Rooftop gardens and resident’s podiums are changing the look and feel of many new projects. Rooftop gardens are highly prized and are no longer a novelty, as facilities and evolving design standards create wonderful appealing spaces that buyers can’t get enough of. While it used to be that a pool was the ‘must-have’ today for many new developments, the raison-detre is shared by access to the rooftop.

Since 2007 Green Roofs Australasia has been a champion in this area and according to GRA web site: ‘The concept of creating green cities by synthesizing urban environments with natural ecosystems based on adaptability, sustainability, resilience and interconnectivity began in Babylon around 10BC, hence this is not theoretical fantasy and since Babylon the technology and expertise has vastly improved which is what GRA promotes.’

Usefully positioned high above a busy neighbourhood, rooftop space affords views, privacy and areas for recreation in what was once a neglected space.

Altessa, Gordon

A space where 40 or 50 years ago you might have seen the odd cloths line and bare concrete. Today the picture is very different and constantly evolving, as we seem to re-embracing a history that dates back to Babylon.

It’s no mirage that as you drive around our inner-city areas that rooftop gardens and pavilion-inspired resort space for residents are popping up everywhere. In Melbourne a recent survey by the City Council noted more than 50 such sites in the city, many on high-rise projects.

Rooftop space is a great way to help provide outdoor space as high-density living becomes ever more appealing. The trend is also helping us manage environmental pressures. We are seeing highly innovative designs creating rooftop spaces to relax, exercise under sunny skies or even watch a movie bathed with star-studded nights. Rooftop gardens offer the ability to create shared common ‘rooms’ with varied spaces unlocked by clever design and planting.

Experts are helping to carefully select trees and foliage and that includes many Australian native species to survive the harsh, exposed rooftop conditions. As higher density living becomes far more common we are catching up to a well establish trend in Europe and Asia, where space has been at a premium.

Today we see rooftop gardens and high-end bars in many of the world’s tourism hot-spots and the trend is spreading. Locally as we move from the idea of a large 1/4-acre garden to apartment living, rooftop gardens are an ideal way to create open space. And while we might not yet have rooftop golf courses or the earlier glitter of NYC, these areas do include popular facilities like BBQ area, roof top dining and easy access to views.

Rooftop gardens are also one asset that get better with age. Over the years any investment by the developer and in body corporate maintenance is well-worth the effort as residents enjoy views that could include distant skyscrapers framed by trees and ‘fields’ of native grass.

Three really great examples I would like to mention are the West End Residences in Glebe, where rooftop space and terraces are a design innovation for this inner-city location. The Esplanade located in Sydney’s north-west at Norwest Business Park, is a perfect example of how outdoor space has been designed to deliver a great lifestyle offer and Altessa, Gordon captures great aspects of the Lane Cove National Park and Blue Mountains from several rooftop garden areas.