Gallery: Toronto’s City Hall Podium Sprouts a Green Rooftop Park


Over Memorial Day weekend the City of Toronto unveiled a stunning green roof on top of City Hall, and it is getting glowing praise from all who have seen it. Lloyd Alter was on hand for the opening and got some good shots of the sedum-covered and artfully landscaped roof garden. Toronto-based PLANT Architects led the design team for this gorgeous urban green space, which is part of a much larger plan for the revitalization of Nathan Phillips Square.

Photo by Lloyd Alter

Toronto City Hall was originally built back in the sixties and designed by Viljo Revell, who envisioned the Podium Hall as a grand place for civic events, but it never really became popular and the roof fell into disrepair. Then last year Toronto issued a Bylaw that requires all new buildings and retrofits to include a green roof, and the city decided to lead the way with a renovation of their city hall and a revitalization of Nathan Phillips Square. PLANT Architects led the design team assisted by Shore Tilbe Irwin & Partners with furniture designer Adrian Blackwell and Chicago-based landscape architect Peter Schaudt.

The old podium roof is replaced with the new green roof consisting of three parts: a sedum mosaic, a paved courtyard that frames the curved chamber and a deck café that occupies the prow. The drought-tolerant landscaping is a field of purple, pink, yellow/orange and green colored sedum, which was apparently inspired by Paul Klee’s Polyphony (1932), and is planted in pre-vegetated tray system. Benches and shade structures made from Ipe wood are scattered around the gardens.

+ PLANT Architects

Via Treehugger and The Globe and Mail

Photo credits: Lloyd Alter and PLANT Architects


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  1. Tiny London Lot Transfo... September 10, 2010 at 1:01 am

    […] Costing only £220,000, the home packs in a lot of green amenities, like solar passive design, a living sedum roof, recycled materials, an air-source heat pump, sheep’s wool insulation and Insulslab concrete […]

  2. miccomte June 4, 2010 at 10:28 am

    Paul Klee has inspired many painters, including myself. As suche he deserves a great thank you.

  3. Calvin K June 1, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    For us (Torontonians) it was over the Doors Open weekend, since we don’t have Memorial Day (our Remembrance Day is in Nov). It’s a city wide event where many places, buildings, architectures are opened for visit, including places that are normally closed to the public.
    I was at the roof top garden… thought it would be awesome if there were solar panels too! So much real estate exposed to the bright, hot sun.

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