The Rise of Living Architecture (Book Review)

Living architecture
© The rise of living architecture

Ten years ago, if you were an architect showing off your building in a rendering, you would show it from the ground, looking up. Now, everyone shows them in a birds-eye view from above, because green roofs have made the tops of buildings their most beautiful face.

High line eveningIt's a little quieter in the evening/ Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

Ten years ago, green roofs were rare in North America. That's around when the Green Roofs for Healthy Cities organization was founded, to promote the green roof industry. It's now a different world, with green roofs, living walls, rooftop farms and vertical gardens popping up everywhere. It's no longer just about green roofs, it's now Living Architecture.

toronto city hall green roof image

To celebrate the anniversary, Steven Peck, President of GRHC, has put together a book about it, titled, The Rise of Living Architecture. It starts with essays outlining the benefits, public and private, and then honors the people in North America that have made this happen, the designers, builders, and even the politicians who put living architecture into the local bylaws. A lot of them have been in TreeHugger; Steven Peck himself taught me how to plant a green roof and I wrote about the hands-on experience.

best of green design and architecture photo royal york

The book is coffee-table ready, beautifully designed by Ian Rapsey. It is really a homage to the North American experience, with no mention of what is happening in Europe or Asia, which is a shame for those interested in learning about the full history of green roofs, rather than just the history of the GRHC. But if you want to learn about who and what's happening in Canada or the USA, it's all here. Available from the GRHC.

"Living architecture" is a great name for what started as green roofs and has become so much more. I hope that it catches on.

The Rise of Living Architecture (Book Review)
Green roofs, living walls, vertical farms are all part of a new living architecture.

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