In Fukuoka City in Japan, they have an amazing building called “ACROS Fukuoka” with two very distinct sides: one side looks like a conventional office building with glass walls, but on the other side there is a huge terraced roof that merges with a park. The garden terraces, which reach up to about 60 meters above the ground, contain some 35,000 plants representing 76 species. A huge semicircular atrium and the triangular lobby provide contrast to the greenery, in this space is a symphony hall, offices and shops.
The building was constructed on the last remaining green space in the city center, so the architects, Emilio Ambasz & Associates, created a design to preserve the green space as much as possible, while still fitting in a large office building. In addition, a green roof reduces the energy consumption of a building, because it keeps the temperature inside more constant and comfortable. Green roofs also capture rainwater runoff, and support the life of insects and birds.
The building is a success in Japan, its terraced south facade utilized by many in the area for exercise and rest, affording views of the city and the harbor beyond. Unfortunately it has received little press overseas, especially in the United States.
This building was also featured in a book showcasing green roofs. Published last year, this visually attractive book has photos and descriptions of forty case studies of exemplary green roof projects — from Mexico City to Malmo, Sweden to Fukuoka, Japan to Dearborn, Michigan. It includes contributions from many of the leading people in the field. The book is intended to inform and inspire communities, designers, building owners by showcasing the environmental and aesthetic potential of large-scale green roofs. It’s available from Amazon for $26.37.