Color me shocked, but did Los Angeles really just recently get its first green roof? 

For a city famed for innovative architecture and verdant landscaping, I’m truly astonished that the Alexis Rochas-designed green roof atop the downtown residential building, The Flat, is being heralded as the city’s first.

I’m also surprised that The Flat’s website doesn’t list the roof as one of the building’s amenities but, hey, I’d settle for the paid utilities, the heated pool, and in-house restaurant and lounge. Throw a 3,000-square-foot rooftop garden into the mix and I’m sold.

The rooftop garden, dubbed SynthE, is actually not flat, per say, but is comprised of a series of space-efficient tiered platforms or “grow channels” constructed from sheet metal. The “grow channels” are filled with special engineered soil as to not make the garden too heavy; excessive weight being a major obstacle when retrofitting older buildings (in this case a former Holiday Inn) with green roofs.

In addition to hosting over 20 different varieties of vegetables and herbs tended to by the building’s residents and the chefs at the ground-floor eatery, Blue Velvet, SynthE absorbs stormwater runoff, filters pollutants, and provides thermal insulation.

Rochas describes SynthE in more detail in this video

In a couple of weeks, I'll be visiting L.A. for a spell (got any good green suggestions? Drop a line!) and I've started to plan out a rough itinerary: A visit to the new Monocle shop in Brentwood, burgers at Father's Office, my normal pilgrimage to Wacko, ample family time. I'm adding a meal with rooftop-grown ingredients at Blue Velvet to the list. And if I'm lucky, maybe I'll make friendly with one of the building residents and get a peek at the only true rooftop oasis in downtown L.A. If that doesn't happen, I'll just live vicariously through the photos of a rooftop party thrown by Curbed LA. 

Via [The Architect's Newspaper] via [TreeHugger] via [Trendhunter]

Image: Sam Lubbell 

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Flat-out green
Meet Alexis Rochas, the architect behind L.A.'s first green roof that’s atop a Holiday Inn-turned-swank apartment complex.