Roof gardens to be used for teaching and research at new £76m Greenwich University building

The new £76m University of Greenwich's Department of Architecture and Landscape building is due to open on Monday (15 September), when students arrive for the 2014/15 academic year.

Adele Brooks and Ed Wall in the wetland roof garden
Adele Brooks and Ed Wall in the wetland roof garden

The purpose-built university campus in the centre of Greenwich, designed by Heneghan Peng Architects with landscape architecture by Allen Scott features 14 roof gardens of varied habitats which will used for teaching and research, as well as two glass houses, an algae farm, bee garden and plans for several green walls.

In charge of the overall project, Greenwich University architect Adele Brooks told Horticulture Week that the roof gardens started as grassy roofs prompted by a ban on putting plant there, as it was located in a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

However, once she started speaking to the academics who would use the building, the idea blossomed – and the concept of educational roof gardens helped her secure planning permission for the scheme.

"We wanted an outdoor space for students with wifi outdoors and lighting on upper floors but what came out of discussions with the landscape department was great, there were so many ideas," Brooks said.

"We ended up with a £450,000 scheme which meets everyone’s aspirations.

"The neighbours were worried about how students were going to use the space, they didn’t want parties on the roof and just a social space for students but when we went back to them and said our landscape students are going to use them for teaching and research they were actually a lot more relaxed."

The building has been awarded an innovation credit from BREEAM.

See this week’s edition of Horticulture Week for more about the new facility and an interview with head of landscape Ed Wall.

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