it is impossible, it’s just that a living roof isn’t an easy afterthought when all the usual rooftop clutter is already in place. Some however, prove that not only it is possible, but also definitely worth it.

living_roofs_03East Village Rooftop Garden, New York City, USA © Bilyana Dimitrova

This is where our Book of the Day comes in. Five years ago, teNeues published a book called “New York Rooftop Gardens” in which it presented “a universe filled with calm and natural beauty”. Having been sold out a long time ago (used books now starting at $100), teNeues has now published a follow-up which presents 35 examples of roofs on high- and low-rise buildings from all over the world, that have been converted into a green oasis.

living_roofs_02Tribeca Penthouse Garden, New York City, USA • HMWhite © Nikolas Koenig Photography

Each project comes with an introduction written by landscape architect Ashley Penn, a full-spread foto, images of details and a drawing of the layout. As the focus is on roof landscaping, local climate info and plant listings has been provided as well.

living_roofs_01page spread in Living Roofs

“Living Roofs” is a fantastic reference book aimed to inspire roof owners and project developers to do the same. It’s easy to take good photography for granted in a project presentation book, but the images really make you want to be there. “Living Roofs” should be on the desk of urban-minded landscape architects, any ambitious project developer, and off course on the table of your own roof garden!

living_roofs_04Archilabo, Milan, Italy • Cristina Mazzucchelli © Matteo Carassale

living_roofs_05Roof Terrace in Holland Park, London, United Kingdom • Charlotte Rowe Garden Design © 2016 Clive Nichols.

Living Roofs
texts by Ashley Penn
publisher: teNeues (while at it, check out their amazing New York portfolio!)
2016 | hardcover with jacket | 224 pages | ISBN-13: 978-3-8327-3245-5
more: book info page

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