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Learning by green design

If you’re a primary school wanting to incorporate an outdoor classroom into the learning environment, you can’t do much better scenery wise than Queenstown. Remarkables Primary School, a newly built enviro school designed by architect Babbage Consultants, has done just that by creating a roof top garden that that doubles as an outdoor learning and playing space for pupils and teachers—the additional space even more significant because the school site is approximately half the size of a typical New Zealand primary school. 

The green roof, designed by Auckland-based Greenroofs Ltd, has a number of environmental benefits up its sleeves too. As well as reducing stormwater runoff, it also helps absorb aircraft noise from the nearby airport and helps merge the building into the surrounding landscape. 

Built in two phases, the roof is made up of a wide variety of sedum and succulent plants manually planted into the growing medium. The plants, which will turn into different colours throughout the year, were chosen for their hardiness so they would be able to survive the cold Queenstown winters. 

Every city contains up to 32 percent of unused landscape in the form of roofspace. As well as minimising pollution and reducing infrastructure requirements in cities, especially stormwater, green roofs are also encouraging wildlife back into the urban environment and can create energy cost savings. Some popular international examples include the Vancouver Trade Centre and the California Academy of Sciences. Locally, the Waitakere Central Civic Centre in Auckland offers a good example of a green roof in action. 

For more on the role of green roofs/walls in the urban landscape, check out these other Design Daily stories.

Sprout it from the rooftops 

Naked walls and rooftops turn green with envy 

Wall flowers take centre stage