FARRINGDON | roof terrace design
30mē roof terrace | art deco building
With the terrace being fairly exposed, getting some sun and immediately outside the living room, both the client and I were interested in a three-dimensional composition that will give a contemporary view. We matched the white of the walls with smooth powdercoated planters and hardwood decking to correspond with the interior floor. An evergreen collection of foliage follows the layout of the terrace giving a strong architectural elevation.
Here I was able to use some of my favourite architectural specimens. These had to be combined so that textures contrast as well as heights and colour. Betula albosinensis 'Fascination' - the Chinese red birch - is a winner on all levels. Having used it before on a 40th floor terrace project, I knew it is wind resistant, fast growing and sculptural. In fact, I could zoom in towards the Barbican and witness its progress having planted it years earlier. In order to transport the tall trees, a small crane was used to reach over to the 6th floor.
Viewed from an upper terrace, the space feels more like an outdoor room and you may forget for a moment that you are at the top of the Ziggurat building - adjoining one of the most hectic turnings in the centre of London. The contemporary architecture of free-standing planters presents many advantages, as with excellent drainage and timed irrigation growth performance is optimised. Developing this model for over a decade now, I am able to match patterns and outlines in each scheme to give a fitted appearance - not only in shape, colour and texture, but also enhance human ergonomics and maximise usage.
Similar projects: St Paul's small terrace | King's Cross penthouse | Shoreditch rooftop | Covent garden roof
CONTEMPORARY ROOF TERRACE | design considerations
Access is paramount as it may not be possible to get long items into the building. The lift should always be checked for size and all openings en route to the roof terrace measured for width and height. Larger planters are preferable on roof terraces as they are well balanced and the compost will retain moisture for longer.
Discreet drainage for containers helps keep surfaces free from staining and does it's magic away from view. Plenty of light-weight drainage material at the base of the planters, generous flow outlets and the right compost can sustain healthy displays for a long time.
Exposure to high winds calls for low vegetation with small or grey leaves, which tends to cope better. Automatic irrigation not only eliminates manual watering and saves water but is vital on roof terraces. Correct seasonal programming can sustain superior growth performance and should be customised for the varying conditions of each unique project.