The Nottingham Trent University design includes pools, green courtyards and a glass dome linking the two buildings. The Arkwright and Newton buildings are undergoing the overhaul following design work from Hopkins Architects and the university's environmental team.
A total of 13 different varieties of sedum are being used in the roof, which extends over two separate wings of the university.
The university aims to help improve air quality and absorb carbon dioxide with its green roof.
Contractors from Bowmer & Kirkland are on site at the city centre project. And, as part of the £70m revamp, a piece of contemporary architecture is being inserted between the Newton and Arkwright buildings. The centrepiece is a glazed centre court with a walk-around balcony.
The original Arkwright building was built between 1877 and 1881 by Lockwood & Mawson, a prominent Yorkshire architectural practice. The author DH Lawrence began his studies at the site, when it was known as University College Nottingham. In addition, the Newton building is one of the highest buildings in the city at 46m and was given its Grade II* listing in April 1998 on its 40th anniversary.
Once the work is completed, the university plans to use some of the facilities for conferences and events such as weddings.