20 Crazy, Creative & Amazing Green Roofs

Green roofs are now a common sight on residential, commercial and public architecture around the world, but who knew that they were sprouting up – literally – in the most bizarre and unexpected places, like bus shelters and dog houses? These 20 green roofs take lawns to new heights, whether they’re used in strange new ways or are just totally amazing.

Living Bus Shelters

(images via: greenroofs.com, sfblogg.com, torontoist)

A bus shelter is one of the last places you’d expect to see a living roof, yet here are just three of many found around the world, whether commissioned by their respective cities or installed on the sly. In San Francisco, the grassy shelters that sprouted up were an advertising campaign by California Academy of Sciences, while one in Toronto with a white picket fence was the handiwork of guerilla gardeners.

Hidden Homes on a Private Pond

(image via: inhabitat)

From afar, it just looks like a hilly landscape, albeit one with some curious white vents sticking out of it. But get up close and you see that this incredible little community by Vetsch Architektur in Switzerland is actually a cluster of green-roofed houses on a private pond. The green roof can support edible plants, and the 9 homes fit for hobbits or regular-sized humans have all the comforts of modern dwellings.

Green Roof Subway Entrance

(image via: barclayscenter.com)

Buses aren’t the only form of public transportation sporting green roofs. While you won’t see grass growing on top of a subway anytime soon (or at least, it seems highly unlikely), the controversial Barclays Center in Brooklyn will feature a subway entrance planted with sedum.

Cars Need Green Roofs, Too?

(images via: treehugger, dangpanda)

If green roofs can help keep homes cooler, won’t it work for vehicles, too? Beijing taxi driver Zhishai planted two square meters of grass on his  roof and says that it makes a significant difference. But sometimes, it’s just decoration – like the interesting grass garden (and tree!) planted on a junk car by the Community Vehicular Reclamation Project, another guerilla group in Toronto.

It’s Happening on Houseboats

(images via: jetson green, designsquish)

Life definitely has its benefits – but you give up having a nice grassy yard to enjoy. Or do you? These two houseboats prove that green roofs work on the water, too, providing a nice little swath of soil no matter how far you are from the actual shore.

Sloping Green Roof is Also a Yard

(image via: landhouse.co.uk)

Lot too small to enjoy any green space? Create your own with this awesome sloping green-roofed prefab home. Unlike many other green roof designs, this one by land artist Mark Merer is easily accessible from ground level even on an above-ground home. ‘Landhouses’ are made of structural insulated panels and can be constructed in just a couple of days.

Living Millinery

(images via: picture is unrelated, offbeatblog)

Why stick to putting green roofs on structures when you can put one on yourself, like this grass-loving guy in a full-on grass suit complete with a tie and a matching car. But perhaps ‘green roof’ hats aren’t just for kooky guys that might just be on their way to Burning Man. They’re high-fashion, too – at least, on the runway at the 8th annual Tulips and Pansies fashion show in New York, as shown on the right.

Green Roofs are for the Birds

(images via: friendsschoolplantsale, workshopped, etsy)

Some birds come by green roofs the all-natural way, because they nest underground. But others can live it up eco-style in man-made houses with built-in planter roofs. Green-roofed birdhouses and bird feeders are available pre-made on Etsy.com, or you can make one yourself with plans from friendsschoolplantsale.com.

Green Roof Goat Pasture

(image via: treehugger)

We all know that green roofs keep buildings cooler, retain water, improve air quality and provide a habitat for local wildlife. But some people stretch that last benefit to its limit by making green roofs a high-rise pasture for goats. This one is found at Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant in Door County, Wisconsin.

Don’t Forget Your Furry Friends

(images via: instructables, indyweek, seattle times)

Doghouses can be hot, uncomfortable places, so they could definitely benefit from the cooling action of a green roof, especially in warmer climates. It’s easy to find plans on the internet, including ‘Green Roofed Dog Veranda’ at Instructables and ‘DIY Green Roof-Roof’ at Indyweek.com.

Yep, Creepy Shutter Island Prison Has One, Too

(image via: ecorazzi)

Maybe this is something that the average person wouldn’t catch, but greenies the world over marveled at the stunning expanse of grass on the roof of the Ward C complex in the movie Shutter Island. Visual effects artist Matthew Gretzner reveals that while the building as shown in the film is just a model and not a real place, it’s based on a civil war fort in Jefferson, Florida. The ‘green roof’ actually had a practical purpose for the fort, to take the impact of cannon balls – so the use of it in the film is historically accurate.

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