Urban Nature – An inner-city rooftop greenhouse with vertical garden by Kuehn Malvezzi and atelier le balto
In contrast to the landscape, gardens are spaces that express density: limited space, architectural framework, artificial arrangement and technical operation. Gardens belong to the city, especially small gardens. But how can they also be public and become places for the general public?
This was the challenge that Kuehn Malvezzi architects and atelier le balto took on in their recently realised design for a commercial building with a rooftop greenhouse and vertical garden on Oberhausen’s Altmarkt.
The building-integrated rooftop greenhouse planned in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute / Umsicht is an expression of infarming, in which inner-city cultivation enables sustainable plant production without transport routes to the consumer. At the same time, it reduces energy consumption, carbon emissions and resource consumption by using the material cycles of the office building for plant cultivation. The vertical garden, which was not envisaged in the competition brief, was developed by the architects to connect the greenhouse with the market place in the form of a promenade, thus making it a public space.
Wilfried Kuehn is a partner in the architectural studio Kuehn Malvezzi in Berlin and Professor of Spatial Design and Design at the Vienna University of Technology.
Public spaces and buildings are key areas of Kuehn Malvezzi’s work. Projects realised include the extension of the Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart in Berlin (2004), the Julia Stoschek Collection in Düsseldorf (2006), the extension of the Museum Belvedere in Vienna (2009), the extension of the Moderne Galerie Saarlandmuseum (2017) and the Insectarium Montreal (2021). In 2012, the office won the international competition for the interreligious House of One on the historic foundations of Berlin’s earliest churches at Petriplatz, which is under construction. The controversial competition entry for Berlin’s Humboldt Forum was awarded the German Critics’ Prize in 2009.
We also need to break new ground on the issue of materiality.