An Earthen Roof
- As an architectural element, the contemporary green roof can be seen to have evolved from the Corbusian displacement of land from a building plot to its roof-as-garden. This element also draws a lineage from a more recent understanding of ground as a built piece of architecture itself, as illustrated in the collection of projects in Stan Allen’s Landform Building. The imageability of the green roof has also come to be known in popular culture as a product for ‘sustainability’ and is marketed to society as such.
- The socio-corporate image of the green roof has shifted from the picturesque garden to a compensatory performance of technology. This roof element shifted conceptually from a ‘cap’ to a ground-becoming-roof. In this project, I draw on the green roof’s dualistic identity as both roof and ground – extending the ‘territory’ of the green roof to that of the earth; understood materially as a plant-life/soil assemblage, and spatially as the sectional continuity from roof/ground to ceiling plane.
- Five techniques trace material consequences of the morphological character of the green-roof's imagability.
1. Erosion of green roof topsoil, infiltrating the structure meant to exclude ‘the elements’
2. Exposing root structures as experiential architectures
3. Slow and variable compaction rates
4. Exploiting angles of repose
5. Translation of the iconicity of ‘green roof’ to an imagining of ‘earth membrane’.
- These techniques enhance a dialogic relationship of built structure, landscape, environment, and imageability through sectional reveals of the ground-roof at the façade. The element, detailed in four parts, is deployed with spatial and enviro-temporal effects of accumulation and entropy, deconstructing our relationship with a traversable, planted substrate, the earth’s ‘natural’ surface, and a conception of the green roof ex situ to architecture’s formal and material compositions.