By Beth Carter
Posting in Architecture
A community of rooftop villas has been constructed on top of a bustling shopping center in the city of Zhuzhou in Hunan Province.
A common part of the modern urban landscape is the rooftop garden. Where space is scarce, we make do with what we have, putting things like gardens in unconventional place. In China, however, this notion of unconventional space-saving has been taken one step further. An entire community of rooftop villas has been constructed on top of a bustling shopping center in the city of Zhuzhou in Hunan province.
Despite issues concerning safety and legality, The Zhuzhou Jiutian Real Estate company has constructed the 4 buildings as offices for the 160 real estate management employees. Using the modern designs and landscape architecture, the buildings were modeled after villas but not intended to be sold.
In a province of over 4 million people, the 4 buildings are so well hidden that many residents haven't even seen them. They are up, 8 stories high on top a shopping center. Zhuzhou was named one of the national garden cities in 2008, paving the way for this kind of innovation.
This is a recent trend in urban China. In 2011, an ordinance was introduced requiring buildings over 12 floors or 45 meters(147.7 feet) to have green rooftops with living vegetation. And now using that as a spring board for future innovation these offices or villas are set to serve as a model for future rooftop undertakings.
I want to open this one up to the readers: what do you think about growing urban environments not outward, but instead upward? By building on top of buildings, you create not only a whole new skyline, but you also open up a ridiculous amount of space (though roof upgrades would be an inhibiting factor). I don't know how I feel about the sturdiness of a WalMart to hold a new neighborhood, but these offices (or villas?) raise interesting questions about how to grow when space is nowhere to be found.
Image: China Foto Press
Aug 16, 2012
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I live in Austin, TX. It gets HOT here and going out can be a huge drag since the car becomes a torture chamber because of the sun. Places like Whole Foods downtown with underground parking are fabulous but uncommon. Malls, like Barton Square Mall, for some idiot reason do not use underground parking and waste the huge area on their roof. It would be beautiful, they could even grow food up there (and with food getting more and more expensive this would make sense) using greywater from the mall. Aquaculture would make for a closed system and provide fish for restaurants; and the top of the mall would have a unique view of the Austin area (the fact that they don't do this is particularly galling to those who lost their own view of downtown when the mall was built, blocking it). If lightweight greenhouses were build over the parking lot, the spaces would be cooled and so would the ambient temperture of the area since the asphalt would not be absorbing and radiating the heat all day. Anyone owning a large area should consider any part of it not greened to be potential growing space, hydroponically or in a roof garden as in the above.