By: Rick Hess/Mae Case, DISD
Magnificent views are a sought-after amenity for any space. Utilizing the rooftop of a building can take the breathtaking scenery to a whole new level by bringing you just a step closer to nature. It’s also a great way to have an outdoor experience when you’re in a densely populated area where yards are uncommon. Whether it’s a high-rise hotel located smack-dab in the middle of a bustling downtown city or a secluded residence hidden in a rainforest, converting the roof of a building to a livable area adds value not only to the space but to one’s personal experience as well.
ME Hotel, London
Designed by internationally renowned Foster + Partners, this incredible hotel rooftop overlooks London’s West End. The triangle site create a unique “urban oasis,” according to Archdaily, and the structure has exquisite details fusing the interior and exterior of the building.
Moffett Place High Garden, Sunnyvale, CA
DES Architects + Engineers recently enhanced a corporate campus with one of the largest green rooftop parks in Silicon Valley. With meditation spaces, community gardens, grey water technology and storm water management, this sustainable design transforms a parking garage into a refuge for employees looking to exercise, socialize or relax.
Jungle House, Sao Paulo Brazil
Incredible rooftops aren’t found only on large commercial buildings. Studio MK27 designed a house with a rooftop pool and garden in the depths of the lush Brazilian rainforest. As their website states, “The introduction of this house to this landscape has the objective of optimizing the connection between architecture and nature,” which is achieved through ocean views, natural light, and the careful positioning of the house within the dense vegetation of the site.
Wood Flow, Boston, MA
J. Roc Design developed an innovative solution for a residential rooftop in Boston’s South End to allow the client to enjoy everything from yoga practice to a dance party surrounded by native New England plants. Using traditional Japanese joinery techniques, the lounge space has not one screw and the wood is designed to withstand the harsh winters of Boston.
Chiltern House, Singapore
The roof of this home designed by WOW Architects incorporates a lily pond and luscious plant life as a way to give back some of the land they took when building. “Our desire was for a home enveloped by a garden” said designer Warner Wong in an interview for Dezeen..
Antokolsky Penthouse, Tel Aviv, Israel
In designing the renovation of this penthouse, architect Pitsou Kedem added a balcony and infinity pool to the top of the building. The water and dark stone reflect the incredible view of old town Tel Aviv.
High Line, New York City
In a particularly high-profile and innovative case of adaptive re-use, James Corner and his design studio Field Operations turned an abandoned elevated freight train track into a linear public park.
The Sky Room, New York City
Another place to catch incredible views of New York City is the rooftop lounge of the Sky Room. A series of distinctive spaces includes open-air terraces overlooking the Hudson River and the Empire State Building.
Baba Nest at Sri Panwa, Phuket, Thailand
Surrounded by an infinity pool, this floating rooftop bar at a luxury resort in Phuket, Thailand, takes complete advantage of the amazing panoramic views.
Farming Kindergarten, Vietnam
One of the most impressive rooftops on our list truly gives back by allowing children to learn about agriculture and build a strong connection with nature, while also providing plenty of outdoor greenspace for play. Designed by Vo Trang Nghia Architects, this green roof provides insulation to the school, one of many passive, energy-saving strategies in this sustainable site.
It’s clear why more commercial and residential spaces are embracing their often-overlooked roofs. Especially in urban areas already tight on space, rooftops can provide a great alternative to a front or back yard for outdoor entertainment and relaxation. Experiencing the vastness of your surroundings with an unforgettable rooftop is a priceless addition to any building.