Green Roof Timeline
A timeline of the evolution of green roofs over the years.
Posted September 11, 2006
1961: Berlin, Germany
Reinhard Bornkamm, a researcher
at Berlin’s Free University, publishes his work on green
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
Hundertwasser’s public housing project in Vienna features trees and
flowers on the building’s roof and balconies.
1993: Nine Houses: Dietikon, Switzerland
Peter Vetsch builds nine concrete residences buried in earth and
1995: Fukuoka Prefectural International Hall: Fukuoka,
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
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
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
Olin Partnership’s terraced green roof includes a
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
2003: Ford Rouge Center: Dearborn, MI
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
2008: Bank of America Tower at One Bryant Park: New
The first Platinum LEED high-rise office building will
include a 4,500-square-foot green roof on a connecting building.