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.

1971: Germany
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.

1998: Chicago
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.

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