In a dense city like London, sometimes the only place to build is up. Designed for a family of six by Tonkin Liu, in collaboration with Richard Rogers, the Roof Garden Apartment is an exploration in rooftop architecture and the greening of an urban landscape. The two-story apartment located in Shoreditch sits on top of a Victorian warehouse and is slowly growing greener every year, as its trailing ivy and other plants take root on the mesh exterior. The energy-efficient design of the structure sits well with the lush living exterior, green roof, rainwater collection system and solar collectors.
It took a total of 7 years to obtain the necessary properties and access rights to be able to build the apartment. After shoring up the building’s structure to be able to handle the new load, a steel and glass two-story apartment was built on top.
Access to the home is provided by a bridge from a neighboring building. A rooftop sun deck contains a green vegetated area along with solar collectors. The middle floor contains 5 identical bedrooms, two bathrooms and a playroom area; and downstairs is the kitchen, living area, office and master bedroom.
The south and the west facades are composed of argon-filled double glazed units that absorb heat during the winter. In the summer, external blinds and seasonal shading provided by wisteria plants protects the interior from overheating. Metal mesh on the east and west windows serves as a sun and rain screen, while providing structure for the plants to take hold of. Skylights on the roof pull daylight into the upstairs bathrooms and grilles in the floor and ceiling encourage natural ventilation.
The owners of the home wanted to have a place for their family to grow as well as a way to bring more greenery to the Shoreditch cityscape. London’s seasons are clearly seen on the exterior of the house as the plants grow and change throughout the year.
Images ©Michael Tonkin and Richard Bryant