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Greenroof Project of the Week for October 21, 2013: California Academy of Sciences, The Osher Living Roof

on October 21, 2013 at 4:17 pm under Project of the Week: 10/21/13

California Academy of Sciences,
The Osher Living Roof
San Francisco, CA, USA

197,000 sq. ft Greenroof


Project Description & Details

In the heart of one of the country’s largest urban parks, the award-winning LEED Platinum California Academy of Sciences stands proudly as a green museum in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. Its 2.5-acre undulating Osher Living Roof sits 35 feet in the air planted with a variety of native wildflowers and other species. The mounds on the roof are dotted with circular skylights fitted with heat sensors, and the skylights open to further cool the building when a certain temperature is reached. The planted area is surrounded by 60,000 photovoltaic cells that supply 5 to 10 percent of the academy’s energy needs and prevent the release of more than 405,000 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

Rana Creek Living Architecture worked with Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Chong and Partners Architecture, SWA Group, ARUP Engineering, and the Academy to design the living roof that covers the vegetated roof with seven dramatic hills of four steeply (almost 60 degrees) sloped domes – replicating the surrounding rolling hills. An open-air observation terrace enables visitors to get a close-up look at the roof’s lush canopy of plants.

Year: 2007
Owner: California Academy of Sciences
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA
Building Type: Museum
Type: Extensive, Test/Research
System: Custom
Size: 197,000 sq. ft
Slope: 65%
Access: Inaccessible, By Appointment


Designers/Manufacturers of Record:

Architect: Renzo Piano Building Workshop
Architect: Chong Partners Architecture
Engineering and Sustainability Consulting: Arup
Landscape Architecture: SWA Group
Greenroof Consultant: Rana Creek Living Architecture
Ecological Consultant: Paul Kephart, Rana Creek
General Contractor: Webcor Builders
Waterproofing: American Hydrotech
Building Envelope Design Consultant – Waterproofing Design: Simpson Gumpertz & Heger
Modular Greenroof System: BioTray™ by Tremco
Senior Curator of Botany: Frank Almeda, California Academy of Sciences

Photos courtesy of Tom Fox, SWA Group.

Click here to see more information about this project in The International Greenroof & Greenwall Projects Database.

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Love the Earth, Plant a Roof!

~ Linda V.