From solar arrays and green roofs to exquisite gardens and massive farms, rooftops in New York City boast a lot more than just air conditioners and water towers. Covering our buildings’ roofs is a hallmark of sustainable building, and in a dense urban landscape like the Big Apple, it also makes total sense for maximizing our space. While green gardens and relaxing sundecks are no-brainers, what about entire houses? More than a few New Yorkers have turned building rooftops into their own private plots. Not only are these abodes a unique twist on green roofs, but they add some unexpected variety to our concrete jungle. Hit the jump for a look at NYC’s sky-high homes.

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We have long been fans of green prefab houses, and what better place to plop one down than on a rooftop? The sleek LoftCube is a chic and cheerful prefab designed specifically for rooftops. Designed by Werner Aisslinger, the square structure can be transported by helicopter and costs around $60,000 — a total steal for a rooftop apartment in New York City. For something even cheaper, the $2000 prefab Icosa Village Pod has been spotted on a Williamsburg rooftop. The geodesic dome folds into itself and can be easily assembled just about anywhere.

If rooftop prefabs can’t get you excited, what about an A-frame cottage or Cape Cod bungalow? Nick Carr, a film location scout, has documented a handful of fully-built rooftop homes that look like they were picked up in a tornado and accidentally dropped in NYC. On top of an East Village apartment building, there’s an ocean front beach house, complete with a horse weather vane, and between West 77th and West 78th Streets, there is a cute A-frame hidden on top of a building.

Of course, not all rooftop homes are cute and compact. This is New York City, after all, home of the extravagant lifestyle. Carr spotted a full-fledged suburban home — with a chimney! — on top of a 4 story building at 13th Street and 3rd Avenue. The wooden structure spans the entire building and even has a patio. There’s also a gorgeous, glass-walled 3-story house atop an unidentified building that has a deck on its own rooftop. Others have turned building rooftops into whole suburban landscapes, with a house, a yard, and a shed. Hey, why sacrifice city living for suburbia when you can create a better version in the middle of Manhattan?

Via Huffington Post (For more pictures see http://www.scoutingny.com)