Plans for World’s Largest Green Roof in Silicon Valley

Creating livable green spaces in the middle of urban sprawl is a great goal. And good work in elevated green spaces has been done in the last 10 years. This image is a rendering of a proposed huge green roofing and park project spanning many buildings (double the size of the current largest green roof).

image rendering of proposed green roof spanning multiple buildings

Rendering of proposed green roof.

The whole development seems pretty spectacular and the huge green roofing concept is very cool. I wonder how likely it is to be developed? The location in the Silicon Valley makes it much more likely it seems to me as there is plenty of money there for extravagance. The entire project is estimated at $3 billion.

World’s largest green roof unveiled in the heart of Silicon Valley

The Hills at Vallco’s crown jewel is without a doubt its $3 million 30-acre green roof, an unprecedented engineering feat that’s “at least twice as big as anything attempted before it.” The elevated community park will include 3.8 miles of walking and jogging trails along rolling hills, orchards, vineyards, meadows, organic gardens, children’s play areas, and a sanctuary for native fauna and flora.

On street-level, the new mixed-use neighborhood will feature a highly walkable and bikeable downtown street-grid anchored by two town squares. Parking would be primarily tucked underground and a transit center may be built at the shopping center. The 15-block street grid will be filled with 625,000 square feet of retail, 2 million square feet of office space, and 800 residential units.

I am not sure what the $3 million price tag includes. It sure doesn’t seem like much money given the scope. My guess is it must exclude most of the costs – such as creating the infrastructure for laying the green roof; unless it is much cheaper than I would think.

The development site sits between Apple’s Infinite Loop headquarters and the spaceship-like Apple Campus 2 in Cupertino, California.

Related: The Benefits of Green RoofsUniversity of California, Berkeley: 2010 Livable Buildings AwardsWonderful Low Impact Woodland House with a Green Roof

China Opens the World’s Largest Building

New Century Global Centre is a multipurpose building in Chengdu, China. The building has 1,700,000 square meters of floor space, making it the world’s biggest building measured by floor space. It is half a million square feet larger than the former title holder, Dubai’s International Airport Terminal 3. It is 3 times the size of the Pentagon.

The Boeing Everett Factory in Everett, Washington has the largest volume, and the Aalsmeer Flower Auction Building in Aalsmeer, Netherlands, has the largest footprint.

Nearly 400,000 square meters of the building will be devoted to shopping. It will also house offices, conference rooms, a university complex, two commercial centers, hotels, an IMAX cinema, a “Mediterranean village”, a pirate ship, a skating rink and a 5,000 square meter artificial beach.

The building was designed by award-winning British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid.

The Intercontinental Hotel will feature 1,009 rooms that are spread over 6 x 8 story blocks around the edge of the complex.

While parts of the shopping area are open, the main opening is planned for 22 August 2013.

Related: Underground Hotel, Shimao WonderlandWonderful Low Impact Woodland House

Benefits of Green Roofs

I hope this idea gets adopted on a more widespread basis. Reducing storm water runnoff and reducing heat in the city are nice. But I really think it just provides a wonderful living space which is even more important.

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Phone Booth with Roof Lawn in Hoh Rain Forest

Influential Architects: Mies van der Rohe

Mies van der Rohe was born in Germany and moved to the USA during his career as an Architect. He was known for stripping down design to the minimal structure needed.

Examples of his architecture include: Farnsworth House, Seagram Building, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, and the Neue Nationalgalerie at the Kulturforum is a museum for modern art in Berlin.

In addition to buildings he designed furniture including, the Barcelona chair, the Brno chair, and the Tugendhat chair.

Related: Mies van der Rohe SocietyLow Impact Woodland HouseFundació Mies van der Rohe

University of California, Berkeley: 2010 Livable Buildings Awards

Entryway at the UC San Francisco Mission Bay research campus

The top 2010 Livable Buildings Award from the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for the Built Environment was awarded to the transformation (entryway shown in the photo above) of the shell of a former manufacturing plant near UC San Francisco’s new Mission Bay research campus into environmentally and user friendly offices.

The renovation, which included a full seismic upgrade, incorporated high-performance glazing with operable windows, sustainable finish materials, water conserving strategies, and efficient mechanical and lighting systems. The open perimeter is dedicated to open workspaces to maximize views, daylight, and natural ventilation. Private offices and core zones are grouped to create a central “boulevard” open to reception and conference areas.

One of the review jury comments: “Reusing a building with a large floorplate is a challenge; this project uses transparency, color, and materials to make a place where people want to work, and works well in terms of both aesthetics and sustainability.”

full press release

Headquarters of HuaiNan Animation Technology Industrial Park

Headquarters of HuaiNan Animation Technology Industrial Park

Headquarters of HuaiNan Animation Technology Industrial Park

Located in HuaiNan city, AnHui province in China, this project is the headquarters for the park that is going to be built.

Building Concept:
The idea of the buildings massing and spaces comes from the melting ice cubes.
Ice cubes tend to create a soft connection between each other as they melt down. This concept starts with normal boxes through which architects get integrated and fluent spaces by dissembling and reconnect those boxes with curved surfaces. This kind of space organization brings the building much more complexity and diversity.

HuaiNan Animation Technology Industrial Park

Overhead view of HuaiNan Animation Technology Industrial park

Ice Cube Pattern: Architects took the cladding gaps as part of the designing elements while they confronted with the cladding division problem, same to the massing, concept for the cladding also came from ice cubes.
Ice cubs present an edge-to-center colour gradient due to the refraction happened as light beam comes through. Edges always seem darker and more solid than it appears in the center. Architects tried to get the same effect by controlling the gaps distance and density, following expansion images are the final result for claddings.

Design by Sunlay Design, China.