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january 2015
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Explore the Nature on Rooftops -
4th International Green Roof Congress
(20 – 21 April 2015) Istanbul/Turkey


By Wolfgang Ansel
International Green Roof Association (IGRA)


All Photos Courtesy of the International Green Roof Congress 2015 Unless Otherwise Noted






IGRA (the International Green Roof Association) is pleased to announce the 4th International Green Roof Congress.  Scheduled for the 20th and 21st of April 2015 in Istanbul, Turkey, this event will focus on successful solutions for sustainable development with Green Roofs in urban agglomerations.  The latest achievements in science and technology will also be presented. The congress languages are English and Turkish (simultaneous translation).

Istanbul has been experiencing a rapid increase in population due to migration.  This means a very fast urban transformation process is taking place in the Mediterranean metropolis, straddling two continents.  One of the main challenges of Istanbul's green policy is increasing the number of green areas within the whole city.  In order to “Explore the Nature on Rooftops” on the basis of an international information exchange the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality has given patronage to the congress.

Istanbul has some outstanding Green Roof projects (Copyright Onduline Avrasya).

The 4th Green Roof Congress of the International Green Roof Association will be held at the Zorlu Center's new Raffles Hotel in Istanbul.  The Zorlu Center, a dynamic and impressive gateway, redefines the experience of contemporary life in the urban core.  The mixed-use project has wide public spaces and grand-scale buildings, elements of urban and architectural quality that create a modern city in the 21st century.  With green spaces extending 72.000 m², the Center provides a home for 200 plant species including 68 different types of trees, an impressively greened project in its own right.

 The Green Roofs of the Zorlu Center, home to the Raffles Hotel and the Congress
(Copyright: Onduline Avrasya).

The congress program will have a distinctively interactive style with lectures and workshops.  Certified Green Roof experts, designers, landscape architects, landscape contractors, plant experts and delegates of municipal authorities will be sharing their knowledge and answering questions and queries in practice-oriented workshops.

 SOLARIS (Singapore) – a masterpiece of eco-architecture, designed by Congress keynote speaker
Dr. Ken Yeang (Copyright: IGRA).


The lectures will provide an inspiring mixture of progressive thinkers, new technical developments and innovative Green Roof applications in architecture, landscape architecture and climate protection.

Presentations include:

"Ecological Architecture and Master Planning": Dr. Ken Yeang, Principal of T.R.Hamzah & Yeang Sdn.Bhd.; Malaysia

"Shaping Liveable Cities – The Art to Integrate Blue, Green and Social Factors": Prof. Herbert Dreiseitl, Director of Ramboll Liveable Cities Lab; Denmark, Germany

"Humanizing the Megascale - Safdie Architects: Recent Works": Jaron Lubin, Principal of Safdie Architects; USA

"The Vertical Forest – Biodiversity Injection": Laura Gatti, Founder of Studio Laura Gatti; Italy

"A New Neigborhood in the City": Emre Arolat; Founder of Emre Arolat Architects; Turkey

"Ten Steps to Designing and Building Reliable Green Roofs": Roland Appl, President of IGRA; Germany.

25 lectures – 2 Workshops – 1 Vision: Explore the Nature on Rooftops

Detailed descriptions of the speakers are available at


A series of groundbreaking and high-profile projects involving Green Roofs and Living Walls will be presented at the congress.

Bosco Verticale, which means "vertical forest" in Italian, is a pair of residential towers in Milan (Italy) and a pioneering project for new high-rise buildings.  With heights of 119 and 87 meters and including 8,900 m² of terraces, the towers host more than 900 trees between three and six meters high.  The project was just recently selected for the 2014 International Highrise Award by an unanimous jury.  You can read more about that here.

The celebrated new green towers at Bosco Verticale (Copyright: IGRA).

The Marina Bay Sands Hotel, a Singaporean triplet of highrise towers 200 meters high, is bridged at the top with the impressive Sands SkyPark.  This 9,900 m² greened park features observatory space, gardens, jogging paths, restaurants, lounges and infinity pools that bring bathers and visitors to the edge of a singular view and destination.  The Sands SkyPark brings Green Roofs to a level of progressive design and technological finesse rarely seen before.

The 1.2 ha large Sands SkyPark is located characteristically in the living architecture hotspot and Garden City of Singapore (Copyright Frank Pinckers).

The Zorlu Center, completed in 2013 in Istanbul, hosts a series of large terraced Green Roofs in the form of gardens, offering guests and congress participants views over the Bosphorus.  Swaths of wild flowers and endemic plant species adorn the Green Roof space, which contributes to the 72,000 m² total landscaped area for the project.  The Zorlu Center is the result of two award-winning architectural groups: Architect Emre Arolat (EAA), winner of the Aga Khan-Prize, and Murat Tabanlioglu (Tabanlioglu Architects), who was presented with the RIBA International Award.

The award-winning mixed-use facility will host this year's International Green Roof Congress
(Copyright: Onduline Avrasya).

The new United World College (UWC) in Dilijan, Armenia was opened in October of 2014. Located directly on the border to the mountainous Dilijan National Park, the undulating building complex was equipped with green facades and Green Roofs planted with local vegetation. Housing libraries, laboratories, theater and lecture space, this new facility is attracting an international student base and much media attention.

 4,750 m² of Green Roof and 1,300 m² of vertical living walls – the United World College (UWC) in Dillijan (Copyright Tim Flynn).


There will be two multi-session workshops held:

Workshop 1 “Planning, Installation and Maintenance of Green Roofs” will cover the physical and technical aspects of planning, installing and maintaining Green Roofs.

Topics Include:

- Roofing and Vegetation Technology – The Basics

- Installation of Green Roofs and Green Walls in Dry and Mediterranean Climates

- Green Roof Design at the Architecture and Landscape Intersect

- Plant Selection for Extensive and Intensive Green Roofs.

 The pruning of trees far above the Italian soil at Bosco Verticale; not the typical Green Roof maintenance regime! (Copyright Laura Gatti).

Workshop 2 “Green Roof Policies and Research” will demonstrate the possibilities of Green Roofs as an urban planning tool based on national and international case studies.  In addition, new scientific findings will be presented.

Topics include:

- The Green Roof strategy of Hamburg/Germany

- Adaptation to Climate Change in Urban Areas

- The International Green Roof City Network – Case Studies from All Around the World

- Energy and Stormwater Management

 The city of Hamburg has started a multimillion Euro plan for Green Roofing infrastructure in 2015 (Copyright Soenksen).

This Congress is for everyone whose profession brings them into contact with Green Roofs and those who wish to learn about the latest technology in this field.  This includes architects, installers, landscape architects, planners, representatives of local authorities and environmental agencies, investors and manufacturers.

Istanbul – Where East Meets West

The 4th International Green Roof Congress is a great opportunity to make contacts and to develop new markets - where East meets West.  Guests to the Congress may also explore the diverse and active city of Istanbul, which includes many grand architectural works and lively events.  There is even a building exhibition occurring simultaneous to the Congress, information is included below.

 The city has a unique geographic location straddling Europe and Asia (Copyright IGRA).

The Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque, Dolmabahçe Palace, Grand Bazaar, Basilica Cistern and the Galata Tower – the list of famous landmarks is almost endless.

 Istanbul has it all: over 2500 years of history, amazing landmarks and breathtaking views
(Copyright IGRA).

Mosques, art galleries, and museums as well as the bars, restaurants, and shopping make this ancient city one of the vibrant places on the planet.

 Night market at Istanbul's Grand Bazaar (Copyright IGRA).

One of the must do's in Istanbul - a boat trip on the Bosphorus (Copyright IGRA).

Yapi Fair Istanbul: International Building Fair

The TurkeyBuild in Istanbul is one of Turkey's largest exhibitions in the construction sector.  International exhibitors showcase the latest products, technologies and innovations in the industry.  Various information sessions around the themes - building, renovation and redevelopment - accompany this exhibition.  The TurkeyBuild takes place for five days, from Tuesday April 21 to Saturday, April 25, 2015 in Istanbul.

If participants register by the 20th of February they will receive an early bird discount of 20%.

The International Green Roof Association and I invite you to attend the 4th International Green Roof Congress this April in Istanbul, and hope to see you there!


Wolfgang Ansel, the International Green Roof Association (IGRA)

Editor's Note:  See the just published IGRA Guidelines for Green Roofs "Bridging Trades – Safe Section Changeover: Roofing Technology – Vegetation Technology," a free downloadable 36-page PDF.

Wolfgang Ansel is a biologist and the Director of the International Green Roof Association (IGRA).  One of his main areas of work is implementing Green Roof policies and guidelines on an international level.  Wolfgang Ansel is co-author of different Green Roof books.  During the last years, he was an invited speaker at congresses in Europe, North America and Asia.  IGRA's targets include the worldwide promotion of the ecological Green Roof idea, an international knowledge transfer in the field of Green Roofs and the stimulation of international standards for good practices and reliable Green Roof technology.

Contact Wolfgang Ansel:
International Green Roof Congress
PO Box 2025
72610 Nuertingen / Germany
Tel.: +49 7022 / 7191980

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