Green roofs to improve climate resilience: the Roofscapes project

tejados verdes.jpg
tejados verdes.jpg

The city of Paris has witnessed the launch of the “Greening roofs” project by the startup Roofscapes, founded by three students from the MIT architecture program. The main objective of this project is to transform the sloping roofs of Paris into accessible green spaces, in order to lower temperatures, improve quality of life and foster climate resilience.

Three architects with a vision

The founders of Roofscapes, who grew up in France, met while studying architecture in Switzerland. After graduating and working at design firms for a few years, they began to discuss other ways they could make a difference. They wanted to do something different from what was done in conventional architectural firms. They thought of a startup and chose to go to MIT to have greater freedom to develop their skills and competencies in adapting the built environment to the climate and biodiversity crises.

After arriving at MIT, they signed up for the DesignX accelerator to explore ways to make cities greener. The idea they came up with was to use wooden structures to build flat, green platforms on the pitched roofs of old buildings in European cities. In European urban centers, two thirds of the roofs are sloping, and there is no solution to make them accessible and put green surfaces on them. On the other hand, there are many problems with heat islands and excessive heat in urban centers, among other problems such as the collapse of biodiversity, the retention of rainwater and the lack of green spaces. Green roofs are one of the best ways to address all of these issues.

Improve the quality of life in the city


Roofscapes has been making small models of the imagined green roofs and talking to structural engineers around the MIT campus. The founders also gained operational knowledge from the MIT Real Estate Center, where Levi studied.

In 2021, they exhibited a 170-square-foot model at the Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism in South Korea. The model showed roofs made of different materials and with different angles of inclination, along with versions of Roofscapes’ wooden platforms with gardens and greenery built on top.

interested neighbors


The founders say that at least once a week they get a call from a building owner or tenant who is excited to become a partner, and that they already have a list of more than 60 buildings to consider for their systems in the future. However, they plan to focus on testing a few pilot projects in Paris before expanding more rapidly using precast structures.

Even in the three years since they founded the company, the founders say they’ve seen their work take on a new sense of urgency. As people become aware of the impacts of climate change and the need to adapt, Roofscapes is ideally positioned to help cities meet today’s challenges.

The Roofscapes project is more than a solution for unused roofs. It is an innovative way of addressing multiple urban challenges at the same time, such as the need for green spaces, climate change mitigation and adaptation, rainwater retention and biodiversity. Additionally, by making these green spaces accessible, Roofscapes is improving the quality of life for city residents.

This project can also inspire other architects and urban planners to rethink the way urban spaces are used. Green roofs are not only a solution for old buildings in Europe, but also for modern cities around the world. Roofscapes has shown that even small businesses can have a big impact if they are willing to think outside the box.

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Brian Adam
Professional Blogger, V logger, traveler and explorer of new horizons.