The way we perceive the rooftop of a building is gradually starting to change as more and more structures of all different kinds are now displaying beautiful gardens, terraces and even pools on their roofs. When you think about it, it’s a wonder we as people didn’t start to exploit this space earlier. It makes a lot of sense now to make the most of every bit of space and to maximize every feature and every function, although it’s not always for the same reasons.
Phoenix Rooftop – Melbourne, Australia
Perhaps the hardest thing to do when transitioning from a suburban house to an apartment in a busy city is giving up the garden/ yard. But if you’re living on the top floor of the building you may not have to do that at all as you can have a beautiful rooftop garden like this one. The Phoenix Rooftop was a project by Bent Architecture. The clients wanted the rooftop to serve a function similar to a suburban garden. The context was very different but not impossible to work with. In fact, a rooftop garden has its own set of unique advantages and we’ll get into that a bit later.
House with a rooftop garden – Nha Trang, Vietnam
Simply wanting a rooftop to become a lush a beautiful garden and even having the resources to do it may sometimes not be enough. The house designed by ICADA and VTN Architects is a perfect example in this sense. The local building code specified that around 50% of the house’s roof area had to be covered by either gray or orange-colored tiles and also that the roof had to be sloped. This definitely created some problems for the architects and their clients who wanted a hanging rooftop garden. In order to make that happen while still obeying the rules, they divided the roof into a set of parallel bands of alternating green area and tiles. They also designed it as a terraced garden in order to create the slope.
N.B.K. Residence 2 – Beirut, Lebanon
This apartment located in Beirut is not your everyday penthouse as it actually covers three floors and functions as an independent structure placed at the top of the building. The uppermost level of the apartment is structures into a guest studio, the staff quarters and a pool terrace. In addition to looking like an independent house placed on top of an apartment building, this rooftop structure also features two probe-like projections which function as light fixtures and which exceed the height average of the adjacent buildings which makes them visible from the surrounding neighborhoods. This was a project by DW5 / Bernard Khoury.
60 White loft – New York, US
An apartment with features such as an outdoor living space, an outdoor kitchen or a rooftop garden basically offer the best of both worlds and are perfect hybrids. They bring the comfort and the seamless indoor-outdoor transition usually specific to suburban houses into the heart of the city. You might be surprised to find such homes in New York but they exist. At the center of TriBeCa you can find the 60 White residential complex which features 8 amazing lofts. Designed by Bostudio Architecture, they’re exquisite in every way.
A tall and narrow house in Brooklyn, US
When faced with the challenge of choosing between a particular location and the possibility of increased living space, the owners of this residence in Brooklyn chose the first option. The residence sits on a narrow and deep plot and it originally had two floors which proved to be insufficient as the family grew. Office of Architecture was in charge of transforming the house into a 4-level home suited to the needs of its owners. They created a new mudroom area below the original two floors and a bedroom suite with a rooftop terrace at the top of the building.
Tilt Roof House – Yangpyeong-gun, South Korea
No matter how you look at this house you see that it was designed with great respect for the surroundings and the natural energy flowing through the land. Designed by BCHO Architects, the Tilt Roof House takes advantage of the steep slope present on the site and is partially embedded into the land. As the name suggests, the roof of the house is tilted but that’s not all. The rooftop area serves as a terrace, featuring two recessed lounge/ sitting areas and a courtyard box.
Jungle House – São Paulo, Brazil
The design of the Jungle House done by Studio MK27 is also meant to show great respect to the surroundings, the landscape and nature in general. The house is a concrete box with a swimming pool and a terrace on the roof. It’s sheltered and framed by the dense canopy of the rainforest and it takes full advantage of the scenery thanks to its rather unusual layout which places the primary living spaces alongside the pool.
House for Trees – Vietnam
Buildings with rooftop gardens are helping to revive the connection between people living in dense urban environments and nature. A very good example in this sense is a set of five buildings developed by VTN Architects and located in the Tan Binh District of Vietnam. What’s special about these structures is the fact that they all have rooftop gardens with trees planted up there so in a way they’re giant pots. In addition to bringing nature back into an area where only 0.25% area of the entire city is covered with greenery, these rooftop trees are also a first step towards reducing pollution.
Caviar Warehouse Loft – New York, US
Originally a caviar warehouse built in 1884, this splendid residence is located in Manhattan, New York and was redesigned by architect Andrew Franz who managed to transform the top floor into a contemporary open plan residence with a gorgeous rooftop garden which can be viewed from inside the living area. The garden is in fact more accurately described as an interior courtyard. It has a retractable glass roof and it’s a refreshing space from where to admire the surroundings.
A social rooftop deck in Chicago
Rooftops are ideal spaces for admiring the surroundings from and a lot of terraces are specifically designed to serve this exact purpose. One example is a rooftop deck designed by dSpace Studio. It was designed to showcase the Chicago skyline and to serve as an open entertainment area and social space. It includes several functions such as a kitchen, a dining area, a sundeck and a viewing platform.
Naman Residence – Non Nuoc Beach, Vietnam
The Naman Residence project is comprised of a set of beachfront villas developed by MIA Design Studio on Non Nuoc Beach in Vietnam. One of the villas’s design has been completed and features an expansive rooftop desk with a green area and a sunken seating area with panoramic and unobstructed views of the surroundings. The design is clean, simple and modern.
Rooftop terrace retreat – Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic
This is the rooftop terrace designed by ANA arquitectura and is meant to function as an oasis, a relaxing retreat in the context of an urban environment with busy streets and not a lot of quaint and calming spaces like this one. The terrace has wooden flooring which matches the flooring inside the living spaces, privacy walls, built-in bench seating and potted plants.
Low-maintenance house in Perth, Australia
This is the rooftop terrace of a house designed by Keen Architecture in Perth, Australia. Its owners wanted it to be super low-maintenance so they wouldn’t have to worry about a thing and to be able to simply lock and leave whenever they want. It’s a house designed to suit a busy lifestyle and thus it’s meant to be very user-friendly and space-efficient. One of its features is this private rooftop deck which is ideal for entertaining or relaxing on a sunny day.