Italy’s Green Roofs Blend the Built Environment with Regional Landscapes

Italy’s Green Roofs Blend the Built Environment with Regional Landscapes

Green roofs are popular for their environmental and aesthetic benefits, and in Italy they’re often used to help buildings blend into hilly surroundings. During my travels in Italy last summer, I decided to seek out the region’s top green roof facilities. My passion for green roof design goes beyond the inherent beauty associated with biomass on the rooftop; the introduction of green roofs to city landscapes can bring about many social and environmental benefits. In fact, green roofs are one example of how easy it is to introduce regenerative architecture and a natural environment back into the city landscape. While in Italy, I found prime examples of green roofs in the North, Central and Southern regions.

Salewa Headquarters in South Tyrol

The Salewa headquarters is located in South Tyrol, which is actually in the Northern region of Italy where the locals speak German. To live up to its name as a leading multi-sports and mountaineering company, the Salewa headquarters also boast Italy’s largest outdoor climbing wall as well as other world-class facilities. 
Salewa’s large green roof creates an accessible green space for employees. The green roof also creates a vantage point that highlights the metal-clad building mountainous form, which mirrors the surrounding landscape. The building also includes employee offices, product storage and a retail store. In addition to the green roof, the designers covered unused roof space with rows of solar panels.

Community Center in Sora, Italy

If you go 118 km south of Rome, you can reach a refurbished corten steel and travertine community center tucked the hills of Sora, Italy. Floor to ceiling windows fill the interior with natural daylight and provide views of the rocky hillside. A green roof tops the zigzagging building to integrate the architecture into the landscape. The center is two stories high and provides excellent acoustics for public speaking and music concerts. The restoration was led by Italian architects Mario Morganti, Gianfranco Cautilli and engineered by Renato Morganti. 

Il Vulcano Buono in Nola, Italy

World famous architect Renzo Piano designed a stunning mixed use shopping center in Nola, Italy called Il Vulcano Buono, or ’The Good Volcano.’ The designs is an abstraction of the nearby (active!) volcano Vesuvius. Surrounded by an eye-catching green roof skirt studded with skylights, the cone-shaped structure slopes upwards from 82 feet to 135 feet in height with a total diameter of 1050 feet. The massive Il Vulcano Buono comprises a shopping center, hotel, offices, restaurants, public spaces and much more. 
Lead image by Renzo Piano Building Workshop, all others copyright to author
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1 Comment

  1. Fantastic!  They are all awesome and especially love Il Vulcano Buono mimicking Vesuvius… so cool.  Looks like an epic trip, Davis!  

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