September 1, 2006
Green Roof Timeline
A timeline of the evolution of green roofs over the years.
1961: Berlin, Germany
Reinhard Bornkamm, a researcher at Berlin’s Free University, publishes his work on green roofs.
1969: GENO Haus: Stuttgart, Germany
The Styrofoam base of this government-sponsored green roof remained functional until it was replaced in 1990.
Landscape architects Gerda Gollwitzer and Werner Wirsing publish Roof Areas Inhabited, Viable, and Covered by Vegetation, an early treatise on modern green roofs.
1975: Mainz, Germany
The Landscape Research, Development & Construction Society, which has established widely followed green-roof standards, is founded.
1986: Hundertwasser Haus: Vienna, Austria
Friedensreich Hundertwasser’s public housing project in Vienna features trees and flowers on the building’s roof and balconies.
1993: Nine Houses: Dietikon, Switzerland
Architect Peter Vetsch builds nine concrete residences buried in earth and grass.
1995: Fukuoka Prefectural International Hall: Fukuoka, Japan
Emilio Ambasz transposes a 100,000-square-foot park in the city center onto 15 terraces of a new government building.
1997: Gap Headquarters: San Bruno, CA
William McDonough creates eco-friendly headquarters for the Gap, including a 69,000-square-foot green roof.
After seeing green roofs in Germany, Mayor Richard M. Daley directs municipal funds toward green-roof development.
1998: Washington, D.C.
The U.S. Green Building Council creates the LEED rating system; green roofs can contribute toward up to six points on the 69-point system.
1999: Toronto, Canada
Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, an organization of public and industry groups, is formed to promote the construction of green roofs in North America.
2000: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints: Salt Lake City
Olin Partnership’s terraced green roof includes a three-acre meadow.
2001: Chicago City Hall: Chicago
William McDonough and landscape architects Conservation Design Forum install the country’s first municipal green roof on Chicago’s city hall.
2003: Atlanta City Hall: Atlanta
The green roof on Atlanta’s city hall becomes the first municipally owned one in the Southeast.
2003: Ford Rouge Center: Dearborn, MI
William McDonough plants one of the largest green roofs in the world on Ford’s assembly plant, which now attracts ecotourists.
2003: The Solaire: New York
The first green residential high-rise in North America, designed by Rafael Pelli with landscape architect Diana Balmori, includes two green roofs.
2004: Millennium Park: Chicago
One of the largest green roofs in the world, the park extends 24.5 acres over underground parking garages.
2008: Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park: New York
The first Platinum LEED high-rise office building will include a 4,500-square-foot green roof on a connecting building.