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Monday, January 25, 2010

In Vienna green roofs with trees

See what can be done with a green roof if you have a Viennese imagination, and a forward looking mind. "The roof of one apartment is the garden of the next .." (Nigel Dunnett)

Hundertwasser-Haus was built in 1988 before we  in the U.S  had heard of carbon footprints, heat islands in cities,the contamination by run-off .

 Embarrassing to say, be we lag badly in our address to the problems created by in-fill in our cities. Below  is Hundetrwasser-Haus in Vienna (the photo is from the Hundertwasser-Haus archive)

According to Nigel Dunnett, this building set off a revolution in green roofs in Germany and Central Europe.You can see why- imaginative, practical,  whimsical  and people oriented. No mid-century minimalism going on here. (Do minimalists like trees? Orchids, and dramatic large-leafed dracaenas in giant pots--of course. But slightly loopy looking trees acting like trees---somehow I don't think so.)

Posted by Picasa   Here in So Cal we are struggling with both  drought and run-off. 75% of the water from rain runs off. 75%!!!
Green roofs catch the water, hold it, evaporate it slowly so it becomes rain again. The idea and efficacy of green roofs goes back-- literally--- to the Babylonians "hanging gardens" which worked the same way as the roof gardens of Hundertwasser-Haus.

Why can't we get with the program? It's not that hard--developers will co-operate if it is to their financial interest to do so on new urban  buildings. In Europe there's usually a trade--one or more condo or apartments allowed for green roof and solar power.This allows the developer a higher return on his investment, prevents heat islands developing as a result of new building, cuts down on the run-off problem, the carbon foot-print, etc.  So why are we dithering around ?The California legislature is enough to drive you mad, but even they would go for an idea that both environmentalists and money men could agree upon

 If you think green roofs are a good idea--tell your reps!  Tell Lois Capps, and the  the governor! Tell Obama! Tell everyone you can think of.  Become a green roof fanatic. The Squeaky Wheel .... you know the rest.

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