Cities in the Skies: The Future of Rooftop Homes

Vacant lots are quickly disappearing as cities become more crowded. Housing prices are soaring, and cities are building out, encroaching on rural areas and swallowing up surrounding land. Although zoning laws can be changed to allow for denser housing, this is only a partial solution and will not offer long-term relief from overcrowding. What if we began to build up rather than out? For one group of architects, this possibility might just be a reality.

When Metsä Wood, a Finnish wood products company, launched the “City Above the City” competition, their goal was to inspire architects to tackle the problem of urbanization and overcrowding using versatile green building materials such as the company’s own veneer products. One of the design entries, named “Dachkiez, Village on the Roof,” just might have revolutionized the way this problem is approached and addressed.

“Dachkiez,” which was designed by Sigurd Larsen, Simon Jendreizig, Vanessa Panagiotopoulou, Marlene Kjeldsen, Guillermo Fernandez Villar and Pedro Campos Altozano, was built on top of a massive building located in Berlin. The wood homes were made using flexible wooden units with optional plug-ins to add bedrooms or other extensions. They also feature large windows and common areas.

This revolutionary concept could change the way inner cities grow. Rather than tearing down old buildings to replace them with large apartment blocks, these building modules can be easily added to the rooftops. This type of new housing has the added benefit of preserving the city’s skyline and character while still offering plenty of room to grow.

Rooftop wooden homes are space-efficient, but they’re also built on a strong foundation. As buildings sit, the ground compresses, enabling them to support more weight. Concrete also gets stronger with age: Concrete can take years or even decades to fully cure. Building on top of other buildings enables architects to take advantage of these strengths and eliminate the need to start from scratch.

To install the housing units, the roof is first transformed into a park-like landscape with trees and scenic pathways. The new housing is modular, making it fast and easy to build as it is incorporated into the roofscape. There’s minimal disruption to the rest of the building’s inhabitants, and the units can be completely customized to meet a variety of individual and family needs.

Every part of the wooden homes has been carefully planned, designed and implemented right down to the wood used to build them. Wood is a lightweight, fully renewable construction material, and it maintains a comfortable interior temperature.

Jacaranda’s real wood veneers offer the same versatility in an eco-friendly package. Our wood products can be used in homes, businesses, hospitals, retail establishments and schools. They are easy to apply and designed to last many years. With an impact-resistant finish and variety of patterns, colors and species, SanFoot and other veneer products can be used for just about any application. Contact us today to learn more about our products or to schedule a consultation with one of our experts.