Roof top gardens have been an enjoyable and attractive amenity for millennia in many of the world’s greatest cities but has been largely absent or misused in WA local houses and developments where the norm still seems to be large concrete blocks. For many rooftop gardens found in Australia, they often are not used properly or become an expedient device for developers trying to maximise profits.
Roof top gardens need to be administered properly so they provide the necessary benefits such as those found in many European cities like Greece, Spain or examples from the ancient world. They produce a desirable outcome for a small footprint in areas where land is scarce. The roof top gardens found in the Swanbourne Village Trust (SVT) are an attractive and practical design element which fits in very well to the quality of the whole development.
SVT architect, Garry Baverstock, has produced a set of guidelines for the Strata Company to assist in administering the roof top gardens and to ensure they are not misused and that they comply with what was envisioned from the design concept. One major issue with roof top gardens is the concern of privacy and that people will not overlook into their neighbour’s property and will use shade structures and close them in to in effect add another storey. The guidelines will provide a code of behaviour to protect the owner’s amenity from adjoining neighbours. These guidelines will undoubtedly be supported by council and incorporated in the Strata agreement, and solve any bad behavioural issues.
Often, developers use the area of roof top gardens as landscaped areas to fill up the site with more buildings and these gardens are often not used or left to rot. SVT complied with the open space regulations without counting in the area of the roof top gardens, so it was not a trick to get more density. Courtyard setbacks and landscaped areas were enough for the recommended site coverage area. The SVT’s rooftop gardens were designed as green areas that were on top of the mandatory site coverage areas for landscaping. In fact, from an aerial perspective, SVT will look like a garden, which was intentional to green up the suburb.
It is planned that the roof top gardens in the SVT will provide a highly desirable and useful amenity that is found in and valued in many of the world’s great cities.
Photo Credits: Nick Melidonis, www.nickmelidonis.com